Message from Bishop Wallace-Padgett: Cahaba Heights Church Shooting

June 17, 2022

Dear Friends,

Reports of violence are in the daily news. This time a church shooting occurred at the St. Stephens Episcopal Church, only 11 minutes from my home in Vestavia Hills, Alabama.

The best response I know for these all too frequent tragedies in our world is action.

  1. We act when we pray. Prayer is an action verb. We pray for the families of the three killed and the shooter. . . the persons who witnessed the violence . . . the St. Stephens Episcopal Church members and leaders . . . the Cahaba Heights community . . . the one who perpetuated the violence . . . and those victimized by violence in other places and ways.
  1. We act with our presence. I was reminded of the power of being present with others when sitting with a group of Cahaba Heights United Methodist Church members and clergy this morning. Their incoming pastor Rev. Stephen Benefield, Associate pastor Rev. Mickey Morgan and Ministry Health Coordinator for the Board of Ordained Ministry Rev. Sheri Ferguson convened a prayer meeting attended by several persons. We also are present when we send cards, texts, make phone calls, take meals to hurting people and participate in a multitude of other acts of care and support.
  1. We act by encouraging common sense behavior and legislation in our society. Though the specificity of what this means varies from person to person, there is a general desire for good judgment in gun laws. We promote this through communication with one another and legislators.

I encourage each of us to take these or other appropriate actions in response to the violence that has become increasingly prevalent in our society. Our actions make a difference!

As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.

Debra Wallace-Padgett
Resident Bishop
Holston and North Alabama Conferences

Discover, Develop and Deploy Spiritual Leaders to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.