HOUSTON, TX– It’s been nearly three weeks since the shooting in Orlando, but the folks at LGBT-friendly Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church are still dealing with the pain every day.
Their pastor Rev. Troy Treash, a gay man married to his husband for 18 years, explains, “When you hear that someone has singled out your own kind– your own people— for slaughter, you need one another.”
Many members first found out about the shootings at the 9am Sunday service June 12th. “This just keeps weighing on their psyche. This realization that they don’t feel safe anymore,” says Treash.
And so the church has added 49 candles to their altar, one for each of the shooting victims. But there is a 50th candle that burns in the office, remembering the one who killed the 49. On July 10th, Treash plans to bring that candle to the altar alongside the others. “I think some of our people will understand it immediately. Others will have to pray about it and struggle with it,” he says, citing forgiveness as one of the core values in their faith.
“Forgiveness not only helps the person you’re forgiving but heals you in the process of being able to recognize that God’s love is more powerful than any sort of fear or any sort of hanging on to something that’s so hurtful to you.”
For many, that will be a tough lesson to learn.