News and Views

Bishop LaTrelle Easterling's statement following the shooting in Aberdeen

Posted by Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling on


As I attempt to process the reality that another shooting has occurred within the bounds of our Conference, taking the life of three persons and ending with the self-inflicted death of the shooter, the words of Thomas Moore's hymn, "Come, Ye Disconsolate" (UM Hymnal, #510), rose in my spirit:

Come, ye disconsolate, where'er ye languish,
Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish,
Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.

The circumstances that led to this horrific tragedy are unknown. As of this writing, the names of the victims have not been released, meaning family members are still being contacted. At such an early stage of this painful situation, we have more questions than answers. We know that our brothers and sisters in Harford County are reeling from this news, and we know that families are being gathered to receive news no one wants to hear. They deserve our prayers. They will need our support.

I am grateful to learn that there will be a time of prayer and conversation tonight at Cranberry United Methodist Church, beginning at 7 p.m. That church will also hold a Community Prayer Vigil tomorrow evening, Friday, September 21, at 7 p.m. If you cannot be there in person, please join this community in prayer during these services.

As we receive the unfolding news, as we learn the names of the victims, as we draw closer to those we love and resist feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, may the hopeful and hope-filled words of this hymn comfort us. And, may we stand on the assurance that God's grace is sufficient for all.

Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!
Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
"Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot cure."

Your servant in Christ,
Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling