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In times of crisis and pain, sometimes we look for things to do. We cry, we pray, and then we want to act. Faithelement writer and blogger Erin Robinson Hall and Podcast panelist Daniel Glaze offers the following ideas for ways your small group (or you as an individual) may participate in activities of response.


  • Light a candle.
    • Candles might symbolize the light of Christ, illuminating this world and our lives. Candles represent also our prayers lifted before God.
  • Name the victims.
    • There is power in reading the names of those who lost their lives. When we remember them aloud, not only do we ensure that their memory is not forgotten, but it makes an imprint on our own hearts. Humanity connected.
  • Pray in color.
    • In your personal prayers, write the names of the victims in Orlando as a prayer, possibly in a rainbow display.
  • Thank those who help.
    • You might not be able to go to Orlando, but perhaps you can visit your local firehouse, police station, or rescue station and thank them for the tireless (and often thankless) work they do. Bring brownies…trust me on this one.
  • Write a note.
  • Show up.
    • Go with your small group or Bible study group to one of the many vigils happening to remember Orlando. Or perhaps you’d like to pass out bottles of water to people, as many of these vigils are outside in the heat.
  • Hashtags.
    • Print the hashtags on a piece of paper. For personal prayer or for group Bible study write them out and ask: What are people claiming with this label? Why is this label useful for expressing a reflection about the tragedy. #weareorlando #LGBTstrong or many others.
  • Sidewalk chalk.
    • Write your prayers on the streets or sidewalk. Reflect on what your prayers look like in the harsh light of day, as people walk over them in their busy days.
  • Engage with people in person.
    • Resist the urge to argue in posts and comment threads. But, also resist the urge to say nothing. As you encounter people who disagree with you, offer to meet them for coffee or a meal. You buy. Listen as a way to understand.
  • Give space to grieve and share.
    • Remember that what many people are experiencing is grief. Consider how you would treat and respond to someone who is grieving in the “usual” ways, such as the loss of a family member. The things you would do for that person, such as giving them space to voice their pain, space to cry, accepting their anger, might be appropriate ways to let our friends grieve this tragedy.
  • Have humility.
    • Consider that you DO NOT know what this is like. If you are not a member of the LGBTQ community, you may not know what it is like to feel this kind of fear and loss. It is okay to simply be present with those who do know what it is like and listen to them. In the words of the musical Hamilton: “Talk less.”
  • Mash ups.
    • Mix songs of lament or sorrow that are secular with songs that are sacred. Watch what happens. One such example.

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