NYTS President Dale Irvin asked me to share the following thoughts on the tragedy at Newtown, Connecticut.

On Thursday night, December 13, my family and I traveled about an hour south of our home in West Hartford, Connecticut to the Newtown, Connecticut Town Hall to see a production of Dickens’ Christmas Carol in which our four nieces were performing. They are home-schooled by my sister Naomi and were part of a community theater group of home schooled children and others, including many from the lovely town of Newtown. It was a wonderful production and our nieces as well as the other children were quite the enthusiastic performers in the various roles they played.

On Friday, my sister (who lives in nearby Bethel) took her daughters back to the Newtown Town Hall to prepare for their afternoon performance, when they heard the horrific news of the shootings at a school about a mile away. The town hall was locked down for a while until further news was heard, which turned out to be the worst possible news, we now know, 20 children killed, the youngest of the young, along with the principal and other staff and teachers at the school, Sandy Hook Elementary. My sister and the girls were finally allowed to go home and they are safe. However, they later heard that two of the children who attended the performance we saw, including the son of the play’s music director, a first-grader, were victims of this senseless act of violence.

This is truly a tragedy, hitting too close to home. I am in deep shock even though my immediate family is safe, but to think that little children and their adult guardians and teachers could be gunned down in such a brutal way is mind-boggling. The calls of a national conversation about gun control laws that President Obama alluded to in his heartfelt message to the nation on Friday and that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is leading the charge for along with other big city mayors across the country should be just the beginning of the actions that have to take place in response to what happened to those innocent children and adults in Newtown on Friday, December 14.

We at New York Theological Seminary send our sincere prayers to the families of the victims and all the community of Newtown and surrounding towns, and in fact to all of us who are stunned by this terrible news.

Efrain AgostoEfrain Agosto
Professor of New Testament Studies

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