Pastor Cora Parchia (far left), Eld. Alvin Morris (second from left) and Pastor Monica Parchia (far right) of Mt. Zion Assembly Healing Temple, recently presented one of several boxes of items to Larry Walles of the Salvation Army to be given to the families of the children and educators who were victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn. (Photo by Yvonne Kemp)
Like many of you, I have been immersed in images emanating from the tragedy in Connecticut. As the holidays approaches there are dozens of families trying to come to grips with the devastation brought on by the mass shooting. There are no deep and profound words to make what happened make sense.
There is no flowery way to summarize the situation or explain the motivation of one so ill that they could not see the value of the souls they were mowing down through their haze of mental and or spiritual illness.
The truth is that everyday we wake up; we wake up to the new mercies provided to us by God. We also wake up with no assurances that we will live to see the end of the day. This realization should motivate us to live not only for the moment, but for eternity.
We are grieving as a nation for parents who shall say a final earthly farewell to the little ones who they taught to brush their teeth, comb their hair and who just mastered tying their shoes.
We stand solemnly in prayer as these parents clutch book bags filled with crayons that will never be used and fold away cartoon bed sheets that will never be slept on again.
The pain of such loss seems unimaginable and unbearable. Yet some of these same loving and supportive people who are pouring out their concern for these families are unmoved by the sad state of their own families and relationships.
This tragedy should have brought an immediate perspective and resolution to all of us.
Children should have been hugged tighter. Parents should have been appreciated even more.
Teachers, administrators and other protectors of children hailed for their daily sacrifices to make the lives of children better. America, it is time to get things right. Now.
It is time to forgive people. It is time to let go of past issues. It is time to say, “I love you”, “thank you”, “I need you”, and “I appreciate you”. It is also time to look at ourselves and others and start doing things that make sense.
It is time for us to honor teachers and administrators and see them as vital members of the team and not as enemies.
They are the ones that will stand between our children and an assassin when you are miles away.
Not only are they often underpaid, they use the little money that they have to buy more supplies to minister to the needs of your children – they deserve your help, supply donations and utmost respect.
It is time to take mental healthcare seriously. If people have mental health issues, let’s get them help. It is not an indictment on faith or the church to use therapy or medication to regulate an imbalance.
When you hear people ignorantly shunning psychiatric drugs for others while swallowing a daily aspirin, using an inhaler and taking medicine for themselves – that’s not Gospel (good news) that’s foolishness.
If people insist on buying guns that are designed for combat – let’s get them tested psychiatrically annually. I had to be psychologically tested over a three day period to be ordained to carry the Word in the American Baptist Church – how much more should someone carrying an assault rifle for home use need to be checked to make sure that they are stable?
It’s time for us to protect our children, pray for our nation and rededicate ourselves to God. It’s also time to ask ourselves individually – am I ready to die?
Have I prepared myself spiritually just in case the next bullet passes through me?
Have I taught my children, nieces and nephews and neighbors to know and serve the Lord so that should something happen to them I could, at the very least, rest in the knowledge that it is well with their souls.
No zip code is exempt. No area too elite. No culture is above calamity. Our neighborhoods are not bulletproof and our schools are not bomb proof.
It can happen anywhere, anyway, to anyone. It’s time to get it right. Now.
Rev. Jesse Jackson also to speak
Members of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin are scheduled to speak at a free community event hosted by Faith Builders Church. The event called “It’s All About Us” takes place on Monday August 20, 2012 at 4901 South Howell Avenue, Milwaukee WI, just two miles away from where the tragic mass shooting occurred. The event begins at 7:00pm.
”The purpose of this event is to show the city, the state and the nation that we who live in the greater Milwaukee area have a unified stand (u.s.) against such violence and that as a community, we support each other no matter the race, creed or background”, said Jeffrey Pruitt, Senior Pastor of Faith Builders Church. “Our mantra is simple…It’s not about “me” or “I” but it’s all about us! One family, one community…Us!”
Reflective of its efforts to bring the city together and shine a light on not just the tragedy, but on how the community is able to stand tall in light of tragedy, the church has extended invitations to other organizations and community officials. The list of confirmed speakers includes Rev. Jesse Jackson, Mayor of Oak Creek Stephen Scaffidi and his wife and Pastor Steve Munsey. The event will also include performances by Danny Gokey, the Sofia’s Heart Choir and gospel recording artist Viki Yohe.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to speak to our community about who we are as a people,” said Dr. Kulwant S. Dhaliwal, member of the Board of Trustees of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. “We hope to enlighten people about our religion and what we believe. We desire only to live in peace and harmony with one another.”
For more information about the event, please call 414.313.8684 or visit www.myfaithbuilders.org. And to donate to the families of the victims of the shooting please contact www.wearesikhs.com or send checks payable to the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin Memorial Fund, Account #16108876 at Tri City National Bank, 3378 South 27th Street, Milwaukee WI 53215.
About Faith Builders Church
After Serving as Youth Pastors, Music Pastors and Assistant Pastors for over ten years, Pastors Jeff and Robin Pruitt along with their children Nick and Olivia started Faith Builders Church May of 1999.
The Church, which started in a Howard Johnson Hotel, grew rapidly until it outgrew two additional facilities. In December of 2002, the Church bought the Skyway Cinema, a 35,000 sq. ft. 6 plex movie theater. The first service in the new facility took place the week before Christmas in the east theater, known affectionately as “Theater A”. They quickly began to fill the 400 seat auditorium and were forced to move walls and build. By April 2008 the building was completely remodeled adding 7,000 sq. ft. and built a 1,000 seat auditorium. The Church currently offerstwo services and is preparing to add a third. For more information about Faith Builders Church, visit www.myfaithbuilders.org.
About the Sikh Temple of WI
The Sikh Temple of WI was established on October 1, 1997. It started with 20-25 families and the Sangat gathered in the rental community halls in the south side of Milwaukee. In October 1999 Sikh Temple of WI was formally established in the 441 E Lincoln Ave, Milwaukee location. At this time there are 350-400 people in the congregation. The hall and parking lot have outgrown the needs of the Sangat and a new Gurudwara is being built in Oakcreek to better serve the needs of the growing community.
Sikh Temple of WI bought 13 acres of land at 7502 S Howell Ave near the airport in Oakcreek. The construction of 17,500 sq feet Gurudwara is underway and is scheduled for completion by April 13th 2007. This beautiful brick building will have better facilities, library and educational area for children, play area and parking for 100 cars. It will also provide space for childcare of infants and small children. There will be instruction of reading, writing and speaking of Punjabi language. There will be accommodations for visiting ragi jatha from India and from around the country.
Sikh Temple of WI has collaborated with the Rangla Punjab organization. Rangla Punjab organizes gidha, bhangra and many other cultural activities and represents the Sikh community in various national and local cultural competitions. For more information about the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin visit http://www.sikhtempleofwisconsin.com.