On Friday, Douglas Jones, a homeless man who became angry after being told that he needed to reduce his visits to the food pantry at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Ellicott City, Md., shot and killed the Rev. Mary-Marguerite Kohn, the parish's co-rector and Brenda Brewington, its administrator. Jones then killed himself.
The Diocese of Maryland has responded with amazing generosity. Meeting in convention, it passed legislation that resolved in part to "recognize and address the needs of homeless persons in our communities, as well as the needs of our brothers and sisters who suffer from mental illness." Two parishes have volunteered to host Jones' funeral.
But the diocesan resolution also "encourage[d] all parishes to make appropriate provisions for the safety of their clergy, administrators, and other staff members."
We would like to hear from those of you who have wisdom to share about keeping church members who work with people struggling with mental illnesses safe from harm. Please join the conversation in the comments.