Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

Ash Wednesday, a day in which we remember that “from dust we came and dust we shall return” brought forth an all-too-real reality of this statement as the tragedy unfolded at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. As reported by Fox News host Shepard Smith, yesterday’s deadly event increased the number of fatal, active school shootings to 25 since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. I join with my fellow bishops as we seek Jesus during these times of grief and mourning. 

Our prayers go out to the families of those killed and wounded, as well as the students, staff, and families.

In these times we may ask, “What should we do in the face of tragedy?” A former church member from my time in Cleveland would often break into song, one I feel most appropriate in these moments, ” Hold on to God’s unchanging hand…”

Lord Have Mercy, Christ Have mercy,

Bishop Julius C. Trimble

UMC bishops mourn victims of Florida school shootings

In the wake of the school shooting in Florida, the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church has issued a statement of grief, mourning the victims of the shootings and called for prayers of repentance from the culture of death and cycle of violence.

The statement issued by Florida Area Resident Bishop Ken Carter, who is also the incoming president of the Council of Bishops, reads as follows:

"On this Ash Wednesday, our services announced the biblical imperative to"repent and believe the gospel."  In light of today's shootings, we repent from our participation in a culture of death, we acknowledge the harm we do to others, and we claim the power of the cross that breaks the cycle of violence and retaliation.  We also grieve with the communities of Parkland and Coral Springs, Florida, in the deaths of seventeen persons and the wounding of many others on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. A number of surrounding United Methodist Churches have students at this school, and our connection will support their healing ministry in the days ahead.”

For ways that you and your church can assist in responding to violence in our communities, please visit