St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Des Moines
Remarks by Connie Ryan
Executive Director, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa
June 14, 2016
We come together as people of faith and no faith to find solace, refuge. Perhaps to find understanding and to make sense of the world again. For some, we come to find safety and sanctuary.
We come together from all walks of life, incomes, zip codes, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, ethnicity, and religions. We come together because that’s what we do in times of chaos, confusion and pain.
Orlando was that: chaos, confusion, pain. It was hate at its worst and violence at its greatest. We in Des Moines, Iowa cannot know what it was like to be at ground zero. We cannot feel the fear or anger or numbness of those who were there, or that of their family and friends who longed to know if they were okay. We cannot know.
But we do know ours, which is very real. Our anger. Our fears. Our numbness. We call it by name and we come to this gathering to find healing and community.
As part of the interfaith community, we send our love to the victims, the wounded and the families in Orlando. As part of the interfaith community, we walk hand-in-hand with our sisters, brothers and friends in the LGBTQIA community here and beyond who grieve and are fearful. As part of the interfaith community, we stand with our Muslim neighbors who have received the unjust and unrelenting wrath of so many.
As part of the interfaith community, we rebuke those who have used this horror to perpetuate more hate. Preachers who misuse holy scriptures with a call for more violence. Politicians who tweet division and bigotry.
As part of the interfaith community, we join together to say no more. No more hate speech. No more violence. No more bigotry or discrimination. No more.
We believe in love. We cherish diversity. We understand the worth of every person. And, we believe in the promise of our nation to stop the hate.
As people of faith and no faith, we pray for the strength to stand tall and speak clearly against hate, violence and bigotry. We pray for the courage to use our voices each time. Every time. We pray for the end of hate and violence. We pray, No More.
To view the prayer vigil in its entirety, please visit https://www.facebook.com/IowaAnnualConference/videos/10154355345001677/. Thanks to the Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church for recording it.