BEECHVIEW (KDKA) – A Pittsburgh church is calling for love and tolerance one week after the Orlando mass shooting.
The pastor at Beechview United Presbyterian offered reasons why it happened and solutions on where to go from here.
It’s a tradition at the church: every Sunday, members hug and offer each other prayers for peace.
One week after the mass shooting in Orlando, Reverend Libby Hewett admitted it’s difficult to make sense of the hatred. But she felt it was necessary to talk about the social and political ramifications that caused the tragedy to happen. She believes it’s proof that gun reform is needed.
“We especially need a ban on assault weapons, for there is no reason to have a weapon of that kind unless you are in the military or you are planning a mass murder,” Hewett said.
The theme of her sermon – “love overcomes hate.” She’s deeply troubled by the scene of a church group protesting at a shooting victim’s funeral.
“When it is okay for a church group to protest the victims’ funerals and celebrate their deaths because they are gay and lesbian, bisexual or transgender, then we live in a very frightening time,” she said.
Her message also called for better mental health services and the need to work for change through love and tolerance.
“God sent his son into the world to show us and to show people that love can conquer hate,” she said.
Pastor Hewett called Beechview Presbyterian an open church and a place of inclusivity. Members say they are praying for change.
“I just pray that everyone can open their hearts and be more forgiving and loving,” member Maria Conquist said.
“It doesn’t make a difference,” member Alfred Falvo said. “We’re all people. We should all love one another.”