Pastoral Letter from Bishop Allende

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of all mercy and the God of all consolation, who comforts us in all our sorrows so that we can comfort others in their sorrows with the consolation we ourselves have received from God.”  [2 Corinthians 1:3-4]

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

Grace and peace in the name of Jesus.

Like most, if not all, of you, I mourn the heartbreaking loss of human life because of the gun violence in Las Vegas on Sunday night, October 1, 2017. It is at times like these that we turn to the word of God in Holy Scripture in an effort to make sense of the actions of one individual.

In 2013, the ELCA Conference of Bishops wrote a pastoral letter in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook. As it was back then, the document is just as valuable for us now. It also contains some valuable resources that I commend to you as you process this recent tragedy. You may link to the letter by clicking HERE. Please share with anyone who may be interested.

We pray for strength in the days ahead, that where this world groans in grief and pain, the Holy Spirit may lead us to bear witness to God’s light and life.

In loving care,

Bishop Abraham D. Allende

(For a PDF of this pastoral letter, click here.)


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    1. Rev. Wally Anderson says

      Thank you, Bis. Allende, for your reminders that we need to continually engage in the fight to proclaim the Gospel through acts of love and letters to our governing authorities. I would like to also add my sentiments to yours.

      While we, as Christians, deplore the senseless violence and bloodshed in Las Vegas and numerous other places around the United States, we are continually reminded of the need of all people for repentance and the redemptive power of the Gospel to bring about a change of heart regarding guns as a solution to our inner unhappiness and turmoil. We are also reminded of the importance of the separation of Church and State, that although we have a constitutional right to bear arms, we also have a humanitarian responsibility to respect the right to life for others, especially those who have no means of preparing themselves for our human tendency to violent outbursts. We are still slaves of our sinful nature every day.
      It behooves us, I think, to implore our governing authorities to protect us from the business interests that put profit ahead of reason, from political interests that put constitutional rights ahead of accountability for gun ownership, and to set reasonable limits on the availability and accessibility to weapons designed distinctly for military use. Sportsmanship, personal safety, and the right to bear arms are not without the need for limitations applied by the rule of law, the greatest weapon against the weakness of the human will.
      As Christians and representatives of the Church, we should never seek to pit the Kingdom of the Right against the Kingdom of the Left, nor to elevate ourselves above the potential of falling into dreadful sin ourselves. But it is the responsibility of the governing authorities of this world to take leadership and act decisively to preserve the peace and safety of its citizens as much as humanly possible against the perceived rights of a few who choose to unleash unwarranted hatred and violence upon those who are least responsible for their upset and dissatisfaction with life.
      As Christians we continually pray for God’s intervention in the lives and actions of those who feel it necessary to reward the world for their unhappiness with pain, death, and destruction. We pray for those who have suffered unmercifully at the hands of those who have little concern for the lives of those they are afflicting. We pray for those who are tormented internally and externally to the point that they resort to acting out in violent ways. We pray for those who respond, at the risk of their own lives, to protect and preserve those who are victims and those who are being victimized by others who feel they have a right to make others suffer the way they feel they are suffering. And we pray for those who listen in order the pain in others before it erupts into violence, senseless slaughter, and sometimes, into suicide.
      We should not revel so much in the fact that people rose to the occasion and cared for the wounded regardless of race, creed, or religion. Instead we should strive harder to demonstrate our ability to care for all people without the need for eruptions of violence to inspire us to our better natures. Then our prayers will not be pleas for mercy in the midst of chaos but rather greater charity in the midst of human need, by the grace of God.

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