MARY TAYLOR MEMORIAL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
The Reverend Dr. Brian Bodt
|Pastor can be reached at
203-874-1982, or by
cell at 203-895-3753.
Dear Mary Taylor Memorial Church community,
This article was first posted in our weekly “Grace Notes” of March 4, 2018,
reflecting on the Parkland, Florida shootings of February 14, 2108:
For far too many times a man with an automatic rifle has killed innocent people, particularly in schools where innocent
children and teachers are seeking wisdom. With these murders, the safety that our children – and all children everywhere –
have a right to expect has been destroyed. Families have been devastated and faith in our leaders has been diminished.
None of us know exactly what to do in order for this scourge of wanton killing to end. But we all know we are not doing
enough to protect our children. Children everywhere in America know this. One of our parents shared with me that their child
had a “stomach ache” after the Parkland, Florida massacre. Knowing from experience that a “stomach ache” was code for
something else, the parent drilled down to find that their child was afraid to go to school that day.
A close clergy friend’s grandson asked his parents “Will you promise me I will be safe at school today?” No child,
anywhere, should have to ask that question. No mom, or dad or grandparent should ever have to answer such a horror-filled,
difficult to answer question. In our time, they have to hedge the answer or tell the honest truth: “No, I cannot make such a
At some point, we as parents, as grandparents, and as adults who love children whether or not we have biological children
– and who instinctively know that our responsibility is to protect our children – have to say “Enough is enough.” That point has,
as it has before, arrived. The thoughtful, emotion-fraught comments from some students in Florida after their traumatic ordeal
reveal leadership and inspiration that we so badly need. We fail in our duty if we do not act on their pleas. We fail in our
commitment to love them in concrete ways at this moment.
What can we do? In response to the Sutherland Springs, Texas church shooting of Sunday, November 5, 2017, our church
formed a Church Security Task Force and has begun to implement common-sense security protocols for our church campus
as well as consult with local law enforcement.
Change is hard. No one knows all the answers. I regret disappointing anyone who wished for me to have written or spoken
sooner. The problem is a complex weave of the proliferation of high capacity weapons, inconsistent mental health
assessment, and the waning of morality. “Thou shalt not murder” remains Commandment #6.
Each one of us must answer the question, “What will I do?” In addition to initiating the process and identifying the
committee for our security task force, I will stand with all children as they find ways – from walking from their classrooms to
appealing to legislators – to declare to the grown-ups in charge that “enough is enough.” I have, and will continue, to urge
every one of my elected officials, at every level of government, to vote for sensible gun control, which as I understand it would
include banning automatic weapons, so-called “bump stocks” and high capacity magazines.
I have, and will continue, to urge every one of my elected officials to vote for comprehensive mandatory background
checks for every gun purchase. I have, and will continue, to urge every one of my elected officials to include funding for mental
health screening and treatment. I will never knowingly vote for a candidate who takes money from organizations that do not
support sensible gun control. I will attend those events that advocate these changes.
And I will not demonize those who disagree with me. I will not impute motives to their behavior. I will not question their
patriotism or their commitment to the Constitution of these United States. And I will ask them not to question mine.
I will continue to pray for the end to this “sickness unto death” that is killing people, especially young people and their
teachers, and sapping our spirits and sense of community. I will pray, knowing that the answer to prayer is most often heard
in actions that reflect our prayers.
This is my response. As your pastor I ask, “What is your response?”
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Pastor Brian Bodt