Many of you have heard that a gunman fired upon an event at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, killing two parishioners and wounding another Thursday evening. The Rev. John Burruss, the rector at St. Stephen’s is well-known to the Diocese, having been ordained here and having served as Rector of Church of the Annunciation in Cordova and as Canon for Sustainable Ministries for the Diocese. John, Anne and their children are beloved friends and colleagues of many of us. John and Anne were out of the country when the shooting occurred and are trying to return to St. Stephen’s as soon as they can. Their children are safe with close friends.
You can read John’s Pastoral Reponse to the people of St. Stephen’s HERE.
The Episcopal Church is a tightly knit community and many of us have connections with St. Stephen’s and the Birmingham community beyond our connections with the Burruss family. Our hearts are heavy with grief for our friends in the Birmingham community. As members of the Body of Christ, we grieve when there is violence anywhere, and we continue to grieve recent violence in Chattanooga, Uvalde, Buffalo, and countless other places, including more than 120 homicides in Shelby County this year. We especially share the pain felt when the sacred space of a church is violated.
Please keep the Burruss family and St. Stephen’s in your prayers.