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Lament Lights the Path to Wholeness: A Message from Bishop Shannon

Dear people of God in the Diocese of Vermont:

Honestly I’m not sure what emotion to feel or express.

Anger.
Deep sadness.
Frustration.
Helplessness.
Fear.
Numbing grief.

I feel them all, and it is a horrifying thing.

After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting I remember thinking, “surely our nation will change after the loss of so many children, innocents.” I also remember thinking, “it is shameful and heartbreaking that children should bear the cost of our failure to protect them.” Sadly, I was wrong about the willingness of our nation to do what is right.

As I survey the history of mass shootings in our country, I do not understand why guns are more important than the lives of children, people of color, and LGBTQ persons. I do not understand how people seem to quickly forget the devastation of mass shootings, and the moral responsibility of leaders to protect all people.

I do not know what it will take to free us from this evil, but I do know we can’t give up now. Please read the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations’ resources for responding to gun violence, and follow their call to take action and to urge members of Congress to pass legislation we so desperately need.

The lives of those stolen by gun violence call us to repentance. The lives of those stolen by gun violence beg us to invite and encourage lamentation. Those who lament do not rush to consolation. Those who lament do not turn away from noticing pain and grief. Those who lament feel what others don’t want to confront. Those who lament lead us back to our humanity. Lament lights the path to wholeness.

And so, I invite you to a Diocesan Service of Lament in the Wake of Gun Violence being held on Zoom with the Green Mountain Online Abbey on Sunday, May 29 at 8 p.m. Please email communications@diovermont.org for the Zoom link.

These are hard days. I am holding you all in prayer.

Peace and Blessings,

Bishop Shannon

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