Pastoral Letter after Club Q Shooting in Colorado

November 21, 2022

As an Open and Affirming Congregation in the United Church of Christ, we take seriously the command of Jesus to love our neighbor and to support especially those who have been marginalized in the body of Christ.  We pray for those whose lives have been destroyed by violence across the world, at the University of Idaho, the University of Virginia, and now in Colorado Springs. 

Below is a letter from Andrew Lang, leader of the Open and Affirming Coalition, in response to the murders in Colorado:

When Open and Affirming congregations gathered Sunday to honor our transgender and nonbinary neighbors who have lost their lives to hatred, we were stunned by the news that a young man inside an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs shot and killed at least five people and injured 25 late Saturday night.

Once again, lives have been irretrievably lost by the rising tide of hatred and gun violence in America.

As I heard the news Sunday morning, my thoughts went to Jeremiah 31, verse 15:

Thus says the Lord:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.

This week, we join in prayer for each person murdered or injured last night in Club Q. In the coming days we will know their names. We also pray in union with the Rocky Mountain Conference and especially with our Open and Affirming churches in Colorado Springs: First Congregational UCC, Vista Grande Community UCC and Black Forest Community UCC, as well as Church in the Wildwood UCC in neighboring Green Mountain Falls.

It is not easy to hope in a time like this. We are overwhelmed with shock, bewilderment, grief and anger. Our emotions now cannot simply dissolve into hope. It will take time to heal. But there will be a time to hope again. The prophet Jeremiah continues in verses 16 and 17:

Thus says the Lord:
Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears;
for there is a reward for your work,
says the Lord:
they shall come back from the land of the enemy;
there is hope for your future,
says the Lord:
your children shall come back
to their own country.

Sunday was also the feast of the Reign of Christ. As a movement, Open and Affirming churches like yours are working for the vision of God's future realm, where everyone is wanted, everyone is needed, no one is lost to hatred. But that future realm is also taking shape here and now: in your congregations and your families in more than a thousand communities across America. So there is reason for hope. Your mission is to save lives, and there will be a reward for your work: the beloved community where all of God's children can return home.

Yours, trusting in Christ,

The Rev. Andrew Lang
Executive Director, Open and Affirming Coalition

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