Monday, July 28, 2008

Welcome to this space for expressing love and support

The Unitarian Universalist Association has opened this space for those who wish to express love and support for members and friends of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church and the Westside Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. We grieve with the greater Knoxville community over the tragic loss of two individuals and the injuries suffered by six others. We know that, for those who survive, healing will take time, and will be nourished by love. In that spirit, with respect for one another, and kindness, we invite your contributions.

-- Deborah Weiner
UUA Director of Electronic Communication


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Melissa Cole said...

The Fourth Unitarian Society of Westchester County, Inc. sends its message of condolence and support.

Amie P said...

It saddened and hurt my heart to read the story about what happened in Knoxville yesterday. Why someone would choose to do something like this to a UU congregation (or any faith's congregation) is so beyond any reasonable or rational behavior I could possibly understand. It makes me pause to wonder how someone could harbor so much hate inside them to carry out an act so horrible to completely innocent people. My thoughts are with all of the congregation members and the community.

Amie P a fellow UU

Jenny said...

My old church, All Souls, in New York, was a refuge for me after September 11th. How awful that your refuge is also your scene of tragedy. How cruel that the safe space was ruptured. My prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

Words cannot express the sorrow we feel for the trauma you experienced and the grief you face. We are thinking of you during this difficult time. Please let us know if there is anything you need--you have our thoughts and prayers.
Jenny and Jamey Findling
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Wichita, Kansas

Jeff said...

To our Unitarian-Universalist brothers and sisters in Knoxville: I am sure I join with all UUs in expressing shock and sorrow over this horrible tragedy. Our prayers are with the friends and families of those injured and lost. Your fellow UUs stand with you and for you during this difficult time, and we will do anything we can to support you.

Jeff Lopez-Stuit
Saltwater Unitarian-Universalist Church
Des Moines, WA

hila said...

I just heard this horrific news...
I am not a member of UU but have gone to their churches in several cities and states and would just like to say what wonderful people flock to this faith. I continue to be inspired in how they see the world and how they respond to living in it. My heart goes out to the victims familes and the entire congregation. What courageous people! My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time. And I know in my heart that you will all find the strength to move forward and create a garden out of this mess. Sending out love and support!! Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.....

Hilary Granger
920 S. Juanita Ave
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Jan Stephens, Glens Falls,NY UU said...

I would like to send my deepest concern and condolences to the members of the Knoxville UU congregation. I am thankful that you provide a safe haven for those who are unjustly discriminated against and I applaud the work you have done to help make our world a more loving and humane place. My heart goes out to you at this tragic time.

lalitha said...

It was with a heavy heart that we read the news. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time. -The Hansch Family UUCSH, NJ

John said...

My most profound condolences go out to the friends and family of the people who were injured and killed.

Anonymous said...

I'm so very shocked and saddened to hear what happened. You're all in my thoughts.

Pauline Farmer
UU Church Palo Alto

Rev. Dr. Maureen Killoran said...

I send deep caring to our fellow UUs in Knoxville, and to all who are angry, hurting and fearful in the wake of this terrible violation. I pray that, for those most closely affected, there may be moments of healing in this time of grief.

May those of us who touch this pain from more distant place hold fast to the web of community, that the strength of our living tradition may sustain us all, with courage, with gentleness, and with love.

Rev. Dr. Maureen Killoran
Interim Minister
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach

Anonymous said...

All your UU brothers and sisters across the country, including here in the midwest, reach out to you with love and healing. Given what little is known about the motives for this tragic and senseless shooting, we are all keenly aware that it could have happened in any of our congregations, and we are feeling a special sorrow for you and will be thinking of you during your time of grief.

--from Ames, IA

Albatross said...

As horrified and saddened as I am to learn of this tragedy in Knoxville, I am even more proud call myself a member of the same faith as Greg McKendry.

I hope that all those who love and miss him will take some comfort that he demonstrated with his last act a most rare and precious courage. He is truly a man to be celebrated.

RevWik said...

In my sermon yesterday I said that life is wonderful, a miracle, AND it is as difficult as your own lived experience tells you it is. Unbeknownst to us, as we were celebrating this tragedy was occuring in your sanctuary. The hearts of the members and friends of First Parish in Brewster (MA) are with you, as are our prayers for the healing power of love.

Erik Walker Wikstrom, senior minister

Kurt said...

The reaction of Greg McKendry is the strongest testament that anyone could make to living the faith -- attempting to intervene on behalf of others (the pepetrator and the audience). My tears flow trying to imagine Greg and that tragic moment.

Paul said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Paul Stetler
Dorothea Dix UU Community
Crosswicks, Burlington County, NJ

CMwD Staff said...

The Staff and Board of Central Midwest District send our wishes of support and hope for healing to TVUUC. Our prayers and thoughts are with you all during this time.

Stephanie Matz said...

We are all part of the interconnected web, and so we enter into your pain with hope of providing consolation and share your sorrow with hope of bringing you some peace. Please remember how many of us are standing with you in your grief, and allow us to be for you "a rose in the wintertime."
Bill and Stephanie Matz
Countryside Church Unitarian Universalist

Mark Kregel said...

The Kregel family of San Ramon, CA sends our message of condolence and support. Tragedies like this shouldn't happen. Why would someone have this much hate?
If there is any kind of support fund for the families - let me know.
Mark Kregel
San Ramon

Lynn Sornson said...

We will keep your congregation in our thoughts and prayers and wish for you comfort and strength during this time. Please feel the love and peace that UUs across this nation and globe are sending your way. The Sornson's, San Diego, CA

kate the geek said...

As a member of the SUUSI community, I send my love and prayers to you all; SUUSI family, UU family, human family, in hopes that it helps lift you up when you feel you cannot go on. My heart aches with you but remember we will stand fast in the face of this tragedy.

Rev. T. Monkey said...

On behalf of myself and of the Channing Murray Foundation in Urbana, IL, I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the children and adults of the Tennessee Valley UU Church. I received the news by way of a good friend in Iceland who was also suitably horrified. May you find the strength to survive and grow stronger in your community and faith. You are in our prayers.

Jason Mierek
President, Channing Murray Foundation UU Campus Center, Urbana IL

Anonymous said...

Please know that the love in the world and the support for you during this time of sorrow will far outweigh the hate in this man's soul. I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
-Lisa O of the Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Appleton WI

Cynthia Landrum said...

Our UU church members send our love, support and condolences. We will join with you in spirit in a candlelight vigil tonight at 7:30.

Rev. Cynthia Landrum
Universalist Unitarian Church of East Liberty
Clarklake, MI

Laura said...

This is a very sad day today. What a hero Greg McKendry is to have sacrificed himself to protect his fellow congregants. I hope all UU churches will honor his memory this Sunday.

What is the world coming to I wonder when we are not safe in our churches on Sunday when we worship? We take pride in being open and hospitable, but clearly we must be vigilant as well.

What can churches do to better protect their members on Sunday? This is the fourth church this year that has been attached by a sniper.

RKooyer said...

I hope and pray for the health, safety and recovery of the entire community.

Rich Kooyer, Unity Church in Saint Paul, MN.

Anonymous said...

To our U-U brothers and sisters in Knoxville, BE NOT AFRAID! We stand with you in this awful time, and send our condolences and our wishes for healing and forgiveness. May your children and your congregation find peace after this outrage.
Out of this tragedy, we all have another true hero in Mr. McKendry. What an inspiration to everyone, what a shining example of "deeds, not creeds"!
In peace,
Keith and Cindy Johnson
All Souls Community Church
Grand Rapids, Michigan

UU Mom from Columbus OH said...

The gunman came to the right church, but with the wrong request. Had he asked for help and strength he would have found it. Instead he asked for martyrdom and didn't get it. It is the constant challenge of the UU churches everywhere to bridge the gap between values and actions. The church will go on building these bridges and be stronger in the memory of those attacked in Knoxville this week. They will be remembered as heroes, not just in the mediation of an invasion of their sanctuary, but in the ongoing struggle to preserve the dignity of all humans.

Anonymous said...

We in New Orleans are so sorry to hear about the tradegy in your place of worship, and we send thoughts of love and compassion and healing to you and your congregation, and to your wider community.

with love,
Leslie Runnels

Kate said...

As a fellow Unitarian Universalist and a fellow human being, I feel immense sadness and distress in response to this tragedy. Though I can't begin to imagine what you're going through, please know that I (and countless others) cry with you. And that UU's around the world were with you that day and are with you now. May healing and hope and peace surround your church in the days to come and always.

Lynne said...

I send my most hearfelt, inner Love and Light to assist in the healing of your congregation brought on by this tragic event.

Lynne Marchetti
First Universalist Unitarian Church of Essex, MA

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and deepest being rests with all those so touched by this terrible sorrow. I am a member of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield, MA. Tonight we will hold a candle light vigil and together we will pour our support and caring out to this amazing family that we are part of.

In trying to come to an understanding of this kind of loss.. A sermon given by our minister came to mind.. a sermon on sorrow.. and I believe others might gain support through having the opportunity to listen to this as well.. so I have attached the link to the podcast below.

In faith and love,
Mike J. Covault

Anonymous said...

I mourn deeply the sorrow of those hurt by the senseless extension of pain -- in confusion -- to the innocently caring and deeply comitted people of TVUUC.

I write at 3:30 pm monday understanding that this individual acted out of pain that we as UUs are sympathetic to. And has hurt us. -- Our church in Knoxville has been hurt and our hope that people can come together in difficulty, see eachother as hope has been hurt.... but not done in.

I breathe deeply to remember that one injury -- even two deaths -- has hurt but not killed our hope.

I am deeply with your congregation in its time of pain. And with all of us in our hope that we will find a way to solve problems and move into celebration of joyful living.

Carolyn P. Steinhaus

Mars Girl said...

My deepest sympathies to those at the Tennessee Valley UU who suffered such a shocking assault at their time of peaceful worship. My heart goes out to everyone in the congregation as they try to recover from this tragedy and the loss of their own.

--a just member of the UU Church of Kent, Ohio

Sami said...

My heart goes out to you all in Knoxville.

Hermione said...

When I first heard the news, I was at the YMCA and watching MSNBC. It was only reported as a church shooting and I thought there's no way in the world it's a UU church. How wrong I was when they cut in again and said it was TVUUC.

All I could imagine was what if that happened in MY UU church?

My thoughts and prayers are with TVUUC.

Anonymous said...

My deepest sympathy to you. May you take comfort in the courageous response of your UU members, and may you continue to be a beacon of love and hope as a welcoming congregation. My prayers are with you.
Lindsay Stroh
Channing Memorial Church
Ellicott City, Maryland

Christina Lee said...

The UU faith has done nothing but try to bring tolerance, diversity, and civil rights to the community. It hurts to see such a faith so attacked. Keep following that good path and know that our prayers and hopes are with you all.

Sharon Allworth said...

We received this horrifying news in our UU congregation as we were lighting candles during our time for "Joys and Sorrows" on Sunday morning. Our congregation sat stunned, with no sound, the silence of tears, and an outpouring of love for our fellow UUs in Tennessee. We grieve with you.

UUCCWC - Washington County, Oregon

Luanne Gearhart said...

"Love is the Spirit of this church and service its cause. This is our covenant: to dwell together in peace, to seek truth, and to help others". As a denomination, may we continue to work toward peace, acceptance, and reconciliation. May we hold our dear ones close now that his truth has been revealed and that this desperate and pained person has to live with the ghosts of his actions. And, may we walk our walk of love, forgiveness, and transcendence. Be not afraid as "we, the members of this faith" stand with one another speaking those powerful words shared above. "Love is the spirit......"

Luanne Gearhart, Member
Unitarian Universalist Church of Cheyenne

Jo Paoletti said...

My deepest sympathy for the Knoxville UU community. UU's all over the world will be with you in spirit night as you begin the difficult task of healing. Jo P, from the UU Church of Silver Spring, MD.

Anonymous said...

At times like this the words of hymn #1 in our hymnal go through my mind: "and though these sheltering walls are thin, may they be strong to keep hate out and hold love in." The walls aren't always strong enough to keep hate out, but the love is very strong. My tears and love to my fellow UUs in Knoxville.

Karen from Colorado

Nicole Jurceka said...

In this time, my heart has been desperately searching for some form of comfort. Last night, alone and scared, I couldn't find much. Not from my mother or my father, two of the people I have almost always found comfort in. It just didn't exisit last night. Today, now that I am less frantic and hysterical, I've begun to find tidbits of it in various places. Most of all, I have found comfort in the realization of how strong our community is. We have gathered and stood together despite distances both of miles and closeness of hearts.

One of the things I would like to share with others is a bit from a sermon the minister of Media, PA did in 2006. The sermon is entitled Paper Beats Rock and it is written by Rev. Peter Friedrichs. You can find the full sermon here

"How do we react when we encounter such a blatant display of hatred from someone in our community? I am reminded here of the old children's game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Do you remember how that's played? Standing toe to toe with your opponent, on the count of three, you throw our your hand in one of three shapes. Scissors beats paper, rock beats scissors and paper beats rock. It's this last combination that intrigues me. Paper beats rock. In this game, the rock is symbolized by a fist. The fist is a sign of power. You raise your fist in anger or in hatred. The fist is violent; it is an instrument of pain and suffering. A fist, like a rock, can inflict serious wounds. When rock meets rock, you have nothing but a stalemate and a repeat of the contest. But if rock meets any other opponent, you'd think that rock wins out every time. But paper beats rock. And how does it do that? It does it by wrapping rock. Paper beats rock because it is soft, because it is flexible. Look at what paper does. It envelops and overwhelms rock.

Love, that soft force, the force that is supple and flexible, the force that holds and caresses and envelops, beats hate. Like water, it wears down the rock of hate, bit by bit. It shapes and changes the rock, conforming the rock to its own contours. It's a slow process, for sure. It doesn't overpower, but eventually it overwhelms. Love overcomes hatred and power and violence. It does this through its persistence and its persuasion. The writer Anne Lamott says it best when she says, "This is the most profound spiritual truth I know: that even when we're most sure that love can't conquer all, it seems to anyway." "

Martin Voelker said...

Saturday evening I chatted with the woman who had designed the costumes for our childrens’ musical at JUC. Sunday I saw her crying in the pews after her husband, also fighting back tears, announced the terrible news from Knoxville from the pulpit. The woman who had had the exact same role for the musical Annie's at Tennessee Valley UU Church is now a widow, Greg McKendry was her husband.

Our thoughts are with the victims, and we keep you in our hearts.

At the same time, something not unlike survivor’s guilt is creeping up. It could have been us. They were us. We are them. Here in the Denver area, we still sometimes see sun bleached stickers: Columbine is everywhere.
Knoxville is everywhere.

Healing will take a long time but it is possible, especially in a loving community such as ours.

We are thinking of you.

In deep sorrow,
Martin in Colorado

Karen said...

You are on our minds and in our hearts. Many of us in our congregation are talking and emailing back and forth today, and someone said, "I saw it on the news this morning and the words Unitarian Universalist jumped out at me like it was my own name." I could sooo relate.
Karen Chamberlain
4th Universalist Society
New York City

Meredyth Waterman said...

My thoughts are with you at Tennessee Valley. I hope that you will find solace and healing with the support of each other and the entire UU faith. If only the man being held for this terrible act truly understood what our liberal spiritual traditions are about! More than ever, we need to reaffirm our commitment to liberal values not only because the world needs them, but for the sake of the people who suffered through this awful event.

Pauline Park said...

I would like to extend my sincerest condolences to members of TVUUC and Westside UU in Knoxville. I was profoundly shocked and saddened by this horrific act of violence and hate, but at the same time inspired by Greg McKendry's selfless act of courage in protecting fellow congregants even at the cost of his own life. His death leaves a transgendered teenager fatherless and an entire community in mourning. I am an openly transgendered woman of color and a member of All Souls New York and Interweave and never have I felt greater pride in being a Unitarian Universalist than in seeing the inclusive and loving community of UUs come together in this moment of tragedy.

Anny said...

My thoughts and prayers are with
you all.
Anny Gateley
University Unitarian
Seattle, WA

Anonymous said...

Our support and loving thoughts are with your congregation and all those touched by the tragic events of Sunday. We are fellow UUs, but surely people of good will everywhere join with us in the sadness and shock we feel, and the warm regard we send as you begin to deal with the grief and trauma you did not deserve to experience.

Pamela and Paul Van Wyk
Champaign, IL UUs

lexi said...

Peace, love, and gentle deep breaths from UU's in Pennsylvania. Imagine our arms around you as you take the time to mourn and grieve. We will hold you warmly and gently in our prayers. We are with you.

Melissa Sandoe said...

On the side of love, there is peace in this storm. Please help all find forgiveness for the soul who came into TVUUC with a closed mind and heart. Death separates us but Loved ones are beside us always. May we find comfort as we continue to stand on the side of love.

Melissa Sandoe
member Unitarian Universalist o Gettysburg

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and heart go out to those who are suffering from this terrible crime. It saddens me greatly that warmth and acceptance could ever be met with violence.

Tyler said...

I understand that there is a vigil tonight (Monday, July 28) at 7:30 at Copley Square in Boston. I understand it is being organized by Community Church in Boston, but I'm not 100% certain of this. I hope to find out more about this in the next couple of hours.

Anonymous said...

We share in your grief and offer our arms in support and compassion during this difficult time.

Li said...

I hope that the rest of your lives are as peaceful as that horrible act was violent. God be with you.

Anonymous said...

As a lifelong UU nd the parent of two small children, I can only imagine what you must be feeling at having your church violated in such a way. I only hope it is some comfort to know that your congregation and its individual members have made UUs proud with your dignity, your courage, and your commitment to your church and its children. Our prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

From Houston, Texas, I send all the love and sorrow in my heart to you. I sit at my work desk in tears. This man did this to you, and in a sense to all of us, because of the very thing we are so proud of: your openness, the liberality of your faith, your welcoming of those whom others turn away. It is hard to fathom. Keep up your good work, forgive if you are able, and know that we all are thinking of you and crying with you.

Anonymous said...

What a terrible invasion of a sacred space. How does anyone return to that place and not be full of fear? With love, with time, with the courage to know that the Light is where we are and nothing can be taken from us that we can't get back.

I know I will feel even more connected to you all when I am at my UU church this evening. Like others have suggested I will wear my UU t-shirts and my chalice pendants this week. This is a time for all of us to stand proud, be visable and know that our liberal religion is a Light. It is ours and no one gets to take that away from us.

Wendy Arend
UUC Charlotte, NC

Anonymous said...

From all the members and friends of Umpqua UU Church in Roseburg, Oregon we send our love and support to the members of the Knoxville church. We are in the process of putting together a Vigil this week to stand in solidarity with UUs around the world in this time of tragedy. We hope all people can meet this time of sorrow in peace. Rev. Annie Holmes

Brianna Claire said...

I am saddened and outraged over what happened yesterday at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. My thoughts and prayers are with the TVUU congregation. I am also extending my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the victims as well as the survivors!

Yours in Sympathy,
Brianna Claire Olson

Kevin Carson said...

I live in Rhode Island now, but I was born in Chattanooga and became a UU in college in Nashville. My Tennessee roots are still strong, and I am deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Kevin Carson
First Unitarian Church of Providence, RI

Hope and Courage said...

My heart is sad and heavy about the tragedy in Knoxville. My prayers and love are with the TVUUC and the Westside congregation. We will be holding a candlight service at Peoples Church in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday evening.
Rev. Marlene Walker
Interim Minister
Peoples Church
Cedar Rapids, IA

Dave said...

I have spent the last couple hours weeping on and off over the news of yesterday’s lethal attack at the Sunday services of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville TN by a vengeful conservative. The shooting erupted as a children’s play was in progress during the service. Two died, 7 were wounded.

As Unitarian Universalist parish minister for over twenty years, I must have introduced from the pulpit dozens of such children’s plays and pageants during that time. And as often helped organize the social justice activism that was the target of yesterdays shootings.

Having counseled families who have lost members to such violent death, I know that the psychic scarring from yesterdays violence will be passed down for generations to come; that none of the children present will ever be the same; that decades of therapy and nightmares lie ahead for most probably all of them; that the same will be true for the adults present.

In the last couple hours I have been led in several directions in response to this.

The most compelling is to urge you to let into your souls the full implications of this event. To receive it as a wake up call to the reality that the majority of us have been lulled into a state of political denial about the deadly danger we are in as a nation

Like abusive families everywhere we have retreated into denial about what is transpiring in our midst. We are standing by as it continues. We want to just continue our lives as usual in the faint hope that the next election cycle will cure this situation. The cancer in our body politic is much more advanced than that.

One response to these shootings would be to observe how the corporate media are instinctively trying to spin this as an economic frustration crime, not as the conservative political hate crime that it unquestionably is. You can count on this story being quickly swept off our nightly “news”.

Another direction would be to realize the comparable impact on the families of those innocents who have died much more violent deaths in Iraq, again at the instigation of the same hateful conservative movement here in the U.S.. Most reliable sources suggest these violent deaths in Iraq are approaching one million. Not combatants, but civilians like those that died yesterday in Tennessee.

But the direction that has emerged as central for me is the realization is that this guy yesterday merely “jumped the gun”. That this kind of lethal hatred is being deliberately & diligently cultivated, principly through the medium of rightwing talk radio. Right wing radio has become the collective premeditation of such murders.

In a larger sense it is Rush Limbaugh and his radio thug colleagues who should be charged with this crime. Such right wing radio served the same purposes in Kosovo, Rwanda, El Salvador and anywhere that a right wing totalitarian movement is seeking to consolidate power.

Some of you may be thinking I am having an emotional overreaction. Emotional, yes. But informed by a sustained examination of right wing radio.

Three or four years ago I begin resisting a persistent call to begin working on some kind of progressive religious talk radio to counter that of the religious right. Jesus tells us to love our enemies, not to pretend they are not our enemies. To love is to know. So I began for the first time listening to right wing talk radio. It is much MUCH worse than you think. Please tune in locally in the DC to AM 630 WMAL anytime, but especially 9a to 9p. Listen to an hour of say, Mark Levin, 6-9p weekdays and then with that context read the articles about the Knoxville shootings.

To be continued when I return…. Dave MacMillan, Mount Rainier MD 20712

Anonymous said...

i was so incredibly saddened to hear the news of this tragedy this morning. please know thoughts, positive energy, and hopes for healing and peace are with you.

~julie g.
uu church of the south hills (sunnyhill)
pittsburgh, pa

Anonymous said...

Offering support in this terrible time of loss and suffering for your congregation. I have seen and experienced the love of my own UU congregation in Brooklyn, NY and want those in Tennessee to know that the larger UU community is here for you.

puggerhugger said...

I don't have any answers, but adding my love and support and that of our family for the UU's, especially the children there. - UU from Asheville congregation Jana Bowman

Jacques G. Jacksonville, FL said...

I am deeply saddened that you were victims of this senseless tragedy. May you find some consolation in all these messages of condolence and continue the good work of your church. Go in peace.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to all those who have been affected by this awful tragedy. I am keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers. My church is having a vigil on Tuesday evening in light of this horrible event.


A Fellow UU

Vid Axel said...

I'm guessing that in relation to this tragedy, those in your church and community are experiencing shock, overwhelm, deep pain and far more than mere words could ever fully articulate. I'm sure I speak for many at Countryside Church Unitarian Universalist in Palatine, Illinois when I say our hearts, well-wishes and support reach out to you.

Vid Axel
member, Countryside Church Unitarian Universalist, Palatine, Illinois

Vid Axel

Andrew Michel said...

I was appalled to hear of this tragic event. It is upsetting to me that violence has become so ingrained and accepted it has become our first resort, instead of our last. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this terrible tragedy.


Andrew Michel

Tiggerdaddy said...

As a UCC brother with you, my prayers, hopes, and thoughts go out to my brethren in the UUA. My heart is breaking...

Laura Neff said...

Know that love and healing energy is pouring out to you from so many corners in this time of sadness, grief and confusion. We at the UU Church of Charlotte, NC will be holding a vigil for you this evening. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers are with the two affected Tenneessee UU congregations and the community. May you find strength and courage to help you through these days. We are with you in spirit.

Laura Ellis
UU Church of Silver Spring

Anonymous said...

Of course we in San Antonio at the Community Unitarian Universalist Church can only echo the sentiments of all our fellow UUers and 1st Unitarian here in San Antonio at what we have heard - stop and feel the positive energy that is being sent to you - the positive thoughts in the face of this incident. Of course, as with all UU's we care for you deeply as we do all our fellow humankind. We are here - you are there - we are together.

Ron Clarke
Community Unitarian Universalist Church
San Antonio, Texas.

tamiab said...

My heartfelt condolences to the friends and members of TVUUC. Your congregation made a large impact on me during a visit several years ago for a TJD board meeting. I was shocked and saddened to hear that your sanctuary and community had been violated this way.

With love and support, I'll be thinking of TVUUC.

writermeeg said...

I've been weeping all day over this tragedy. It hits so close to home. I can't stop thinking of the scene, what it must have been like, and what effects are sure to follow.

It could have been our UU congregation, our children -- it was. We're in this with you.

Hate crimes are not something of history; we are all too used to them in this culture. This is why we as UUs must keep doing our work. We must make change for peace and diversity.

It sounds as if you have much to be proud of in the courage and love of those present. Despite a terrible tragedy, I hope you can lean on one another.

My heart and prayers are with you, as are those of my congregation.

Palomar UU Fellowship
Vista, CA

Andrew Livingstone said...

I wish to send all of my love to all of my fellow UU's in this time of sadness and challenge, but feel sure that our strengths will help us through to a brighter tomorrow,
Andrew Livingstone UU Church of Fresno member.

Faye Sheppard said...

My heart is deeply saddened by this tragedy. As a member of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach, Florida, I send my prayer of solace and comfort, of love and compassion, of healing and strength to all who have been affected.

Edith and Ed Savage said...

Dear UUs of Tennessee,
It is with a sense of deep loss but connectedness that we send you our sincere sympathy as you begin the grieving process of the gerat losses you have suffered and the tremendous hurt you are enduring. All we can do from this distance is let you know that we stand with you and pray with you, and that we are more motivated than ever to spread love and understanding in order to conquer hate.
We know that we must care for our brothers and sisters so that they are less liable to be overcome by feelings of violence -- and act out on innocents. We praise you for your work in social justice and urge you to continue to be brave, and speak the truth, and support the rights of individuals and minorities who need assistance in their struggles.
We are with you in heart and soul. Bless you and keep you all.

Edith and Ed Savage
Unitarian Society of Hartford, CT

J said...

This saddens me not only as a UU, but as human. I am proud to be a part of a faith tradition that preaches love and against the hate that leads to ignorant acts such as this one. I hope that the person who committed this crime can still be healed. I'll keep the victims family and fellow congregants in my thoughts and prayers.

Jairy Grisaffe
First Unitarian Church of Dallas

artichoke said...

My deepest sympathies to the families and friends of Greg McKendry and Linda Kraeger, and to the entire Knoxville congregation, as well as healing thoughts to those who are still in critical condition. It will take a long time for the physical and emotional wound to heal, and I know that the entire Unitarian Universalist community will be there for you.

Tho I have not been active in a UU congregation for several years (too far from the nearest fellowship centre, too busy with other things), I will always remember the warm welcome and friendship I have always found in UU congregations, and the wonderful support given to me by the Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada group when my partner passed away. UUs are truly good people and it is terrible for them to be targeted this way.

Greg and Linda will be honored forever as martyrs to the cause of religious freedom and freedom of thought and speech, and Greg especially for his heroism in offering his life to save others.

It is a terrible crime that has been committed, and I grieve as well for the man whose hurt and anger drove him to such a horrible and desperate act. It is tragic that he should have been brainwashed and manipulated to turn against those most likely to help and support him.

Donna Halliday said...

I am writing on behalf of the Huronia Unitarian Fellowship,ON,Canada. We want you to know that our hearts are with you at this time of loss and shock.I know you will be searching your souls to understand and find a way to respond that honours our principles as all of us are doing now. There is no sanity in the hate of the destruction you have endured.There is integrity and love in the causes we stand for and perhaps there is some comfort in this.
in peace,Donna Halliday

Grace Starcke said...

I extend and deepest sympathy to the families of the victims and all the members of the Knoxville congregation. I pray that you will find comfort and healing. My thought are with you at this difficult time.
Grace Starcke
Handi Skorich
Circle UU Fellowship
Indianpolis, IN

Lisa Harris said...

My heart hurts for all of our sisters and brothers at the Tennessee Valley and Westside UU churches. I am praying for you incessantly.

God bless Greg McKendry's self-sacrificing love. I have faith that he and Linda are with God now as we all one day will be.

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. - John 15:13

Lisa Harris
Member of
Universalist National Memorial Church
Washington, D.C.

Nancy Cronk said...

Dear Friends,

As a Unitarian Universalist in Colorado, I am saddened and distraught about the horrific tragedy your community has experienced. Around the world, people stop in horror as this story is relayed, and our thoughts, prayers, and genuine love go out to all of you.

As a Jewish UU, I am moved to share with you a song written by Debbie Friedman, which includes the Jewish prayer for the living called the Mishebeierach.

"Mi shebeirach avoteinu
M'kor hab'racha l'imoteinu
May the source of strength,
Who blessed the ones before us,
Help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing,
and let us say, Amen.

Mi shebeirach imoteinu
M'kor habrachah l'avoteinu

Bless those in need of healing with r'fuah sh'leimah,
The renewal of body, the renewal of spirit,
And let us say, Amen"

Please know you are loved, and we stand with you as you heal from this senseless nightmare. Wishing you love, peace, security and strength,

Nancy Cronk, Aurora, CO

Anonymous said...

The lives that ended are irreplacable. Life is so precious. And even more so--these individuals whose lives were taken wanted to be home today with their families, share a meal, talk, love, listen. How can anyone take the phenomenon of life--this amazing spark and the years of bonds--and put it out? (We live in a culture that values nothing but money and power over other lives.)

Greg McKendry and Linda Kraeger, and your families, YOU ARE LOVED.

Anonymous said...

Jan said
I couldn't believe it when I heard a UU Church in Knoxville had had a shooting occur. What a horrible thing to happen. I am sending you positive energy and thoughts to help get you through the next few days and months. As so many others have said, we are a loving, caring faith and we will go on, while remembering those who died and were injured in Knoxville.

Jan Spangler
Chico CA UU Fellowship

Grace said...

We send my deepest sympathy to the families of the victims and the members of the Knoxville congregation. We pray for your comfort and healing. You are in our thoughts at this difficult time.
Grace Starcke
Circle UU Fellowship
Indianapolis, IN

Edith and Ed Savage said...

Sympathy to the Unitarian Universalists in Knoxville, Tennessee
Dear UUs of Tennessee,

It is with a sense of deep loss and connectedness that we send you our sincere sympathy as you begin the grieving process over the great losses you have suffered and the tremendous hurt you are enduring. All we can do is let you know that we stand with you and pray with you and that we are more motivated than ever to spread love and understanding in order to conquer hate. We know that we must care for our brothers and sisters so that they are less liable to be overcome by feelings of violence and act out on innocent people. We praise you for your work in social justice and urge you to continue to be brave and speak the truth and support the rights of individuals and minorities, who need assistance in their struggles. We are with you heart and soul. Bless you and keep you all.

Edith and Ed Savage
Unitarian Society of Hartford, Connecticut
Posted by Edith and Ed Savage

Anonymous said...

Deepest of sympathies to those Unitiarn Universalists in Knoxville. While I am not a member, I value your place of worship as a wonderful community of tolerance and inclusiveness. It saddens me greatly to see this tragedy take place. Be strong. Our thoughts are with you.

John C
Berkeley, CA

The Beakeeper said...

I cannot read the news updates about this without tears coming to my eyes. That a Sunday when the children were performing during the service makes it all the more evil. My little girl asks me why I am upset, but how do you explain such a tragedy to a 2 1/2 year old?

Donna Halliday said...

Warm Greetings to your congregation,
I am writing on behalf of the Huronia Unitarian Fellowship,ON,Canada.
Our hearts are with you as you struggle through this terrible experience.I expect you will be searching your souls,as we are with you, to understand and react to such a hateful and destructive act.There is no sanity to his thinking or behavior so none can be found there.On the other hand there is love and integrity to what we stand for,so perhaps there is some comfort here.
in peace,Donna Halliday

Ottoette said...

My heart and tears are with all 3 congregations following this senseless brutality.

Melanie Schikore Andina said...

I attend Countryside UU in Palatine, Illinois. With all my heart I am sorry for your pain and loss. Ironically it is precisely because of this type of hatred that the need for strength and growth of the UU movement is so necessary.

Please make any needs known to the larger community and know that we are here for you.

Anonymous said...

We are a denomination of incredible grace and vision. Let us grow in that confidence and know that so many others, wherever we go, share our strengths. You are not alone in the world community.

Elizabeth Bartmess-LeVasseur said...

TVUUC, Westside,

Your grown-up daughters and sons all over the world are thinking of you. I send my love and support and condolences and wish I were close enough to give them in person.

I am proud to have grown up in a congregation that has included members as brave and quick as Terry Uselton, John Bohstedt, Jamie Parkey, Greg McKendrey, and all the people who did not have their names in the news, like the people who got many children out and across to Second Presbyterian.

Thank you. Many more people could have been injured or killed, and they weren't, because of you.

Also thank you to everyone giving and sharing support, on behalf of my friends and family down there and elsewhere. It can take a while but is one of the best ways to help heal - and prevent - injuries that aren't physical.

Mechanicsburg, PA
TVUUC high school class '96

Carol McKenna said...

Sending healing energy to all involved in this sad situation ~ may peace and healing be found in the midst of the sadness ~

Hugs and Namaste,
Carol McKenna
UU of Essex MA

Annie Ba'Nani said...

I was a member at Westside UU in Knoxville during my high school years before I moved to Ohio and then Chicago. When news of this tragedy reached me I was shocked, saddened, and deeply concerned for both those in Knoxville I know and those I do not. We are all family in the UU circle. Please know, everyone, that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I have been in contact with people in Knoxville and hope to remain in contact to continue to express my love and support to you all. May the covenant of our organization help us to grieve and heal.
Annie Perry

Carol McKenna said...

Sending healing energy to all involved in this sad situation ~ may peace and healing be found in the midst of the sadness ~

Hugs and Namaste,
Carol McKenna
UU of Essex MA

Atena said...

I can't stop thinking about this today - I can only repeat this mantra of condolences. Peace and comfort to all of you touched by this in Knoxville. Peace and comfort to each of us who thought, "That could've been me, my family, my child, my friends..."

Please stay strong and support each other to be strong. The world is frightening, but we can still be courageous and live out our faith together.

Peace, blessings and love,

Second Unitarian Church
Chicago, IL

Judy Fjell said...

I am stunned by this tragedy, still hardly able to believe it has happened. My heart goes out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives or were injured, and to all those in the congregation who directly experienced the trauma of this violence. And, for those of us who feel even from afar the waves of fear and sadness, I send love and prayers - to all the members and friends of TVUUC, the surrounding community, to all people of faith, and to Unitarian-Universalists everywhere. I am comforted by knowing that we U-U's will mourn meaningfully. It is our tradition to go deep. We are strong and our history is filled with stories of courage, and, yes, even martyrdom. I also call on every religious, governmental, and public institution in the world to denounce this attack. For it touches not only our religious community, but it has the potential to strike fear in the hearts of people who voice support for liberal and humanitarian causes. If we allow it to discourage us in any way, we are succumbing to violence. I pray that this does not make people fearful to seek spiritual community and comfort in religious sanctuaries. And, I pray that all of us U-U's continue to believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We are called to do no less. In our darkest moments, we will now summon the courage and faith and memory of Greg McKendry. His response shows the depth of his Unitarian-Universalism and I am comforted by knowing that many of us walk this life-affirming faith deeply every day.

Anonymous said...

Words cannot express the feelings I and I know so many others have regarding this tragedy. We are truly blessed to have the gift of our rich faith which I have seen witnessed in so many ways throughout the country. Here was another congregation giving witness and expressing their joy only to have it shattered. I hope we all can find strength and something positive from this event. My "love" goes out to all those dealing with the pain that has been brought to us.

Jim G.
Unitarian Church North - Mequon,WI

Nance said...

My thoughts are with you. Mom from Ohio had it just right. This sad man came to the right church but with the wrong goal.

Drew E. Maris, MD said...

My heart is with the congregation, the families and especially the children who witnessed this tragedy in the midst of their creative joy. Peace to all.

Barry said...

As a UU in Columbia, South Carolina, I was heartsick when I heard the news yesterday, and these latest reports of the shooter's apparent motives are even more disturbing. You all are in my thoughts, and I only hope the nation can learn something positive about Unitarian Universalism as a result of this terrible tragedy. We support progressive causes for the good of all mankind, and it's sad that there may be individuals who misunderstand our principles. May our friends in Knoxville get the comfort and support they need in the days and months ahead.

Anonymous said...

I am a member of the Church of the Larger Fellowship and from Monroe, Louisiana. I am saddened by what happened on Sunday. We as UU will overcome. UU is much needed in our heartless society. It is soothing to the heart and soul. We have to continue doing what the GA song said about doing what the spirit says do. I hope that all religions will unite despite differences. We have to live as one.
We shall overcome.

Peace and blessings
Ronald Hunt,Jr.

Gregory said...

First and foremost, I wish to send my love and support to the immediate family and friends of those who have been lost in this horrible tragedy. To the local UU congregations in Knoxville and the wider Knoxville community I send my hope for your healing and recovery. To the clergy and laypeople providing direct support to those recovering from the trauma I send courage and strength. To the wider UU community I send encouragement to grieve and to transform any fear into a continuing affirmation of the inherent worth and dignity of every person -- including the person who committed the violence.

Gregory Severance
Member of the 4th Universalist Society in New York City

SC Universalist said...

Our thought and prayers are with you all.

steven rowe
for UU Congregation of Florence, SC

Kate said...

I heard word of this right after it happened, and am still shocked... I drive by that church all the time going to and from downtown, and am so sorry for what has happened. These people are the most laid back and friendly people one can find and practice the trueest form of loving your neighbor as yourself and not shunning them for what they are.

Knoxville, TN

First Unitarian Church of Dallas said...

We will gather this evening to light candles of sorrow and to pray that you will be held by love in the days to come.
Rev. Laurel Hallman,
First Unitarian Church of Dallas.

Anonymous said...

Dear friends

I am deeply saddened for your pain.
I write to send you all loving thoughts as you move through shock and recovery. I will be attending a candlelight vigil in Boston tonight praying for your healing.

Melrose Unitarian Universalist Church (Massachusetts)

Jenn said...

Our congregation recieved this news at the end of our service. We held the news in silence. This is something that touches us all as Unitarian Universalists. It is unspeakable and terrible that this would happen in any church. My heart goes out to all of you. Nothing we can say can make the pain go away. Just know that we are with you. I admire and respect the courage of the people in the church who are were able to stop this person before he inflicted more damage.

Jenn Gray
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka

Sean said...

My prayers go out to the congregation during this tragic event.

Anonymous said...

I am sending prayers of light and love.

Ingrid Flom
Mountain Light Unitarian Universalist Church
Ellijay, Georgia

raywaters said...

We were shocked to learn of the attack yesterdy during our service at Pacific Unitarian Church. As I have a son living in Knoxville and have visited your church I had a special concern for your safety and do want to offer my condolence. We grieve with you at the loss of two of our members.

RAy Waters

Suzanne said...

I mourn with those of you who are in these congregations, I cry with the families of the two who have died and the families whose loved ones lie gravely ill in the hospital. I send hope and courage to Chris Buice, who has lost a congregant and probably a friend and who now must care for all those in his community who hurt, even with his wounds so open and tender.

To the two congregations directly affected - I mourn your lost innocence and sense of safety and the violation of the sanctity of your church, your beloved community.

I send to you my love and care. Take care my friends and know that you are tenderly held in the hands and hearts of many of us that you will never know. Rest assured that today we are reminded of our shared humanity and have felt the rip in our interdependent web of existence. On this day we are all members of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. We are all your people.

Praying for Strength, Courage and Wisdom, Suzanne

barbara said...

As a Unitarian Universalist in GA I am wishing, praying, and hoping all the best for the UU Congregation in Knoxville. My thoughts have been with them all day as I have worked. I work with children and when I see their faces, I pray they never have to experience what the children of this congregation experienced. America is experiencing so much fear that some people are now misdirecting that fear to the wrong source. Pray that all of America can also see that fear leads us in the wrong direction. I send thoughts of love to the Tennesse Congregation and Children all around the world.

Barbara Stahnke
Soon to be member of the Gwinnett Congregation; Currently member in Clemson SC.

Laura McNaughton said...

The congregation of Tennessee Valley Untiarian Universalist Church is in my thoughts and prayers.

Laura McNaughton
Director of Regional Services, West
Canadian Unitarian Council

Eric Allen said...

We extend light and love to the victims, families, friends and members of TVUUC.
Our white candle is burning bright for you!

Anonymous said...

As long-time Unitarian Universalists, and fellow human beings, our thoughts and prayers are with your congregation and those who have been so deeply traumatized, physically, emotionally and spiritually. May we all work for a time when hate and greed are diminished so we may see an end to suffering.
Lois Pereira- San Pedro, California

Anonymous said...

Love is the spirit of this church...we stand with you now and always. A member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Shenandoah Valley.

Riley said...

To Chris Buice & all members of TVUUC:

I'm sure we can speak for most members the Spartanburg (SC) church when we say we were devastated to hear the news of this senselessly violent act. Our thoughts & prayers are with all of you as deal with tramatic event. We send our special support to Rev. Buice, who was our minister for 3 years, as he guides your church through the ongoing ramifications of this unspeakable tragedy. We know you are in exceptional hands.

Love, Riley & Cynthia Lanier
UU Church of Spartanburg SC

susanb said...

Your UU brothers and sisters around the country are thinking of you, and holding you close to our hearts.

Susan Bruce
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Eastern Slopes
Tamworth, NH

Anonymous said...

The people who were killed at the Knoxville UU church were killed by a terrorist similar to the ones who snuffed out the lives of Gandhi, King, the Kennedys, John Lennon and Rev. Reeb. They can't tolerate the bright light of compassion each one had. In other words, terrorism is the byproduct of hate.

Riley said...

To Chris Buice & all members of TVUUC:

I'm sure we can speak for most members the Spartanburg (SC) church when we say we were devastated to hear the news of this senselessly violent act. Our thoughts & prayers are with all of you as deal with tramatic event. We send our special support to Rev. Buice, who was our minister for 3 years, as he guides your church through the ongoing ramifications of this unspeakable tragedy. We know you are in exceptional hands.

Love, Riley & Cynthia Lanier
UU Church of Spartanburg SC

Anonymous said...

I wish you strength and compassion during this tragic time. Know that you are supported at this time by the love and concern of fellow UU's and others all over the world.

UU Society of Black Hawk County Iowa

Anonymous said...

All my thoughts, prayers and love go out to the memebers of the UU in Knoxville, and to the rest of us who try to make sence of it all.


Rev. Jeremy Smith said...

My condolences on your friends lost and families that will bear the scar of this event for years to come.

Tonight in Boston there is a vigil in solidarity by some of the UUAs. I unfortunately won't be in attendance, but thought you would like to know of the network of people thinking about you.

Anonymous said...

Spirit of Life, come unto me.
Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion.
Blow in the wind, rise in the sea;
Move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.
Roots hold me close; wings set me free;
Spirit of Life, come to me, come to me.

You are in the hearts of your brothers and sisters.

Judy said...

Dear Friends in Knoxville,

May you know that you do not suffer alone. May you know that you are held in care. May the light of love pierce the darkness of the days ahead. May strength and peace be yours.

Judy Zimmerman
UU Community Church of Washington County
Hillsboro, OR

Kathy Partridge said...

Dear TVUUC, You are us and we are you. In the unity of diversity of our chosen faith, I feel your congregation and its members are as my own. I picture our beautiful RE kids at the end of our summer program, the generous members volunteering with these kids, and the church stalwarts of my congregation, board members and ushers like Greg McKendry. I know you. I love you. I lament your pain in my heart and in my prayers.

Kathy Partridge
Boulder Valley UU Fellowship
Lafayette, CO

Anonymous said...

My UU congregation stood so strongly behind me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I know UUs to be kind, concerned, involved and wonderful people. My heart goes out to the members of the Knoxville congregation as they make their way through this dreadful time. Blessed Be.

Denice Szafran
member (moved), UU Canton, NY

Joe Gayeski said...

I'm know I'm only one who was in absolute shock when i heard of this tragedy. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved.

Anonymous said...

"The principal act of courage is to endure and withstand dangers doggedly rather than to attack them."
-Saint Thomas Aquinas

May your following days be filled with the courage to continue.

Carolyn H - a new UU

Nancy McDowell said...

I'm a former member of the Community UU Church of Plano, Texas and am now a member of the Church of the Larger Fellowship. Like so many others, I didn't know until later today that the church shooting story on the news occurred at a UU church. I will keep the congregation and the families of the slain and injured in my thoughts and prayers.

Nancy McDowell
Fort Myers, FL
Member of CLF

Terri McShane said...

My husband and I are now UUs but many years ago, Presbyterians. In that church we experienced an angry member who stormed in but fortunately was over-come by members and subdued. We know the absolute fear and hold you all in our hearts! Terri HPCUU, Colo Spgs, CO

Anonymous said...

With tolerance comes peace. If each of us affected by this horrible event can teach tolerance to one other person ... tragedies like this could cease to exist. My prayers are with all of those suffering because of this man's misery and intolerance.

Shannan Speicher
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Dallas
Unity Church of Dallas

Sara said...

Sending love and support from Cincinnati, Ohio, First Unitarian Church (Avondale).

Mark Sorensen said...

The thoughts of the Decatur Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Illinois are with you this week.

Mark Sorensen

Anonymous said...

"I share with you the agony of your grief
The anguish of your heart finds echo in my own,
I know I cannot enter all you feel
Nor bear with you the burden of your pain,
I can but offer what my love does give
The strength of caring
The warmth of one who seeks to understand
The silent storm-swept barreness of so great a loss,
This I do in quiet ways
That on your lonely path
You may not walk alone."


God Bless.

Jim said...

From the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Tuscaloosa, Alabama,

Our hearts and prayers reach out to you with love.

tinythinker said...

When I came before I didn't know what to offer. Two things have touched my heart:

A selection from The Book of Lamentations (portions of chapter 3)...

He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light; indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long.

He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones. He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship.

He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead. He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains.

Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer. He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked.

Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding, he dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help.

He drew his bow and made me the target for his arrows. He pierced my heart with arrows from his quiver...

He has filled me with bitter herbs
and sated me with gall. He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust. I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.

So I say, "My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD."

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

And the Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi...

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Anonymous said...

From Brunswick, Maine we send our deep caring and our sadness over this horrific event. Our church will be holding a vigil tomorrow evening. Know that your UU sisters and brothers send you their love.

Anonymous said...

Have hope in tomorrow, have faith in the everlasting, and take comfort in the love of friends and family, as well as all of us - your UU family. We are so sorry for your loss, you are in our thoughts, Michelle from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Somerset Hills, NJ.

Kat Meredith, Southern California said...

I am so saddened to hear what has happened. My thoughts are with all of you.

Lisa said...

As a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marin, I have been deeply affected by this episode and have been following it closely. I know it will take a long time for the people of TVUUC to recover. I hope they can find the strength to do so. I send them all my condolences.

deb chaney said...

Sending LOVE and SUPPORT to our UU friends at TVUUC and the global community. Please know that the hearts and prayers of many are with you at this time of deep sorrow and pain. May the love that is the foundation of our faith, sustain us and guide us at this difficult time.
in faith and love,
deb chaney
UU Congregation of Greater Canton, Ohio

Jeff said...

In times like this, we are challenged to remind ourselves that the pnly weapon that ever truly wins over hate is love.

Jeff Harlowe
Fist Unitarian Church
San Francsco

Anonymous said...

I am so saddened by what happened ... you all are constantly in my thoughts.

--member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick, MD

Laura said...

I extend condolences to the Tennessee Valley community and am sending prayers for your congregation. I am very much saddened at this event, especially that something as wonderful as being a Welcoming Congregation would attract so much hatred. I would like to offer support if you need anything.

In Faith,

Laura Jones
Board Member, Church of the Larger Fellowship, Unitarian Universalist
Steering Committee Member, Church of the Younger Fellowship

Anonymous said...

Knoxville UU's - members, friends, clergy - and supportive people of other faiths, have been in my thoughts tonight, with you in spirit as you gather for your vigil. May the love and care expressed in your gathering and in so many others around the continent tonight give you strength, courage and begin to heal your spirits.

The Piedmont UU Community in Charlotte, NC, is planning a vigil on Wednesday night. We will pray that all who have been harmed and all who are uncertain and fearful will be held in the light of Divine grace.

In faith, hope and love,
Rev. Karen Matteson,
Interim minister,
Piedmont UU Church, Charlotte, NC

Mark Bernstein said...

On behalf of the congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County in Media, PA, I send our love and prayers that you find peace and strength during this terrible time.

Mark Bernstein
President, Board of Trustees

Anonymous said...

Sending the deeping caring to the Knoxville UU families. I was horrified the moment I saw the breaking news on Sunday morning come across my television set, and you have not been far from my thoughts since. You have my deepest condolences on the lost of life your congregations have suffered and the tragedy your communities have witnessed. Blessings from Ohio.

Vanessa said...

You are surrounded by love, healing and light during this difficult time. Miles separate us, but nothing can extinguish our common flame of love and compassion. We are all right there with you.

Vanessa D - UU Congregation of Columbia (MD)

G. Fish said...

My deepest sympathy, prayers and love to all in the Knoxville UU congregation. Gail Fish

Abby said...

Please note that the shooter has a history of domestic violence. All violence begins in the home and is replicated as an attempt to exert power over another. I have read everything I can find on this horrible tragedy at a UU church, and the small article about the shooter's divorce was a reminder of the roots of all violence. I am recommitting myself to ending family violence everywhere. It is the only way we will achieve Peace Over Violence.

Abby Arnold
Santa Monica UU Church

Anonymous said...

It is so easy to picture the eager children excited to perform their songs, and the people of the congregation beaming on their children with joy and then ... my mind can't get past that point. My heart aches for the families who have lost their loved ones, and for the people of the congregation of all ages for their losses and trauma. There was the world before this horrendous event, and the world after, even for those of us who heard the news from a distance.

Cathy Tauscher, DRE
Woodinville UUC, WA

Katherine said...

I am saddened and disturbed by the events at TVUUC, particularly that such a peaceful group of people exercising their freedom of religion were so viciously attacked, and even more so that children were performing at the time. Know that my thoughts are with you during this time.

AS--a fellow UU from Fort Wayne, IN

Anonymous said...

Three things come to mind. First, and foremost, my deepest sympathies to all members and friends of TVUUC, to the families of the victims, and the children. May we all find the strength in our faith to stand as one, strong, and comforted by those around us.

Second, may we never become so complacent to think that there others who would make martyrs of us, even today.

And finally, the heroism displayed by Greg McKendry, and others of the congregation who detained the accused, preventing further harm both to congregants and to the accused himself, demonstrates the depth of the character of these individuals, the congregation and indeed the potential for good in all of us.

In our grief, may we also be thankful for this touch of the divine.

Paul B.
First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto (Canada)

Caitlin, a fellow TJD UU said...

As yesterday went on, and the details kept pouring in, I was more saddened and shocked with each passing moment.

I offer my condolences, prayers, and good vibes to EVERYONE affected by yesterday's tragedy. And especially to Mrs. McKendry & Taylor and the Kraeger family.

The UU community lost two good people yesterday, and what a loss it was.

Words cannot express what we are all feeling right now...

Anonymous said...

Hold on to our hands, we offer them to you in love. We wish you peace, courage, and strength.

Anonymous said...

My heart aches for your losses and your pain. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Hold your children tight and give them all your love.
- A Fellow UU in Omaha, NE

Kirstie said...

My heart is heavy with sorrow for all my sisters and brothers down the mountain who have been touched by this tragedy. Our UU Church of Asheville held a service in the spirit of healing and support for your community tonight. I join the wider web of UUs and caring people around the globe in holding the Knoxville congregation in love and solidarity.


Kirstie Fischer
Asheville, NC

Caitlin, a fellow TJD UU said...

From the time I was informed of this event until now, as the details poured in, I have only become more saddened with each passing moment, each new piece of information.

I offer my condolences, prayers, and good vibes to ALL affected by this tragedy and especially to Mrs. McKendry & Taylor and the Kraeger family. I also pray for those still recovering from their wounds.

Words cannot express how we all feel about this. But this outpour of love and support is an encouraging thing to see.

Anonymous said...

There simply are not words to express how awful this makes me feel. How desperately I want to do something, anything, to help. To hold you up until you are able to hold yourselves and, when that time comes, to stand with you and say "we will not give in to fear".

A UU Mom in Minnesota

Anonymous said...

To all the families and loved ones affected by the tragic events of Sunday, July 27.
Please know you are held in Love and Support by your friends across the country, with prayers for Love, Peace and Understanding.
Blessed Be,
Kevin Lawson
First Unitarian Church
Portland, OR

Yonit said...

I am a member of the Jewish community in Bloomington, Indiana. A horrendous hate crime like this is targeted at everyone and touches us all. I express my deepest sympathies for those killed in the shooting and for those individuals who are injured. I pray for their complete healing. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Our hearts ache for those in your church community affected by this tragedy. Our family is with you in thought and prayer as you traverse this difficult path.
The Morrigan/VanLeer/Betz Family
Seattle WA

Rev. Bro. H. Bruce Baldwin said...

I was shocked to hear this morning about this happening in a church. A church, though I am not a member, have deep respect and admiration of because of its history and its culture of support for the Rights of Individuals. How can such a thing happen in a country that has Freedom of Religion and Speech as a basic tenet? As one that has been subject to hate based motives by anti-Gay Rights supporters, I have worked in the past with many other supportive groups, but none so supportive of my right to be whom I am as the U. U. Church.
I feel the pain. I feel your need for healing and strength. I know that you are receiving that from many, but allow my voice and heart to add to this energy and wish peace and healing to you all.
I attended the Vigil held this evening in Copley Sq., Boston, and partner and husband and I added our voices and prayers with all others in a common brotherhood with you all.

sienna said...

i send love, love, and healing light your way. this is senseless. i hope you are able to weave some sort of sense out of it. uuism was my cradle and i am so grateful to that upbringing. its easy to be a liberal in new york city - i forget how hard it is to stand by what is right. my hat off and hands up to your courage.

Anonymous said...

I would add my voice to the post from the UU Mom from Columbus.

As reported on Knoxville News: Jones says, "(Our church) will continue to have an open door and an open ear to anyone that comes to our door. We welcome anybody, and we're not going to change that."

I think this is really important, that we not lose our humanity and sink into fear and suspicion. I liked the metaphor of the blogger who spoke of paper overcoming rock. May we as a denomination continue our efforts.

Please know that so many of us are wishing you well as you deal with your grief and sorrow.

The Hoberts family,
St John's UU, Cincinnati, OH

Anonymous said...

I am deeply saddened by the shootings at the Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville, Tennessee and will keep the victims, their families, their loved ones, and all others affected by this tragedy in my thoughts and prayers. I offer you all my most sincere condolences. Stay strong, and always keep the memory of the victims in your heart. Shalom, Salaam, Namaste, God Bless, and Blessed Be.

Love and Blessings,
David Wright

Katie said...

I am brought to tears everytime I stop to think about what you all are going through. My prayers are with you.

Aiken UU Church, Aiken, SC

Jean McIntosh, UU Fellowship of Plattsburgh NY said...

My heartfelt condolences to all of our brothers and sisters in Knoxville. I am sure their shock and grief knows no bounds at this time.

This is a tragedy, but also an unparalleled opportunity for all of us as UU's to demonstrate our faith to the world. A number of months ago I was impressed by our Amish brothers' and sisters' ability to forgive a gunman who had tragically entered one of their schools and reached out to him and his family. All Unitarians should search their hearts and reach out to this poor individual who entered the Knoxville Sanctuary with a heart filled with hate. We talk about forgiveness and now is the time to follow in the footsteps of Norbert Capek and put our money where our mouth is. If we are to believe in the inherent worth of all beings, we must forgive this soul as well. If he had entered Sanctuary without his gun and stated to the Fellowship how dire his needs were and how deep his anger was, any decent congregation would have reached out to him. Stopping Hate begins at our own front doors, and not just the front door to the Sanctuary either.

The Knoxville congregation is in my thoughts and prayers, as is the gunman. May we all have a healing.

Ron Achelpohl said...

Please know that you are in our prayers for strength, peace and timely healing for you and your community.

While I am shocked, saddened and angered by the attack on your church this weekend, I am also very proud of your Congregation for the strength and courage you showed in reacting to such unimaginable violence by disarming and subduing your attacker before he was able to hurt anyone else.

With love and support,

Ron Achelpohl
All Souls UU Church of Kansas City, Missouri

dawn said...

So saddened to know of your pain in Knoxville -- so resigned to the knowledge that it could have been anywhere, any one of us -- and so proud of the noble and heroic actions of fellow UUs during a moment of evil and catastrophe. Love to you all.

Dawn, First Universalist, Rochester NY

Anonymous said...

I was so sad to hear this tragedy. Your church home is your sacred place, and I feel so bad that it was disturbed in such a violent way. Please know that many of us say a prayer for you all, and hope that the healing is beginning even now. You have suffered a tragic loss and we cannot imagine your pain. Please know our hearts are with you.

Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Springfield, IL

booksherpa said...

I am torn between deep sorrow and extreme anger at this tragedy and violation. TVUUC, you are in my thoughts tonight. My hymn of choice since I heard has been "We are a gentle angry people . . . " - it seems to sum up my feelings the best.

Jen Kitchen
UU Congregation of Somerset Hills, NJ

rev archene turner said...

oh my heart breaks but yet i hear the words of a powell davies, one of our great uu ministers repeating in my head...

"the years of all us us are short, our lives precarious. our days and night go hurrying on and there is scacely time to the little we might. yet, we find time for bitternesm for petty treason and evasion. what can we do to stretch our hearts enough to lose their littleness? here we are - all of us - all upon this planet, bound together in a common destiny, living our lives between briefness of the daylight and the dark. kindred in this, each lighted by the same precarious, flickering flame of life, how does it happen that we are not kindred in all else? how strange and foolishh are these walls of separation that divide us!"

may you the gap lessen between us all and may you find the strength to continue to be a UU beacon!

sending peace, love & light

tadamiec said...

My heart is split open by sadness for the TVUUC community. My church is holding a vigil tonight, but my work schedule prevented me from attending in person. Instead, by reading these loving posts, I feel joined with the larger UU and liberal religious community. And I am warmed and inspired by the comments I have read.

May the ultimate result of this horrific tragedy be that the whole country now clearly knows that UU churches are courageously and lovingly committed to welcoming everyone. May Greg's martyrdom be honored by all of us and call us to live up to the best in ourselves.

Therese Adamiec
Pathways UU Church
Southlake, TX

SSanf said...

I made my condolence card in the form of a YouTube video.

Please accept my sincere condolences.

Anonymous said...

For Greg McKendry and Linda Kraeger -- two people who were taken from among us by violence, by a man filled with confusion and anger. And those who were injured, and all the families, shocked to the core by this inexplicable act. Those of us who pray hold you all in prayer. All of us hold you in loving thought.
Dorothy Hoskins, UU Church of Canadaigua, NY

Sarahgrant said...

I was unable to attend my church's vigil this evening (1st Church Dallas), but my thoughts and prayers are with each and every person who is hurting after this terrible tragedy - I know that list is countless.

I, like others whose comments I've read - am proud to be a part of this liberal faith - where we can be ourselves - qhile also being in community - as we follow our personal journeys.

There is no way to understand why these tragedies occur - maybe the best we can hope for is that in some way they make us stronger - special blessings to Greg - who was so devoted to his beliefs that he shielded others, preventing an even worse scenario.

Blessings to all - may the collective pain help us to become even stronger as we move forward as a denomination.

To quote our Senior Minister - Dr. Laurel Hallman - I submit this in the name of all those - known and unknown; present and absent; remembered and forgotten (may not be the correct order!) - I pray for all of us - and all the helpers of humankind.

With love and faith - Sarah Elizabeth

(Sarah Grant Reid)

Anonymous said...

My heart and thoughts are with you. We are so vulnerable and so strong. Know you are not alone and there are UU's around the world that hold out their hands to you.

Hannahs said...

We too, share your tears and hold you in our hearts and in our thoughts.
Tom & Theresa Hannah
Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Appleton Wisconsin

Barbara said...

I wrote this prayer after Katrina, but it is apropos to this sad and painful event.....Go in love, and go in peace.

In these times of limitless grief
We have but two choices

Our hearts can break
They can break wide open

The broken heart can fall
Clutching and desperate
Into a deep chasm of loneliness

The heart broken open
Joins with the pain
Of a million other hearts
And knows
That it is never alone.

May we choose
The communion of broken hearts
Over isolation

And with that choosing

May we act together in love
Toward the healing
Of the Heart of the World.

Barbara Ford
First Unitarian Church, Portland, OR

Peter said...

On behalf of the congregation and friends of the Melbourne Unitarian Peace Memorial Church we wish to pass on our condolences and support to the UU's in Knoxville. Our thoughts are with you from the other side of the Pacific.
Peter Abrehart (Congregational Chairman), Melbourne, Australia

CoachChick said...

I send love, light and strength. With these, I know the members of Knoxville, and the rest of us bonded to them, can persevere and grow.

Ray Holland and Liz Augustine said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time. We stand solidly with you in supporting a progressive, compassionate approach to life.

Anonymous said...

As a UU mom of two little ones, I was shocked at how close to home this hurt. Please know that we are sending loving, healing energy to the members and friends of TVUUC. We are deeply saddened by your (and our) loss.

Kelly B
Universalist Unitarian Church of Farmington, MI

Anonymous said...

We are all united with you and share our love with you. True to the principles of your faith, your pain is our pain, your church was violated as was ours and we have the universl knowledge thst love conquers hate. Your Lutheran friend. Joseph Apicella

Margaret Fearon-Boone said...

To the Knoxville UU Congregation, may the love and strength that has brought you together help to heal you at this most difficult time. The members of UU of Santa Clarita Valley, CA send our love and prayers to you.

Margaret Fearon-Boone

Anonymous said...

My heart and thoughts are with everyone in the Knoxville UU Church,as well as the Knoxville community who are suffering from this tragedy.I send a heartfelt thank you to the Presbyterian Church that has helped out my sister and brother UUs there in Knoxville.
Susan,member of the
UU Church of Tarpon Springs,Florida

Bill said...

The shockwaves of sadness and disbelief are washing over the membership of the Conejo Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in California.

We offer our prayers and support to the members of the TVUUC at their loss of Greg McKendry and Linda Kraeger and the injuries sustained, both physical and emotional, by the rest of your congregation.

Bill Robinson

fischell family said...

999To our UU friends in Knoxville -

Know that you are in our hearts. All our sympathy goes out to you at this difficult time.

The Fischell Family
UU Congregation of Monmouth County
Lincroft, NJ

Niki said...

As a fellow UU from Kingsport, Tennessee, my heart breaks. May in this time of terrible sadness, you find strength with one another, and in community.

A wise woman in my current church recently preached I Kings, that God in not in the storm, but in the strength to endure the storm. May you find that so.

bruce roemmelt said...

As the communications chair of the Bull Run UU Church in Manassas, VA I sent out a press release to all of our local media tonight with a powerful message from our Minister, Reverend Nancy McDonald Ladd, and President Sinkford's statement.

We will show everyone that our chalice flame is not extinguished, but burns brighter.

As we end every service in our faith community, "May we go with peace and love, and share it with the world, amen."

Bruce Roemmelt, Communications Chair
Bull Run UU Church, Manassas, VA

Cris in Trumansburg, NY said...

I really cannot fathom how this trauma affects the children. I know you will be doing everything you can as a religious community for their mental and spiritual health. I am heartened to learn that the UUA has sent a crisis team. I pray for the families whose hearts have been torn by this brutal act and sudden loss. And for the perpetrator of this horrible act, may he de-learn the hate he has been programmed with.

Anonymous said...

On behalf of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Smithton, I send our deepest condolences for your tragic loss. As your sisters and brothers in a caring and welcoming community of faith, we hold you in our hearts and prayers, and hope that healing will come with the passage of time. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help.
Rev. Rebecca Booher
UU Congregation of Smithton (PA)

Carlton E Smith said...

I'm terribly sorry for the news of this heinous and hateful crime. My prayer is that some blessing emerge from this awful event: renewed commitment to inclusion and nonviolence; greater mindfulness and anticipation of senseless attacks, and most of all, greater extension of love in the world that can hold us all, before we act in ways that harm others and ourselves.
Be encouraged, Unitarian Universalists and Friends in Knoxville ... we are standing with you on the side of love.

Rev. Carlton Elliott Smith
(writing from Boston University)

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