Dear friends in Christ,
Grace and peace to you in the name of the Savior of All, Jesus Christ.
Our hearts break yet again in the wake of sudden violence and unspeakable horror, this time targeting the LGBT community. As our prayers name the victims and their families and the people of Orlando, we join a great company of those who trust in the One who came to lead the entire human family into gentle, powerful community with one another.
Bishop Kenneth Carter released a statement Sunday as he prayed for clergy and laity leading worship in the United Methodist churches in Orlando: May you announce God’s unconditional love for all people and God’s desire for nonviolence through Jesus Christ who is our peace.
I echo Bishop Carter’s continuing words, hoping that we can discover creative, pastoral and grace-filled ways to bear witness to all – including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons – together we are God’s beloved children. With thousands of us gathered … this week, what if God is calling us to be part of the healing?
In a convergence that will be life-giving, the Florida Conference will meet in Orlando as we gather in Greenville this week, June 16-18. We will have opportunity at Annual Conference to grieve, to pray and to be encouraged in the ministry in Christ we share into all the world.
I hope that you will keep those impacted most directly by this tragedy in your personal prayers and in the prayers of your church. Now is the time to walk across the street and join hands with neighbors of other faith traditions. May we link our hearts and hopes and actions with God and one another in this time of grief and challenge.
The Light shines in darkness and the darkness does not overcome it.
With gratitude to God for each of you and the ministry we share in Christ,
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
Read a letter from Bishop Bruce Ough, president of the Council of Bishops.