A special message from Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball

By Deborah Coble

Statement of Love and Concern in the Wake of the Tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue

At just past eleven o’clock yesterday morning, we heard the tragic news of a shooting that occurred today at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Our hearts are heavy today, and we grieve with those who lost loved ones or were injured in this horrible act of violence. We are deeply saddened and greatly disturbed by such an act of violence against people of faith who were gathering in a place and space believed to be sacred and safe.

As United Methodists gathering for worship this morning, we reach out in love and concern to our brothers and sisters of the Jewish Faith. Acts of violence against individuals and groups are deplorable, and we pray for a day when all people will be safe and confident to worship God in the House of Worship and religious tradition of their choosing.

As this day begins, we acknowledge that the burden of pain experienced by faith our Jewish brothers and sisters is shared by Almighty God who suffers with all humanity in the midst of such a senseless act of inhumanity.

We pray for all who were victimized and their families, and for all who feel the shock and confusion of an act so violent as yesterday’s attack upon those whose lives of faith gave them meaning and fulfillment. We pray for a day when the love and grace of our Creator God will be embraced and received by the whole human family.

Grace and peace,
Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball


West Virginia Council of Churches Executive Director, Rev. Jeff Allen’s statement:

“We cannot allow our country to continue to be a place where violence is accepted as the norm, where exclusion and hate are nurtured, and where nationalism, rather than patriotism, is seen as a higher good. It will be up to all Americans to counteract this trend in our country. To quote Rabbi Abraham Heschel, ‘morally speaking, there is no limit to the concern one must feel for the suffering of human beings, that indifference to evil is worse than evil itself, that in a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.’ We have a calling to remember that all people are our sisters and brothers. As someone once eloquently noted, ‘no exceptions.’”


Follow this link for a statement from Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, area bishop of Western Pennsylvania, which includes Pittsburgh.