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An Interfaith Response to the Tragedy in Orlando

A letter from clergy and faith leaders
 
The list of signatories is still evolving. If you are a clergy person or faith leader and would like to sign this letter of support, click here.

 
We, as clergy and faith leaders, wish to express our immense sadness at the tragic loss of life in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016. We write in solidarity with the LGBT community, as both members of the community and allies, in this time of pain, grief, and mourning. Yet in the midst of unimaginable heartbreak, we have found room for love. We have found room for healing, hope, and acceptance. In our churches, mosques, and temples, in our homes, places of work, and public spaces, we have found room for both grief and joy.

Interfaith Response to the Tragedy in OrlandoWe have also found room for anger. We are angry that hateful and homophobic speech has paved the way for violence. Angry that decades of hate directed towards the LGBT community have led to this moment. And most of all, we are angry that we, as members of a faith community, but also as human beings, are now expected to be accustomed to this type of tragedy.

In this time of mourning, we, as members of an LGBT-inclusive faith community, have provided healing and open spaces. However, it is an inescapable reality that words of hate and acts of violence often times have misguided root in faith tradition. As leaders in our faith traditions, it is incumbent upon us to show the world that our communities are welcoming and loving places for all people.

With members of the LGBT community, fellow faith leaders, and many touched by the tragedy in Orlando, we have stood – and will continue to stand – together. We hope that our houses of worship have lived up to their promises of unconditional support for all of those who need them. We know that words of hate have led to hateful actions, but now we hope that our words of love and acceptance will lead to actions of the same.

Let us all, as we move into the final days of Pride month, celebrate the beauty that love and acceptance brings.

Rev. Rachelle Brown
Metropolitan Community Churches
Portage, IN

Rev. Martin Woulfe
Springfield, IL

Ilana Axel, Cantorial Leader
Beth Tikvah Congregation
Hoffman Estates, IL

Christopher Pett
Presider, Dignity Chicago
Chicago, IL

Rabbi Wendi Geffen
North Shore Congregation
Glencoe, IL

Cantor Steven Stoehr
Congregation Beth Shalom
Northbrook, IL

Rabbi Sidney Helbraun
Temple Beth-El
Northbrook, IL

Rabbi Shoshanah Conover
Temple Sholom of Chicago
Chicago, IL

Rev. Susan Chamberlin Smith
Trinity United Church of Christ
Deerfield, IL

Rev. Luis F Reyes
Lombard, IL

Cantor Stuart A. Simon
Am Yisrael Congregation
Northfield, IL

The Rev. Charles A. deKay
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church
Evanston, IL

Rev. Erik Christensen
St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square
Chicago, IL

Rev. Gregory D. Gross
Berry United Methodist Church
Chicago, IL

Rev. Michael Mann
Elgin, IL

Rev. Kevin J. McLemore
Epiphany United Church of Christ
Chicago, IL

Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus
B’nai Yehuda Beth Sholom
Homewood, IL

Rev. Susan Johnson
Hyde Park Union Church
Chicago, IL

Rev. Eileen Shanley-Roberts
Christ Episcopal Church
Waukegan, IL

Rev. Shane Smith
United Methodist Church
Benton, IL

Rev. Dr. Raymond Pickett
Lutheran School of Theology
Chicago, IL

Rev. Betty E. Landis
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
Evanston, IL

Rev. Sara Isbell
Chatham, IL

Rev. Terry Harter

The Rev. George D. Smith III
Rector, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
Glen Ellyn, IL

Rev. Barbara Bolsen
United Church of Christ
Chicago, IL

Dr. Esther Menn
Lutheran School of Theology
Chicago, IL

Rev. Susan Ryder
New Covenant Community
Normal, IL

Rev. Robert Ryder
New Covenant Community
Normal, IL

Rev. Jackie Belile
Living Well Ministries
Chicago, IL

Rev. Alka Lyall
Broadway United Methodist Church
Chicago, IL

Rev. Christian Coon
Urban Village Church
Chicago, IL

Rev. Sarah C. Richards
Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship
Carbondale, IL

Pastor Kresten R. Lipscomb
First Church of the Brethren
Springfield, IL

Rev. Seth Ethan Carey
First Congregational Church
Glen Ellyn, IL

Rev. E. Paul Unger
Pastor Emeritus, UMC

Rev. Carole Hoke
Fondulac Congregational UCC
East Peoria, IL

Rev. Michael D. Kirby
Northminster Presbyterian Church
Evanston, IL

Judith M. Unger
Wesley United Methodist Church
Urbana, IL

The Very Rev. Stacy Walker
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
DeKalb, IL

Rev. Wendy Ann Witt
First United Methodist Church
Chicago, IL

Rev. Adrienne Trevathan
Holy Covenant UMC
Chicago, IL

The Rev. Michael Fick
Ebenezer Lutheran Church
Chicago, IL

Rev. Gayle Tucker
Congregational Church of Jefferson Park
Chicago, IL

Rev. Melissa Earley
Northbrook United Methodist Church
Northbrook, IL

Rev. Steven Hoerger
Salem United Church of Christ
Oak Lawn, IL

Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell
Institute for Jewish Spirituality
Highland Park, IL

The Rev. Dr. J. Michael Solberg
The Union Church of Hinsdale
Hinsdale, IL

Rabbi Max Weiss
Oak Park Temple, B’nai Abraham Zion
Oak Park, IL

Rev. Kirk Moore
St. Paul’s United Church of Christ
Downers Grove, IL

Rev. Gordon R. McCoy
A Church 4 Me MCC
Chicago, IL

The Rev. Kyle Severson
St. Philip Lutheran Church
Glenview, IL

Rev. Dr. John Hobbs
Church of the Three Crosses
Chicago, IL

Rev. Nanette Sawyer
Chicago, IL

Rev. Elizabeth A. Harding
Second Unitarian Church
Chicago, IL

Rabbi Michael Zedek
Chicago, IL

Rev. Dr. Thom Parrott-Sheffer
Plainfield Congregational Church UCC
Plainfield, IL

Rev. Adam Robersmith
Second Unitarian Church of Chicago
Chicago, IL

Rev. Richard T. Carlson
First United Methodist
Elgin, IL

Rev. Mark Winters
First Congregational UCC
Naperville, IL

Pastor Jamie D. Frazier
The Lighthouse Church
Chicago, IL

Rabbi Cindy Enger
Congregation Or Chadash
Chicago, IL

Rabbi Robin Damsky
In the Gardens
Chicago, IL

Rev. Lola Wright
Bodhi Spiritual Center
Chicago, IL

Rev. Nancy Goede
Augustana Lutheran Church
Chicago, IL

Carr Harkrader
Interfaith Youth Core
Chicago, IL

Rev. Marcus Fogliano
Peoria Proud, The Interfaith Alliance of Central Illinois
Peoria, IL