Members of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Rockies honored the victims of two mass shootings Sunday.
The church of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-gendered community in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood had planned to remember the mass shooting victims in Charleston. Almost a year ago, a gunman opened fire in a historic black church there, killing nine people.
MCC's Rev. Jim Mitulski went ahead with his sermon focused on the Charleston shooting. But he also reflected on the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday morning that left 50 people dead and 50 others injured.
“I don’t know about you but I am still really in a state of shock,” Mitulski said of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
“It will probably take time for us to understand this tragedy,” he added. “It has something to do with homophobia. It has something to do with guns. And under any circumstance, this is a terrible tragedy. And I know there is great sorrow in Orlando right now.”
He then asked for a moment of silence to remember the victims.
To honor the victims of the Charleston shooting, Mitulski played a video of President Obama singing “Amazing Grace” at that memorial service and then the president recited the names of each victim.
Mitulksi said it was appropriate that MCC remember the victims in Charleston. “We know that homophobia and racism are connected,” he said.
MCC administrator John Allison said in an interview after the service the Orlando shooting was alarming.
“It’s not just about gay people,” Allison said. “It’s about gun violence against people other people hate. Why is that the fix? Why is this happening?”
After the service, Mitulski said he hopes the shooting doesn’t lead to anti-Muslim backlash.
“We’ve experienced violence in the history of our church,” Mitulski said. “We have seen our churches burned. We are committed to peace, to unity, to solidarity. This act of violence will not lead to greater acts of violence or division.”