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Standing with our Tennessee Valley Sisters and Brothers

It is with great sympathy and a heavy heart that I write in support, solidarity, and sympathy with the members, ministers and friends of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in my home town of Knoxville Tennessee. TVUUC was the first UU congregation where I attended worship in our faith. It seems unfathomable that this beautiful sanctuary that means so much to me was marked by the trauma and violence of this morning’s attack.

We are a close-knit religious faith, and the bonds between us are tight across the nation. Our faith tells us that what happens to one of us, happens to us all. The loss and injury of these brave men and women, and the psychic and spiritual trauma upon this congregation is felt by us all. We mourn together.

I am grateful for those whose heroic action kept the attacker from committing an even greater atrocity. I am thankful for the lives of those who have passed away, and for the love that this congregation has shown for them. I am thankful for the efforts of the doctors and nurses at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where the victims of this crime were taken for treatment. I am grateful for the quick response of the Knoxville Police Department and other emergency services, which undoubtedly saved lives.

My friend Rev. Chris Buice has asked us to pray. I pray for the members of this church I have come to know and love, for my fellow Unitarian Universalists everywhere, and for a world in which such crimes can happen. I also pray for the man who committed this atrocity. He too has inherent worth and dignity, and we must struggle not only to recognize it, but to heal whatever brought him to commit such a horrible crime.

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We live in a broken world, and our faith calls us to be a healing presence among that brokenness. May we mourn our loss, may we work for healing, and through this tragedy may we keep our faith. May we come together, both physically and spiritually, in this time of tragedy and need.

From “Here We Have Gathered” Hymn #360 in Singing the Living Tradition

Life has its battles, sorrows and regret:
But in the shadows, let us not forget:
We who now gather know each other’s pain;
Kindness can heal us: As we give we gain.
Sing now in friendship this, our hearts’ own song.

Yours in Faith,


4 Thoughts on “Standing with our Tennessee Valley Sisters and Brothers

  1. Who would have thought that while we were meditating in service this morning such a tragedy was taking place at another UU family gathering. It breaks my heart.

  2. Jayne,

    What strikes me is that the sermon I preached this morning, I last preached in the pulpit at TVUUC… I was thinking about that wonderful congregation all morning.

    My heart is broken too…

  3. I’m very sorry to learn of this tragic event at a UU chruch. My thoughts and prayers go out to all in the UU fellowship. May you all be at peace.

  4. David,

    I wanted to give you my condolences when I heard about this tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your friends at TVUUC.


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