Our hearts are heavy beyond words for the victims of the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. We are heartbroken over the ways that safety, freedom, joy, and life have been robbed from so many individuals and their families. There is nothing we can say that can repair that loss. For all who are affected by this tragedy: we stand proudly with you, we ache with you, and we are looking for ways to act with you. You have our thoughts and prayers, but you also have our hands and feet and tears. While we do not know all the motives of the shooter, we know that the affected community is one who has already suffered too much in the ways of freedom, acceptance, and safety. We pray for understanding, healing, and true progress in this country.
Following in the steps of Jesus, we believe that the church is called to seek a new order of inclusivity and radical welcome that goes against the grain of tradition, established religious order, societal norms, binary gender dynamics, or any division along lines of ethnicity, race, economics, or sexual orientation. St. Paul’s seeks to be a sanctuary for all who have ever felt marginalized, rejected, unseen, or unworthy.
We realize this stance is not popular. We stand with those who themselves have valued integrity over popularity, who have been forced to create family when family has rejected them, who have loved without hesitation and in a way that is fearless and true, and who stand for a new world in which all may come as they are. Historically, it has often been those most estranged and marginalized by the church—women, ethnic and racial minorities, the LGBTQ community—who have been the most fearless leaders in building this new world. We thank you, and we seek to learn from your courage and your faith.
Whoever you are and wherever you find yourself on your journey of faith and your journey of love, you are, most truly, welcome with us at St. Paul’s.