Category : Violence

(Crux) Ukraine Catholics warn that priests arrested by Russia could be tortured

After two of its clergy were detained by Russian forces last week, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Exarchate of Donetsk has warned they could be victims of torture and has called for their immediate release.

In a Nov. 30 statement labeled as “urgent,” the exarchate voiced their solidarity with the clerics, who serve in the city of Berdyansk, in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region.

The priests are Father Ivan Levytskyi, who serves as abbot of the Nativity of the Holy Theotokos parish, and Father Bohdan Geleta, who assists at the parish.

They were detained several days ago for allegedly housing explosives with the intention to commit “guerilla” activities against the Russian army.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture, Russia, Ukraine, Violence

(WSJ) Gun Death Rate Nears Three-Decade High, With Men at Most Risk

The rate of gun deaths in the U.S. reached a 28-year high in 2021 after sharp increases in homicides of Black men and suicides among white men, an analysis of federal data showed.

A record 48,953 deaths in the U.S., or about 15 fatalities per 100,000 people, were caused by guns last year, said the analysis published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Network Open. Gun deaths declined in the 1990s, but have been rising steadily over the past decade and skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic, said researchers who conducted the analysis.

Gun-related deaths of women and children have risen, the analysis said, but men remain far more likely to die from guns.

“The disparities are so marked,” said Chris Rees, a co-author of the study and an assistant professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.

Dr. Rees and his colleagues analyzed U.S. firearm fatality rates from 1990 to 2021 using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 1.1 million people in the U.S. have died from guns since 1990, the analysis showed.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Men, Violence

National report on Church of England’s second past cases review published

The purpose of PCR2 was to identify both good practice and institutional failings in relation to how allegations of abuse have been handled, assess any identified risks and respond to these where appropriate, and to provide recommendations to the Church that will lead to improvements in its safeguarding work.

PCR2, believed to be the most extensive file review undertaken by the Church, was commissioned after an independent scrutiny team concluded that the original Past Cases Review (PCR) in 2007 was not a thorough process with particular criticism of lack of survivor engagement. PCR2 was carried out by independent reviewers across all 42 dioceses, as well as Lambeth and Bishopthorpe Palaces and the National Safeguarding Team (NST).

The review has found 383 new cases which are now all being actively managed by local safeguarding leads under the House of Bishops guidance. These are cases that were identified by independent reviewers as requiring further assessment by today’s safeguarding standards and, where necessary, further action.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(CBS) FBI rescues more than 200 trafficking victims, including 84 children, in “Operation Cross Country”

Law enforcement across the country rescued more than 200 sex trafficking victims, including 84 children, in a nationwide sweep dubbed “Operation Cross Country,” the FBI announced Monday. The youngest victim was 11 years old.

Authorities located 84 victims of child sex trafficking, as well as 37 children that were actively missing during the campaign, the FBI said. Law enforcement officers also located 141 adult victims of human trafficking.

In 2021, more than half of all trafficking victims in the U.S. were minors, according to the Human Trafficking Institute. In a news release Monday, FBI Director Christopher Wray called sex trafficking “among the most heinous crimes” the agency encounters.

Read it all.

Posted in Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Sexuality, Violence

(C of E) Championing Just-Ice in Cheshire

Just-Ice is an innovative social enterprise that combines a love of ice-cream with a desire to provide sympathetic employment to survivors of modern slavery.

Situated in the heart of Poynton, a leafy suburb in Cheshire, Just-Ice is helping to raise awareness of modern slavery amongst Poynton’s school children, church, and wider community as well as employing several survivors of modern slavery. It is a brilliant example of a group of Christians taking action and could be mirrored in other communities across the country.

Jo Rodman, the founder of Just-Ice Poynton, was considering a vocation in ordained ministry when she heard about a Christian couple in Derby who had turned their passion for ice cream into a thriving social enterprise. She was excited about starting a similar café in Poynton and was encouraged by the Director of Vocations at Chester Diocese to pursue the idea as part of a Distinctive Deacon role. Distinctive Deacons have a strong call to an outward-looking and community-minded ministry. They often have a particular concern for issues of poverty and justice.

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Posted in Church of England, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Law & Legal Issues, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

(NYT front page) The story of one Kentucky man who built a big house with a bunker, entered politics, and ended up having his giant residence attacked and his daughter killed

Jordan, 32, told her father she had come to feel unsafe at the house. In February of this year, she was hired by a law firm in Lexington and planned to move as soon as possible to an apartment in the city. “She must have sensed that she was being watched,” he said.

Someone had been watching, marking the house’s entry points and taking detailed notes on the family’s movements. Early on the morning of Feb. 22, prosecutors say, the watcher, Shannon V. Gilday, a 23-year-old former soldier who lived in the Cincinnati suburbs, climbed up to a second-floor balcony and began his attack.

“He stood and looked at me without any emotions, like he was programmed,” Mr. Morgan said of the moment he first encountered Mr. Gilday in the foyer. At that point, Jordan was dead.

Now Mr. Morgan was the target.

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Children, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Psychology, Science & Technology, State Government, Violence

(Church times) C of E asks abuse-survivors for advice on safeguarding

A national survey has been launched by the Church of England to gauge the views of victims and survivors of abuse on the development and implementation of its safeguarding structure.

Questions in the 15-minute survey, published on the C of E website on Tuesday, are largely multiple-choice, including what might motivate a respondent to participate or engage with the safeguarding work of the Church; barriers or challenges to this; the importance of varying types of participation, e.g. use of language, listening, and diversity; and how the Church should “recognise and value” this engagement.

Another question asks: “How can the Church ensure that any survivor engagement activity does not retraumatise or negatively affect you?” Beneath this is a list of “areas which are considered as being important by survivors currently engaging with the Church”.

These are: protecting rights of confidentiality, privacy, and anonymity; considering personal needs and triggers; “preventing and challenging certain attitudes that have the potential to harm and retraumatise”; being fully informed; care and human connection; setting clear boundaries and a trusted working relationship with church staff; “tackling any unfair treatment promptly and sensitively”; and feeling welcomed, listened to, and supported.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(RNS) US houses of worship increase security after shootings

The Rev. Steven Marsh never thought he would see the day his church in Laguna Woods, California — a town of 16,500 populated largely by retirees — would be spending $20,000 a month for security.

Then a gunman opened fire on May 15 during a luncheon at Geneva Presbyterian Church, where Marsh is senior pastor, killing one and injuring five other members of a Taiwanese congregation that met there. Officials said the man, who was motivated by political hatred against Taiwan, chained the church’s doors shut and hid firebombs inside before shooting at the gathering of elderly church members.

Houses of worship are meant to be places of shelter, reflection and peace, where strangers are welcome. But the recent string of high-profile mass shootings in the U.S. is a reminder violence can happen anywhere, prompting some faith leaders to ramp up security.

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Posted in Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Violence

C of E Statement on the Telford Inquiry report

The publication of the report of the public inquiry into child sex abuse in Telford, demands a response from all organisations working with children and young people. Over a thousand girls, across decades, were subject to Child Sexual Exploitation. Not only were signs ignored, but victims went unheard and were often themselves blamed.

Church leaders and representatives can be reluctant to comment publicly on the safeguarding shortcomings of other institutions, quite simply because of the Church’s own failures to protect those who are vulnerable or to respond well to survivors and victims. But we must speak up.

There is no doubt that victims and survivors were badly failed and we should all be asking what we can learn from this important inquiry and how we can better protect children and young people in our communities.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

‘I urge Anglicans to pray for peace in Sri Lanka’ – Archbishop Welby’s message to Church of Ceylon

As this crisis worsens, I call on the Anglican Communion to pray fervently for peace and for all the people of Sri Lanka. It is only a few years since the end of a catastrophic civil war; this crisis is a reminder that reconciliation is indispensable for future stability. Reconciliation involves justice in the economy as well as healing of memories. May God bring

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Sri Lanka, Violence

(BBC) Sri Lanka: President Rajapaksa to resign after palace stormed

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has announced he will step down after protesters stormed his official residence and set the prime minister’s house on fire.

Neither the PM nor the president were in the buildings.

Hundreds of thousands descended on the capital Colombo, calling for Mr Rajapaksa to resign after months of protests over economic mismanagement.

Mr Rajapaksa will step down on 13 July. PM Wickremesinghe has agreed to resign.

Parliamentary speaker Mahinda Abeywardana said the president decided to step down “to ensure a peaceful handover of power”.

Read it all.

Posted in Asia, Politics in General, Sri Lanka, Violence

(NYT front page) Troubling Signals, Yet Still Cleared to Buy Guns

The suspect in the shooting, Robert E. Crimo III, 21, had drawn police attention more than once, and despite warnings about his troubling behavior, had gotten a firearm license and bought several guns.

How a young man who had sent troubling signals managed to end up with a semiautomatic rifle in Illinois is a question that is haunting not only the survivors of Monday’s deadly massacre in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb. It is also a question of federal importance, coming just days after President Biden signed into law the most significant gun legislation passed in decades.

As details of Mr. Crimo’s past continued to emerge, and as a judge ordered him held without bail on murder charges on Wednesday, it remained unclear whether the horrific episode revealed weaknesses in state restrictions on guns, or in the limits of even potent safeguards in a system that ultimately relies on the judgments of people — the authorities, families, observers.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Psychology, State Government, Violence

(Local Paper) Senate gun bill supported by Lindsey Graham addresses Charleston loophole

The Senate’s bipartisan gun safety bill, which has the backing of South Carolina’s senior Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, includes a pair of provisions that would address two issues of tremendous importance in the Palmetto State:

1. Closing the so-called “Charleston loophole” that allowed a young white supremacist to buy a gun on a technicality before going on a hate-fueled rampage inside a downtown Charleston church in 2015, and

2. Expanding the definition that determines which domestic abusers are barred from getting guns, an issue of significance in a state that ranks sixth-worst in the nation for women killed by men.

Graham was one of 14 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who joined all 48 Democrats and two independents in advancing the bill June 21 for debate.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Senate, Violence

(Local Paper front page) How Polly Sheppard, a survivor of the Emanuel mass shooting that occurred 7 years ago today, carries on

It doesn’t take long before the first embrace. And then Polly Sheppard greets another of the students, then another.

This group of young evangelicals, affiliated with the parachurch ministry Cru, is here at Emanuel AME Church to learn more about the 2015 mass shooting, visit the sanctuary and offer their prayers. They have just watched Brian Tetsuro Ivie’s documentary “Emanuel,” and they recognize Sheppard, who is visiting the church grounds, where a memorial soon will be erected.

The exchange between this survivor of the attack and the Cru crew is polite, warm, engaging.

Because that’s how the magnanimous Sheppard operates. Mostly, she sees the good in people. She’s ready with a smile….

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, History, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Violence

(NYT front page) Senators Agree On Framework For Gun Safety

Senate negotiators announced on Sunday that they had struck a bipartisan deal on a narrow set of gun safety measures with sufficient support to move through the evenly divided chamber, a significant step toward ending a yearslong congressional impasse on the issue.

The agreement, put forth by 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats and endorsed by President Biden and top Democrats, includes enhanced background checks to give authorities time to check the juvenile and mental health records of any prospective gun buyer under the age of 21 and a provision that would, for the first time, extend to dating partners a prohibition on domestic abusers having guns.

It would also provide funding for states to enact so-called red-flag laws that allow authorities to temporarily confiscate guns from people deemed to be dangerous, as well as money for mental health resources and to bolster safety and mental health services at schools.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Politics in General, President Joe Biden, Senate, Violence

(Reuters) ISIS affiliate suspected of R Catholic church massacre, Nigeria says

Nigerian security officials suspect extremists from Islamic State’s affiliate in west Africa were behind an attack on a Catholic church last weekend that killed dozens.

Forty people are now thought to have died after gunmen stormed St Francis Catholic church in Owo, Ondo State, on Sunday, and 61 survivors are still being treated in hospital, according to local authorities. The total is double an earlier estimate.

Nigeria’s National Security Council said on Thursday that the attack was the work of the Islamic State West Africa Province (Iswap) group, apparently reinforcing fears that the militants, who have been restricted to the north-east for many years, are looking to expand their influence and reach to other parts of the country. Ondo, in the south-west, has long been considered one of the safer parts of the country.

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Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Nigeria, Parish Ministry, Pentecost, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Terrorism, Violence

(Guardian) Archbp Justin Welby–‘Is a world without violent conflict really possible?’

The effort we are rightly making to support Ukraine in defending itself against aggression needs to be matched by efforts towards negotiation, dialogue, reconciliation and peace. You cannot have one without the other. Our challenge is to put in place the infrastructures of reconciliation and the architecture of peacebuilding that enable disagreement to happen robustly, but not violently.

In a culture that often expects instant results and gratification, this work does not happen overnight. There is no “kiss and make up” moment. More often, there is the gradual transformation – sometimes over generations – of enmity and hostility to respect and trust. I clearly remember a leader in Northern Ireland being interviewed on the radio in the early summer of 1998, a few weeks after the signing of the Good Friday agreement. He was asked whether reconciliation had been “achieved”, and responded that the idea that something called reconciliation could be achieved in weeks, after 30 years of the Troubles and several centuries of bitterness, was absurd.

Deep wounds take a long time to become scars. Each of us carries our own pain, which makes it difficult to apologise and to forgive where we have wronged and been wronged. When we look towards reconciliation, we must also recognise – and have compassion for – our own conflicted and hurting hearts. Reconciliation is often risky and always costly – but it is less costly than the alternative.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology, Violence

(Local Paper) 10 people hospitalized in Memorial Day mass shooting on Charleston’s East Side

A pregnant woman, a 17-year-old girl and a Charleston police officer were among 10 people hospitalized after a mass shooting at a late-night Memorial Day party in the city’s East Side neighborhood, authorities said.

Four people remained in critical condition the afternoon of May 31, Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds said at a news conference. No deaths have been reported, and police indicated the pregnant woman did not lose her baby.

A police officer came under fire after responding to a noise complaint around 11:40 p.m. at 41 South St., Reynolds said.

Two bullets struck his police cruiser as he took cover and called for backup, Reynolds said. The officer was not shot, but he suffered minor injuries from shattered glass. At least one bullet was found lodged in the headrest of the squad car, police said.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(NYT front page) Days of Funerals Begin in Uvalde, with a Plea to Celebrate Life

Amerie Jo Garza, 10, a jokester who made the honor roll. Tuesday, 2 p.m.

Maite Yuleana Rodriguez, 10, who excelled in school and learned how to sew from YouTube videos. Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Irma Garcia, 48, and Joe Garcia, 50, the parents of Lyliana, Alysandra, Cristian and Jose. Wednesday, 10 a.m.

Jose Manuel Flores Jr., 10, called Josecito and Baby Jose, who collected toy trucks and played Little League. Wednesday, 2 p.m.

A week after a gunman stormed into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, funerals began on Tuesday for the 19 young students and two teachers killed — as well as the husband of a victim whose fatal heart attack was attributed by his relatives to his overwhelming grief. Stretching into mid-June, the coming days will be packed with services, visitations, rosaries and burials, memorializing each of the victims whose deaths are the sum of a community’s agonizing loss.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Parish Ministry, Violence

(NPR) A Uvalde coroner is haunted by identifying the bodies of children and an old friend

When they entered the school, he and the medical examiner found that the first responders had moved the bodies – separating the deceased from the wounded – in order to get to those who needed medical assistance.

“So when we got there, there were children in four rooms – the initial two rooms plus two other rooms,” Diaz said, adding that they “went room by room getting the plan together on what we were going to need to make sure that we identified everybody correctly.”

Diaz did not describe the scene in detail. Instead, he said, “It’s something you never want to see and it’s something you don’t, you cannot, prepare for. It’s a picture that’s going to stay in my head forever, and that’s where I’d like for it to stay.”

He says he has no intention of ever sharing exactly what he saw.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Violence

(CT) Nigerian Christians Protest Deborah Samuel’s Death

Thousands of churches across Nigeria demanded an end to sectarian killings on Sunday, horrified by the mob assault on a female university student accused of blasphemy. But fearful of more violence, their approach differed significantly—by geography.

“The overwhelming majority of our churches in the south participated, many going to the streets in peaceful protest,” said Testimony Onifade, senior special assistant to the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). “Gathering together, we condemned this gruesome act and demanded the government identify, arrest, and prosecute the culprits.”

But in the north, where Muslims represent the majority of Nigerians, John Hayab described 20 minutes set aside to pray for divine intervention. The president of CAN’s Kaduna state chapter lauded the “solemn” ceremony observed by all northern denominations, amid a ban on protests by local authorities as some Muslims had threatened counterdemonstrations.

Instead, a select group of 120 Christian leaders gathered in a Kaduna city church, guarded by police and security agencies.

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Posted in Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Violence

(NYT) The deadliest U.S. school shooting in a decade shakes a rural Texas city

UVALDE, Texas — Anguished families waited late into the muggy Texas night on Tuesday to find out whether their children were among those killed by an 18-year-old gunman’s rampage at an elementary school in the city of Uvalde hours earlier.

Armed with multiple weapons, the gunman, who attended a nearby high school, killed at least 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School, the authorities said, in the deadliest school shooting since 20 children and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., 10 years ago. Several other children were injured in the shooting at Robb Elementary, including at least one 10-year-old who remained in critical condition at a nearby hospital.

At least one teacher was among the dead, and the gunman, whom officials identified as Salvador Ramos, died at the scene. A 66-year-old woman who officials said was the gunman’s grandmother had been shot at her home in Uvalde shortly before the massacre and was also in critical condition.

Robb Elementary lies in a rural area dotted with desert willows and bigtooth maples, about 85 miles west of San Antonio. Census data show that more than 40 percent of people in the neighborhood around the school have lived in the same house for at least 30 years.

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Posted in Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Violence

(CT) Russell Moore on the SBC Report on Sexual Abuse–This Is the Southern Baptist Apocalypse

Someone asked me a few weeks ago what I expected from the third-party investigation into the handling of sexual abuse by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee. I said I didn’t expect to be surprised at all. How could I be? I lived through years with that entity. I was the one who called for such an investigation in the first place.

And yet, as I read the report, I found that I could not swipe the screen to the next page because my hands were shaking with rage. That’s because, as dark a view as I had of the SBC Executive Committee, the investigation uncovers a reality far more evil and systemic than I imagined it could be.

The conclusions of the report are so massive as to almost defy summation. It corroborates and details charges of deception, stonewalling, and intimidation of victims and those calling for reform. It includes written conversations among top Executive Committee staff and their lawyers that display the sort of inhumanity one could hardly have scripted for villains in a television crime drama. It documents callous cover-ups by some SBC leaders and credible allegations of sexually predatory behavior by some leaders themselves, including former SBC president Johnny Hunt (who was one of the only figures in SBC life who seemed to be respected across all of the typical divides).

And then there is the documented mistreatment by the Executive Committee of a sexual abuse survivor, whose own story of her abuse was altered to make it seem that her abuse was a consensual “affair”—resulting, as the report corroborates, in years of living hell for her.

For years, leaders in the Executive Committee said a database—to prevent sexual predators from quietly moving from one church to another, to a new set of victims—had been thoroughly investigated and found to be legally impossible, given Baptist church autonomy. My mouth fell open when I read documented proof in the report that these very people not only knew how to have a database, they already had one.

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Posted in Anthropology, Baptist, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

(NPR) Chris Singleton’s mom was killed in a racist attack in Charleston. Now he’s helping Buffalo

SINGLETON: How many other people are thinking this kind of thing? It’s scary, especially because I’m trying to stop this stuff from happening. And it’s kind of demoralizing, honestly, you know, when it continues to happen.

HANSEN: But Singleton says he won’t let another racist attack shake his faith. He’s now headed to Buffalo to speak with schools where children have lost family members. He remembers the confusion he felt as a college student, robbed of his mother and left to raise his two siblings.

SINGLETON: And so if I could just be of any support to them, just sharing the things that have helped me out, with realizing it’s OK to cry.

HANSEN: Singleton still hopes he can change even one misguided mind by setting an example as a Black man who’s lost a loved one to racism but does not hate. He was supposed to visit Buffalo schools last year but couldn’t make it. The suspect would have still been in high school. Singleton worries he missed an opportunity.

SINGLETON: If he would have realized that everybody has a family and they’re loved and we didn’t choose the very thing that he hates us for, I hope it would change his heart.

HANSEN: It’s a message he shares during public talks.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(RNS) Buffalo Pastors Respond to Loss of Community ‘Pillars’

Soon after a white 18-year-old shooter targeted Black customers of a community grocery store in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, Denise Walden, executive director of Voice Buffalo, a social justice and equity organization, was coordinating clergy to offer grief counseling and help families immediately and, she hopes, for the foreseeable future.

She was also grieving personally: She knows the families of most of the 10 people killed in the massacre.

“This is going to take more than a week, more than a month, more than six months,” said Walden, a member of the clergy team at First Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, a predominantly Black congregation in Buffalo. “We need long-term solutions and support.”

Walden’s 25-year-old organization is a local chapter of Live Free, a Christian organization that has in recent years focused on preventing community violence, which now has new questions to answer, Walden said, about “the hate that caused this person to come into this community and create such a horrible, violent violation to our community.”

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Posted in Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Statement Regarding Buffalo Shooting From Mother Emanuel Ame Church In Charleston S.C.

Read it all:

“To my beloved brothers and sisters in Buffalo, New York. It is with a heavy heart that I pen these words to you, your families, and the surrounding community. As the senior pastor of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston S.C., we can relate to your hurt, pain, and anger; the congregation of Mother Emanuel was in the same place almost seven years ago.

For the last six years, I have personally watched how God continued to strengthen our community and I know that He will do the same for yours. However, it does not negate the reality of your pain, and the testimony of the empty seat of your loved ones. Please know that as you mourn, we mourn with you, and will be here for you if you need anything. In closing, I leave you with the following words that are found in Psalm 121 verses one and two, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

May the God of Heaven continue to strengthen you today, tomorrow, and always. In The Strength of The Lord

-Pastor Eric S C Manning

Posted in * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(BBC) Sri Lanka protests: Leaders under pressure as anger at economic crisis boils over

Security forces are out in force across Sri Lanka with orders to shoot looters on sight amid continuing protests at the government’s handling of a devastating economic crisis.

Despite a nationwide curfew, there was a second night of arson attacks.

Shops near Colombo were torched, as well as a resort owned by the son of ex-Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The ex-PM is holed up in a naval base after resigning when public fury erupted over fuel and food shortages.

At least nine people have been killed and about 200 injured in unrest since Monday.

Read it all.

Posted in Politics in General, Sri Lanka, Violence

(NPR) Firearm-related homicide rate skyrockets amid stresses of the pandemic, the CDC says

The rate at which Americans were killed in gun homicides leapt by nearly 35% in 2020 to the highest level in more than 25 years, according to new research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Amid the pandemic and recession that followed, gun homicide rates grew most among groups that were already at higher risk, researchers found — including people in poor areas, young men, and Black people.

In 2020, the firearm homicide rate was 6.1 per 100,000 Americans — up from 4.6 a year earlier.

“These findings underscore the importance of comprehensive approaches that can stop violence now and prevent future deaths,” said Dr. Debra Houry, the acting principal deputy director of the CDC.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Violence

Archbishop of Canterbury apologises to Indigenous peoples of Canada

The Archbishop of Canterbury has apologised for the “terrible crime” of the Anglican Church’s involvement in Canada’s residential schools – and for the Church of England’s “grievous sins” against the Indigenous peoples of Canada.

The Archbishop spent this weekend visiting Indigenous Canadian reserves, meeting with Indigenous leaders and Anglicans, and listening to residential school survivors, as part of a five-day visit to Canada.

Addressing survivors and Indigenous elders in Prince Albert on Sunday, the Archbishop said: “I am so sorry that the Church participated in the attempt – the failed attempt, because you rose above it and conquered it – to dehumanise and abuse those we should have embraced as brothers and sisters.”

He added: “I am more than humbled that you are even willing to attempt to listen to this apology, and to let us walk with you on the long journey of renewal and reconciliation.”

The Archbishop is visiting Canada to repent and atone for the Church of England’s legacy of colonialism and the harm done to Indigenous peoples – and to share in the Anglican Church of Canada’s reconciliation work with Indigenous, Inuit and Métis communities.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop of Canterbury, Canada, Children, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Violence

(Church Times) Conflict likely to get worse, say Ukrainian church leaders

Churches in Ukraine have advised citizens to be ready for an intensification of Russia’s invasion, as representatives of the Council of Europe condemned the destruction of religious sites, and pressure continued for Russian Orthodox leaders to call for a ceasefire in the two-month war.

“The war that Russia has imposed on us and on the whole world did not begin with missiles and bombs — it began with deception, untruth, and lies,” the head of Ukraine’s independent Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Epiphany (Dumenko), said in a Sunday homily.

“The Lord is now showing us how we must resist with the testimony of truth. Evil is evil, not just an alternative viewpoint, and war is war, not just some conflict. Rapists, looters, and murderers are criminals, and what they are perpetrating is a genocide of the Ukrainian people.”

Metropolitan Epiphany was speaking as evidence emerged that Russian forces had launched a new offensive along a 300-mile front line in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine. Moscow confirmed on Monday that its shells and missiles had struck more than 1000 targets.

The Metropolitan said that Ukrainians knew from experience that Russia had long concealed “evil plans to restore the tyranny of a rotten, overthrown empire”, and that the divine commandment to love neighbours did not mean “loving the evil they do”.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine, Violence