I’m sure you’ve heard the news by now that the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennesee was the target of a mass shooting. Two people were killed and 5 more are in serious condition after Jim D. Adkisson, 58, walked into a children’s Sunday school play and opened fire on the crowd.
Like many Unitarian Universalist churches including the Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis, and the church of the minister who married us, Andy Burnette of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Danville, The TVUUC was a “welcoming congregation” that believes all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, deserve respect and support, and are welcome members of the church.
According to the latest news reports, Adkisson chose the church because he wanted to target liberals and gays, whom he felt were responsible for the current economic crisis, and for his particular economic situation. He left a 4-page long note in his car, and was also reportedly speaking out to the congregation as he was firing. He carried 76 rounds of ammunition with him, and intended to continue firing until the police arrive to kill him. Fortunately, he was subdued when one member of the congregation grabbed the rifle and 3 men wrestled him to the ground. The Knoxville News coverage has more information about the victims of the shooting.
My wife Stephanie is a third-generation member of the Unitarian Universalist church.