Reponse to the Connecticut Shooting

Dear Friends:

The unspeakable events in Connecticut today have everyone reeling, and in shock. It’s almost unfathomable to believe the loss and the grief.

I can share with you that I have been crying off and on all day. I find myself moving back and forth between deep grief for the loss of innocent life, and deep anger at the abiding scourge of gun violence in our society; a problem that is, statistically, 20-times worse in our nation than in any other developed nation on earth.

Please do call us, or reach out via email, if you are feeling the need to talk about these events. I know that many you who are parents are struggling –as are Dennise and I– with how to deal with these issues with our children.

Here are some tips from Channel 8 News and Children’s Medical Center, that seem generally solid. If any of you parents wish to talk, please do call us.

We have a previously scheduled “Service for the Longest Night” coming up this Sunday evening. While it was conceived of as a service to remember our personal griefs and losses, there is no reason it cannot also serve as a time to mourn the violence and loss of life in this tragedy too.

We’ll light candles of hope, sing songs of the holiday, and attempt to witness to the belief that nothing can separate of us from the love of God…a love no darkness can overcome.

So, if you are feeling the need to gather, that time might be very helpful for folks to come and share their sense of grief and loss.

Also, this hymn/prayer, originally written by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette after the Columbine shooting, seems appropriate today.

God be with you all….EF

    “God, we have heard it, sounding in the silence:
    News of the children lost to this world’s violence.
    Children of promise! Then without a warning,
    Loved ones are mourning.

    Jesus, you came to bear our human sorrow;
    You came to give us hope for each tomorrow.
    You are our life, Lord God’s own love revealing.
    We need your healing!

    Heal us from giving weapons any glory;
    Help us, O Prince of Peace, to hear your story;
    Help us resist the evil all around here;
    May love abound here!

    By your own Spirit, give your church a clear voice;
    In this world’s violence, help us make a new choice.
    Help us to witness to the joy your peace brings,
    Until your world sings!”

Original source here.

I have now written a much longer blog that incorporates not only the sadness of these moments, but also a sense of justice and a naming of important issues. Please feel free to find it here.

  (As always, if you like this post, then “share it” or “like” it on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too…)  


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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of The Woods United Methodist Church in Grand Prairie, Texas. For seventeen years, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas, Texas. Eric is an avid blogger and published author. Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy.

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