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May 25, 2022

Speak tenderly, comfort my people says God. -Isaiah 40:1

Dear Friends in Christ,

There are no words.

Shootings and killings in the last two weeks of African Americans in a Buffalo, New York, supermarket, an Asian-American church in Southern California and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, leave us all hurt, wondering and angry. We grieve for those who died and for their families. We pray for their souls, their peace and their comfort.

What good is it if you claim to have faith but don’t do anything about it? -James 2:14

Something is wrong, something is broken, and we are not protecting children, people of color and other vulnerable populations from rage, hatred, guns and mental illness. As a nation and even more so as a church, we are failing to preach, teach and act to bring an end to the sins of hatred, division, racism and cure the illness such as mental illness.

We live in a time when politicians, as well as community and church people, speak in ways that create further division, fear and even rage. We even cheer when someone representing our views spews hatred and harm. Our encouraging “our side” or saying or doing nothing only inflames incivility and violence. If you say you have faith and do nothing, or if you say you have faith and your words create division, it is not faith in Jesus Christ.

We all can pray and comfort those who mourn. Today we are called to support one another because acts of hatred like these can open up old wounds of those around us. Be sensitive to one another and comfort each other.

Let us also work together to end the sin of racism, ensure that guns are not getting into the hands of people who will commit violence, advocate for better and more mental health care and offer a witness of Christ that does not tolerate those who spew hatred, division and violence.

I call all of our churches to pray this weekend and find specific actions your church will take to stand against, and do something about, the hatred and violence in our communities and in our world.

Keep the faith!

Bishop John Schol
The United Methodists of
Eastern Pennsylvania & Greater New Jersey
BishopJohnSchol@epaumc.org | 610-666-1442
BishopJohnSchol@gnjumc.org | 732-359-1010

Equipping transformational leaders for
New Disciples | Vital Congregations | Transformed World

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Messages from Bishop John Schol

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