Archbishop Colin Johnson has written the following statement after last night’s shooting on the Danforth in Toronto:
Again, people are dead and many wounded in a shooting last night in Toronto. My prayers are offered for the repose of those who have died, for healing for those who are wounded in body or spirit, and for strength for families, friends, bystanders and first responders affected by this bloody carnage. Our hearts go out to them. It is not the first, and unfortunately it will not be the last, violence that we have witnessed. But these individual acts do not and will not define us as citizens of this great city. We cannot succumb to fear and mistrust. We are resilient and peaceful, daring to live and work together to build a rich and diverse community where all can find a secure place to belong and contribute.
St. Barnabas Anglican Church, 361 Danforth Avenue, very near where this shooting occurred, will be open today for prayer and counsel. An ecumenical vigil will take place on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The prophet Jeremiah urged the people to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I [God] have carried you… Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” As a Christian, I am called both to pray and to work in love and service as much for my neighbour as for God. Every act of violence, wherever it happens, is an abuse against the dignity of our common humanity and cannot be tolerated. The proliferation of guns, the blatant disregard for human life and the impulsive (and sometimes deliberate) resort to violent action and reaction are evils which we must address as a society. So, too, we must tackle together the underlying social issues of poverty, marginalization, mental health and hopelessness that afflict many in our city.
May God heal our wounds, dispel our fear, renew our hope and fuel our imaginations for building communities of hope and compassion.