Clergy and laity across the Diocese took active pastoral and advocacy roles today in the wake of the Orlando massacre. Pictured here, Grace R. Dyrness, vice president of Interfaith Communities United for Justice & Peace, addresses joint news conference co-sponsored by the Islamic Center of Southern California with Salam Al-Marayati, Jihad Turk, the Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints Pasadena, Nirinjan Khalsa and others.

Later, at the vigil outside the Islamic Center, several speakers offered comments. Bringing greetings from the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the Interrreligious Council of Southern California, Bob Williams, diocesan canon for community relations, said the following:

“The Orlando tragedy calls for two practical courses of action: banning assault weapons and rejecting baseless rhetoric.

“Gun violence is a public health crisis to which public officials must respond to increase public safety. Public opinion is clearly on the side of banning assault weapons, and public opinion is also on the side of affirming peaceful coexistence among diverse groups. Public will must now be galvanized to take action before another massacre or single shooting occurs. This is a matter of life-and-death importance, and it is high time for elected officials to achieve change.

“Public discourse needs serious attention at this time. We need enlightenment to replace hate speech, demagoguery, and incendiary rhetoric about building walls and excluding various cultural groups. Rather, we are about building bridges of understanding to overcome Islamophobia, homophobia, xenophobia and any other fears that beset our common life.

“True Islam is a peace-loving faith of exceptional achievement, including the founding of some of the world’s earliest universities and medical centers, and the prioritizing of care for those in need, especially in this holy month of Ramadan. Likewise, similar core values of excellence and caring are at the heart of the LGBT community formed by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people and their loved ones. Neither community should be judged by, or subjected to, outbursts of extremism or violence.”

‘A tragedy and and travesty,’ says Bishop Bruno

“Not only was it a tragedy, but it was a travesty because one person whose anger fills them in such a way that they think it’s OK to hurt and abuse other people,” Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Diocese of Los Angeles told Slate magazine as he prepared to ride in the Santa Monica gay pride parade on June 12. “They are violating the laws of God, they are violating the laws of humanity.”

The Slate article also quoted Episcopalians Jim Palmer and Deacon Guy Leemhuis, who participated in the parade, as well as actor Danny DeVito.