Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, released this statement regarding the shooting deaths of five people – including two young children – at a home in Rock Hill on April 7, 2021:
With aching hearts, we grieve with all of our sisters and brothers in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where gun violence has ended the lives of multiple people in a mass shooting.
Five people, including two young children, were shot to death Wednesday at a home in Rock Hill, and a sixth person was also shot and wounded. The alleged shooter later took his own life.
We surround in prayer the family, friends and loved ones of all whose lives were lost, and we cry out to God to surround each and every person affected with comfort, healing and peace.
A prayer vigil is scheduled for noon Sunday at India Hook United Methodist Church.
As United Methodists committed to social justice and opposed to gun violence, we mourn the members of our own community who have become the victims of such gun violence. In our mourning and grief, let us stand up, and with unified voices, shout:
This must end.
And then, let’s work together in our churches and our communities to do something about the reality of gun violence in our midst. It doesn’t have to be this way.
As we each determine what our next faithful step should be, may our actions toward peace and reconciliation be a witness to our resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ, who has defeated evil and conquered death.
We should have hope and confidence that we can make a positive difference for the sake of Christ, because, as Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7, “the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
Join me as we pray for all victims and survivors of gun violence and their families, for healing and for compassion. And let us take the next faithful step toward building a future that reflects the glory and peace of God’s kingdom.
Grace and peace,
L. Jonathan Holston