My Dear Westhope Community,

         God’s deep peace and strength be known by you in this time.  Over the last couple of days I have been searching for words to say to you with regards to the violent attack on the people in the nightclub in Orlando. I am not sure I have the best words but I feel like I want to say something.  First let me encourage all of us to pray for the family and friends of those involved in the violence.  Second let me encourage us to continue to work for peace and work to actively engage God’s vision of how to see the world and the people in it.  Violence is never an answer and is not God’s way.  Neither is hate or bigotry or sexism…all of which we see play out in these occasions of violence and all of which I hope that we can continue to condemn whenever and wherever we notice them.  Jesus consistently spoke of love and care of ‘the other’ as example of what it meant to follow him and participate in the kingdom of God.  The Good Samaritan, Love your neighbor as yourself and so many others remind us that we are to strive for caring and loving even in the face of violence.  May we continue to strive to be a light in this world and this valley where the Holy is known and where healing happens and where we stand for something different and More than what the culture around us does.  Deep blessings to you as we wrestle in our own ways with this latest incident of violence in our country and world.  I remain
      With you in communion,  Erik
If you want to know what the Presbyterian Church is doing to help you can look at this link.