Dear Members and Friends of First Unitarian,

We write to you in shared sorrow, following the violent rampage that took place in North York on Monday afternoon. Since then, like many or most of you, we have been following the news with feelings of shock and anguish. If you are struggling with your feelings in the aftermath of this event, know that you are not alone.

Along with feelings of grief and sadness for the loss of life, many people today are angry that this act of violence was likely rooted in misogyny. Once again, we are called to confront the reality of hate in our society, and work toward justice and equality for all. We are aware, too, of the hidden toll of loneliness and isolation among vulnerable individuals, and the need to renew our resolve to strengthen the fabric of community.

We are deeply aware today of the fragility of life itself, the precious gift that is each ordinary day, and the reality of similar violence that takes place every day around the globe. Today we are reminded that we are part of a connected human family that longs for a peaceful and loving world. As we move through our feelings of sorrow together, may we open our hearts in the spirit of healing, love and peace...knowing that we are connected to each other, and to all life, always.

We leave you, below, with Jan Richardson's powerful "Blessing in a Time of Violence."

With love,

Shawn and Lynn

“Blessing in a Time of Violence”

Which is to say
this blessing
is always.

Which is to say
there is no place
this blessing
does not long
to cry out
in lament,
to weep its words
in sorrow,
to scream its lines
in sacred rage.

Which is to say
there is no day
this blessing ceases
to whisper
into the ear
of the dying,
the despairing,
the terrified.

Which is to say
there is no moment
this blessing refuses
to sing itself
into the heart
of the hated
and the hateful,
the victim
and the victimizer,
with every last
ounce of hope
it has.

Which is to say
there is none
that can stop it,
none that can
halt its course,
none that will
still its cadence,
none that will
delay its rising,
none that can keep it
from springing forth
from the mouths of us
who hope,
from the hands of us
who act,
from the hearts of us
who love,
from the feet of us
who will not cease
our stubborn, aching
marching, marching

until this blessing
has spoken
its final word,
until this blessing
has breathed
its benediction
in every place,
in every tongue:

Peace.
Peace.
Peace.

                  — Jan Richardson