Mass Shooting at My Unitarian Church in Knoxville Today

Terrible news this morning. Some man entered our church with a shotgun and started shooting

I was not there this morning as we had friends visiting from out of town. But we seriously considered attending with our friends. This is such a shock to the community here. Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church is such a welcoming community. Though it’s decidedly more liberal than East Tennessee as a whole, we have very good relations with the rest of the community. I don’t understand why anybody would do this. All we know right now is that the suspect was not connected to the church in any way. I have no idea if the man had some sort of political or cultural agenda (TVUUC had just put up a sign welcoming gays to the congregation), or if it’s just some lunatic acting for no reason at all.

Please keep the members our church community in your thoughts and prayers today. This is such a shock to our congregation and our community as a whole.



  1. This is horrible horrible news. Will keep your friends in my thoughts. I am at a loss to understand why people can actually go out & do this to innocent people.

  2. How terrible. My God. I am on the prayer wave as of this moment. I belong to a group of madwomen in black (nuns) who can pray the paint off walls. I have forwarded your cry for prayer to them, Elrod. Hang in there. In such an aftermath, people dont remember analysis, dont remember hypotheticals. Kindness does register. Every bit of that is pouring toward you all. If you want to talk about this with someone who's been there, Elrod, contact me privately. Joe, our Ed in Chief always knows where I am. Holly too and Shaun also. I am so sorry this has happened to your community.


  3. Wow. That's awful. You've got to just be in shock right now…

  4. Know that you and yours are in the thoughts and prayers of some “Jimmy Carter Baptists” down here in South Mississippi. Let's hope the shooter wasn't trying to “make a statement.” If he was, the manner in which y'all respond will make a greater statement, I expect.

  5. What a tragedy…

    Good, decent, fair minded individuals are indisputably the majority of this world but still horrendous events like this happen. Keep the faith Elrod.

  6. Your congregation is in the thoughts and prayers of community members of the West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church (western suburbs of Cleveland, OH). I am an active member there, if there is anything our congregation can do to show solidarity and support to yours, please let me know (I am subscribing to comments for this thread).

  7. This looks like homophobia at its worst. It exists in millions on a much lesser scale though.

    This appears like the unfortunate marriage of irrational fear and vigilantism.

    So sorry.

  8. How horrible! How traumatized everyone in the community must be… My thoughts and prayers are with you and your community. Peace be with you.

  9. Wishing you and the community well from a fellow Tennessean. Or at least I think of myself still as a Tennessean after 8 years there.

  10. I'm so sorry. I've been to your church when I was a grad student at UTK. Please post if your church needs anything.

  11. Terrible news elrod. Glad you and yours are well. Best thoughts heading your way.

  12. dear elrod: Post trauma protocol checklist is in your email box as of now. People at critical incident and disaster sites say it is immensely helpful.

    hang in there, we've called in the linebacker angels

  13. I think the political second guessing can wait until we know more about the tragedy. Comforting the hurt and grieving is the absolute first priority. I'm terrible at that though, all the words seem so vastly inadequate and superficial given the event. My thoughts are with you though, as small as that is.

  14. Elrod,
    It's odd how much more real a tragedy becomes when someone you know, if only by comment name, is involved. I heard about this from news reports, thought how tragic this was, but reading your post brought it home like a punch in the stomach.

    My thoughts are with you and your congregation.

  15. Our prayers are with you and your church family

  16. It does show how small and interconnected the world today is.

    Runi's reaction was the same as mine – it seems so much more real when someone you know, even via nothing more than a blog and comments, is involved.

    My thoughts go out to the victims and their families.

  17. More — leave it to the Religious Left, which has been quiet and civil in this country for the past several years, to be a target of hatred. DO NOT CHANGE YOUR MISSION.

  18. This is such a shock. I'm a UU in northeast TN, and my heart goes out to your congregation, the victims and their families, and especially to the children whose lives will be, in part, shaped by what they've witnessed.

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