View from the Study Window: The Knoxville UU shootings
Written by Rev. Jean Wahlstrom   
Thursday, 08/28/08

As many of you are aware, on Sunday morning, July 27th, a man entered the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee intent upon killing parishioners until he himself was killed. Two congregation members were fatally shot, and several were wounded, before the man was restrained by those around him.

We have had the TVUUC on our minds, and in our thoughts and prayers, since we heard this tragic news. Some of you may know UUs in or near that congregation. Linda Rust and her son David, daughter and grandson of our congregation’s Mary Rust, are in the TVUUC congregation. They were not present that Sunday, but are, of course, shocked and grieving.

The UUA has a web page devoted to TVUUC-related material. It includes a link to the relief fund set up by the UUA and the Thomas Jefferson district, portions of TVUUC’s rededication of their worship space, and the UUA ad in the New York Times, “Our Doors and Our Hearts Will Remain Open.”

The shooter left a letter blaming “liberals” for the desperate state of his life. Our work for social justice and our welcome of all people regardless of sexual or gender orientation — these expressions of our faith which draw UUs together in peace and charity — drew this man, also, for his own cruel and violent purpose. Still, our doors and our hearts will remain open, for our work is not yet done. Our doors and our hearts will remain open, for we need one another. Our doors and our hearts will remain open, for we have so very much to offer.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you want to talk... Call or leave a message for me at May Memorial (446-8920) or at my home (492-1970), or email This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

~ Blessings, Jean