Repeatedly our region has been affected by senseless killing and unspeakable violence. This week in a single incident, two gunmen killed four women and a man and injured three others in an apparent coordinated attack. What was supposed to be a party on an unseasonably warm day, resulted in an unthinkable tragedy.

As such, the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN) expresses, through this statement, our deepest condolences to the families of the victims. Likewise, we are in prayer with and for the victims and families, and as well, for the people of Wilkinsburg. To be sure, we are in a state of lament about the state of our community, especially in the aftermath of this kind of unfathomable heartlessness; and we hasten to say that we remain righteously indignant about this and all manner of inhumanity.

The aforementioned notwithstanding, we also condemn this appalling act, reiterate the insistence to stop all killing and violence, both indiscriminate and premeditated, and, we call for justice, peace, love and faithfulness. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so it would seem said it best, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” We roundly declare what has happened is a violation of the essential ethic of love and the sacredness of human life. Further, we are convinced what has happened does not reflect the values of God. Consequently, we invoke The Spirit, summon hope and focus on the shared vision of a preferred future to reanimate our respective and collective faith in action.

Not to be deterred in the wake of this atrocity we reaffirm our commitment to transformation, through organizing the collaborative power of people of faith. “In the end,” Dr. King also proclaims, “we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Accordingly, we echo and elaborate on the chorus of consciousness calling us into community and compelling us into cooperative community amelioration. To that end, we recommend the auspicious efforts underway to secure justice, restore peace and to promote community, however, while we advocate collaboration we also advise judiciousness in strategizing and expeditiousness in action. In this way among other ways, we seek to honor victims not merely with our words but moreover by pivoting from our seeming tolerance of commonplace killing and violence to effectual efforts to realize the Beloved Community.

Reverend Rodney Adam Lyde, President
Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN)