Woodstock’s Congregational Unitarian Church to Memorialize Knoxville Victims Sunday

This press release has been received from Woodstock’a Congregational Unitarian Church:


WOODSTOCK—The Rev. Dan Larsen scrapped plans for a popular annual animal blessing service this Sunday. Instead he will call the Congregational Unitarian Church together in worship to memorialize the victims of the Knoxville church shooting and to affirm the liberal religious values and progressive social causes that evidently enraged the shooter.

Two people were killed and five more seriously or critically injured at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist church Sunday morning. The sacrificial blocking of the shooter by a church usher and the quick action in subduing the assailant prevented even more deaths.

Knoxville police now report that the shooter left behind a four page letter blaming the “liberal movement” for destroying America and ruining his life. The house also contained books by leading right wing television and radio commentators who have routinely inflamed passions against liberals. The Tennessee Valley Church is noted for its progressive stands on many issues and had recently played a leading role in advocating for the Gay and Lesbian communities.

“Unitarian Universalists with our long history standing resolutely for social justice are frequent targets of threats and hate crimes,” Larsen said, “We’ve had our share of nasty calls over the years. This time instead of crude threats or petty vandalism, blood has been shed. But as one commentator pointed out ‘it could be any UU Church in America.’ It could have happened as easily in Woodstock as in Knoxville. Our community needs to reflect on that and what it means.”

The 10:45 worship service will feature a Chalice Lighting by Hannah Rapp. Musical Director Thomas Steffens will present special music. Patrick Murfin will read an original poem. Rev. Larsen will reflect on the lives lost and common purposes for which they lived. The Congregation will be invited to share their thoughts and feelings.

The service is open not just to Unitarian Universalists but to all who value love and compassion and oppose a culture of hate and violence.

For more information call the church at 815 338-0731 or e-mail office@cucw.org.

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