A lone gunmen entered the parish hall of St Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, AL last night, and shot three persons, two of whom were killed.
Here is a sample of news reports:
Bishop of Alabama’s statement last night:
Tonight, what felt impossible became a reality. An individual attending a potluck supper at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, began shooting at a group of people gathered for the event. We do not know and will never understand why this person chose this path.
We are grieving across the diocese and the State of Alabama.
We know that we are not alone. This evening, we gathered as a community to pray. We have received calls and emails from across the country and around the world, and we are grateful for your love.
We will continue to pray. Tomorrow, Friday, June 17 at 10 AM, we will gather at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Mountain Brook, Alabama, to pray for God’s guidance as we seek healing, justice, and an end to senseless violence in our communities and nation.
The Rt. Reverend Glenda Curry
Bishop of Alabama
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.
Presiding Bishop’s pastoral word:
Dear friends in Christ:
By now you are aware that last night a shooter entered St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, killing two children of God and injuring a third.
Even as I write, I am on the way to the commemoration of the nine who were martyred in 2015 at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The plague of gun violence in the United States affects us all, and now it has affected a congregation in The Episcopal Church.
We join together in prayer with Bishop Glenda Curry, Bishop Brian Prior, the clergy and people of St. Stephen’s, and the whole Episcopal Diocese of Alabama. I want to encourage us as a church to offer special prayers this Sunday for those affected by the shooting at St. Stephen’s—and for all victims of gun violence.
As the prophet Isaiah wrote (41:10):
Do not fear, for I am with you,
do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
I invite you to join me in prayer:
Eternal God of love, we know that you do not willingly inflict pain upon or grieve your children, and your dream for all is life abundant.
We come to you now in sorrow and sadness at the death and violence inflicted on our siblings of St. Stephen’s Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. Receive the souls of those who have died. Grant them peace in your arms of love. Be with those who are injured and suffer, those who are grieving, and those who are frightened and dispirited. Help us as a nation to find ways to bring an end to this scourge of violence, which hurts your children and our human family. Give us the strength we need, the courage we must have, and the faith in you that will see us through. All this we pray and ask in the name of the prince of peace—your son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church