Joining God in Palm Harbor and the World.

The Wider Church

Florida-Bahamas Synod Bishop Suarez released the following statement Wednesday, Feb. 14 after hearing about the tragic school shooting incident in Parkland, FL.

Feb. 14, 2018

This time the shooting was around the corner.

My wife Aura and I were just finishing lunch with our son and his family. Tomorrow we close on our house on Deerfield Beach to continue our relocation to the Tampa area. As we we were driving around doing a few more errands, around 3 p.m., a dozen or so patrol cars zoomed by us with their sirens on, going in the opposite direction. It seemed as though something serious had happened.

Only 3 miles away, Nikolas Cruz, a young man, had shot and killed at least 17 people and injured others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Yes, another school shooting. This time in our own community.

Today is Ash Wednesday—a time to reflect. Perhaps we should not only do that reflection as individuals but as a society as well. Perhaps this reflection will lead us to repent of our systemic sins…sins that clearly bring destruction and death. We must repent of our lack of proper mental health care for our children, for not having a better system that would prevent people like Nikolas access to a gun, and for so many other ways we make tragedies like this one a possibility.

As far as I know at this point, none of the victims were members of our Lutheran congregations. However, those victims are part of our community, with families and friends that are deeply hurt tonight.

I ask you to join me in prayer.

Dear loving God, 

There are so many things we don’t understand about our world. We might not know how the families and friends of the victims of today’s shooting are feeling. But we do care. May they feel your presence in spirit through those that are accompanying them right now.

Help us to be mindful of the pain around us and to do something about it. We pray this in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.



Pedro M. Suarez

Bishop, Florida-Bahamas Synod