Pastoral Letter in Response to Dallas Tragedy

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Greetings to you in the spirit of Jesus the Christ.

Like you and millions across this country, I awoke to the news of the targeted murders of police officers in Dallas, Texas. These officers were working at a protest held by the Black Lives Matter movement lamenting the loss of life of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile this past week.

I began my day by extending words of grace and comfort to friends and community members who serve as police officers. I reached out to a close friend, former classmate, and one of my groomsmen who serves as Pastor at Grace Avenue United Methodist Church in metropolitan Dallas. Members of Marcus’ congregation had gathered downtown for the rally. In addition, Project Transformation Dallas interns (a partner organization of Project Transformation Tennessee) were downtown when the shooting began.

We are a connectional church and our brothers and sisters in Dallas are hurting deeply. Faith communities have lost loved ones. Young adult interns serving with Project Transformation in United Methodist churches in Dallas have seen their community ripped apart by unrestrained anger and violence.

Over the past few years, mass shootings and acts of terror have become commonplace in our public life together. The grip of violence and fear enslaves communities and this is never what God envisioned for our neighbors.

Even as we grieve this tragedy wrought upon brothers and sisters in Dallas, indeed the unjust loss of life anywhere, we are called to be Easter people. Death and evil never have the final word.

For the next four Sundays, I am preaching on ‘Health and Wholeness’ and calling the church to comfort the broken-hearted and ease the deep pain of all who suffer. If you are looking for words of hope and comfort, come and be among the community of faith this Sunday at 10:30am.

With love and grace,

Reverend Adam Kelchner

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