We Can Pray and Grieve, but then We Must Act

A response to the Orlando massacre

by The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe

June 13, 2016
Lamentation for those who suffer hate and violence
Crimes of hate that terrorize any of God’s children are abhorrent and intolerable. This time it is against LGBTQ persons and communities. Persons in the LGBTQ community were targeted because of who they are – who God created them to be and to become. We also know that this tragedy deeply affected the Latino community and we hold them all in our prayers. The heartbreak of parents, friends, lovers, congregations and communities is unbearable.
Our lamentation, our grief, our prayers, our vigils must turn into solidarity and action.
We also acknowledge and mourn the complicity of the Church in perpetuating fear and intolerance. The call of the Gospel is to love and to stand against hate. We must work to dismantle the systemic fear, hatred and discrimination that leads to violence against LGBTQ persons and communities. Legislation and policies in many states that uphold a second class of citizens and stoke the flames of homophobia must be struck down.

Muslims cannot be scaped-goated for this atrocious act.
This and other acts of hate and terror cannot be blamed on Muslims. Those who perpetrated this tragedy are not reflective of Islam or of the larger Muslim community. During this holy season of Ramadan, we know that Muslims around the world are peacefully fasting, reflecting and praying in praise and love of God.
Persons, from any culture, who are radicalized must not be allowed to claim the integrity of the world’s great religious traditions.
As persons of faith we must stand with all religious persons and communities who seek peace, compassion, and a brighter future for all.

The Gun Violence Epidemic
This all-too-often reality of mass killings has now occurred in Orlando, Florida at the hands of a hate-filled person who lawfully gained access to assault weapons – weapons with no use on city streets. Gun violence is a global problem with tragedies occurring around the world, but there is a particular shame and burden the United States bears. Individuals in the U.S. and around the world have inconceivably easy access to weapons designed to quickly and systematically kill large numbers of people.
Addressing gun violence must be a priority for our leaders at every level of government. Doing nothing is to be complicit in the continued murder of innocent people.
The United Methodist Church has spoken about the need to prevent gun violence, and Church and Society will continue to bring the words of the Church to the ears of our leaders.

A Need for Action
While it can be easy to become numb to the countless tragedies that seem to grace our televisions daily, we must resist. We can pray and grieve, but then we must act.
We must continue to preach love. We must continue to welcome the stranger. We must continue to open our hearts to the marginalized, vulnerable and oppressed. We must continue to demand policy measures that restrict access to assault weapons. We must continue to fight for inclusion in societies so quick to exclude.
And we must never cease to strive for the example set by Jesus Christ to love our neighbor as ourselves.

General Board of Church & Society

The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is that agency of the church charged with promoting the church’s social witness, and to help all United Methodists connect their faith with the broader society.

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12 Comments on "We Can Pray and Grieve, but then We Must Act"

The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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If a split comes, the progressives can keep the General Board of Church and Society.

In Christ,

The enemy hates clarity

Got it! A terrorist motivated by his own understanding of Islamic teaching kills homosexual people… yet it is not reflective of a Isalm or the larger Islamic world where anyone who deviates from their tribalistic world view is routinely whipped, hung, maimed, beheaded. In a not so distant era terrorists holding a less than majority view whipped and hung people because of their race and no one stood in a pulpit and said it was the will of God. Nowadays terrorists holding a religious opinion that is not the majority among Muslims kill people ranging from journalists, cartoonists, tourists, and… Read more »
Daniel Wagle

I don’t really think it is a realistic idea to try to convert Muslims. Many of them would face the death penalty if they lived in Islamic countries if they converted to Christianity. Many Muslim countries don’t allow Christian missionaries at all. Also, no one is suggesting that law abiding citizens should be prevented from owning guns, but rather by criminals, mentally ill people AND persons like Mateen who were under FBI investigation.

Paul W.
Wow. How can you claim to be a Wesleyan and have no burning desire to fulfill the Great Commission? Should we allow Muslims to die in their sins simply because of the fear of what men can do to them in this life? We really do have little in common theologically. The UMC needs to decide once and for all whether we are 1) a theologically liberal denomination proclaiming a squishy “God loves everybody, doesn’t care about personal sins, everybody goes to heaven” theology focusing on our own personal social justice agendas, or 2) a denomination that embraces the theology… Read more »
Daniel Wagle
Even if I agreed with you about converting Muslims, the point is that it is not very realistic goal. How would you persuade persons to convert to Christianity when they would risk their lives to do so? How could you get Christian missionaries into Islamic countries that strictly ban these missionaries? Even Israel allows Christian missionaries, but Islamic countries don’t. I don’t see the conversion of the Muslims as a plausible solution to the problems of this world, mainly because it won’t happen, not per se because I am opposed to converting anyone. By the way, I don’t agree with… Read more »
Paul W.
Again, we have vastly different and incompatible theologies. As Christians, we are called to take the Gospel to all the world even when it is not easy. We convert no one. Only through the Holy Spirit, does one come to faith in Christ. This is the difference: We are simply the vessels through which Christ is preached — conviction of sins and saving faith comes from God. Is it unrealistic to take the Gospel to the Muslim world? No. Many are doing it today and all Christians have a duty to pray for and support their efforts. Is there great… Read more »
True, rigid Islamic social custom is demonstrably violently hostile to any and all who do not toe the mark with their religious principles. To put it bluntly, when in such a culture people take a stand for Christ, they get persecuted, raped, maimed, even killed. So it has been throughout history in similar settings such as the pagan world of Rome, etc. Godly men and women have found the courage of their convictions to face persecution for the cause of Christ, even death. May God bless those who stand for Christ in the face of such implacable hatred. It is… Read more »
Paul W.

Blech. Much of this is at odds with the Discipline and social principles.

Seriously, who selects the head of GBCS and how do we go about changing the leadership? We need Wesleyan Christians to head all our agencies, not social justice warriors committed to their own agendas who could care less what General Conference says.

dave werner

Paul, here’s a link to who The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe is, what the role of Church and Society is, and how she was elected. ISTM that Dr. Henry-Crowe is very aware of both the DISCIPLINE and our social principles.

dave werner, Madison WI


Where did Ms. Henry-Crowe earn a Doctorate? I can’t find that anywhere.

Wes Andrews



In that case it is inappropriate to call her “Doctor” and also inappropriate and perhaps unethical for her to use the title outside of wherever she received the honorary degree.

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