Response to Nashville

We are once again reeling from a mass shooting. When one of these horrific but daily* events targets children, it captures more of our attention and leaves so many of us sorting through a wide variety of feelings.

We on the staff decided to share several of our voices today. This feels like it may better express some of the range of feelings and responses to this ongoing horror. These pieces were written yesterday in the immediate aftermath of the Nashville shooting.

— Rev. Roger Bertschausen, Interim Lead Minister

* One website estimates there have been 151 shootings in the U.S. in these first three months of 2023. Calling them daily is an understatement.


Anger, sadness, frustration, grief, disgust, numbness, confusion, anxiety, hopelessness…we hold all of this and more, together. Together we hold the complexity of this moment, and move through it in community. We grieve the lives lost to gun violence yesterday, like too many hundreds of thousands before them, and recognize that our deep and complex emotions cannot move us to complacency. They are all our children. And they deserve to live. As we grieve, may we also recognize that deep sorrow often coexists with abounding beauty and joy. It is okay to feel the realness of both — to experience the duality of being a human living on this earth — month to month, day to day, moment to moment, as we work to find our place in it all.

— Olivia Diercks, Interim Co-Music Director


It is okay to feel a million things or nothing at all, or to not know the name of what it feels like to take in yesterday’s news about yet another shooting, this time carried out by a transgender person. It’s a complicated thing to share an identity with someone who commits a school shooting. It is complicated to hold the grief for the victims as well as grief for a trans person violently killed by police–it may not even seem right to feel grief for the death of a person who was responsible for killing others. The narrative surrounding transness and the safety of children has already been convoluted and harmful, and there are voices attempting to describe this tragedy in ways that deepen that harm. There is a lot to hold as we process this news together, but there is room for it all.

— Nico Van Ostrand, Assistant Director of Religious Education


To be honest, I saw the news about this school shooting from Monday and didn’t really let it sink in. It was my day off, and I was busy. Plus, if I’m being even more honest, mass shootings have become so common place that they don’t even break through the noise. I just feel numb.

Fortunately, I got to work on Tuesday and listened to the complex heartbreak of my coworkers. I let my heart break with their broken hearts. Whether you find your hearts already broken or still needing to be broken, please know that you are not alone.

— Rev. Jack Gaede, Assistant Minister