The Episcopal Church released highlights from today’s agenda of the House of Bishops retreat in Texas, including a letter from the parents of Carmen Schentrup, who died in the February 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida, including a call to action:
• Bishop Peter Eaton from Southeast Florida shared the following letter from Philip and April Schentrup, the parents of Carmen Schentrup, an Episcopalian youth who died in the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As you may know, our daughter Carmen was murdered in the tragic massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Ash Wednesday. My wife, April, and I would like to thank all of you who have kept us and our children in your prayers. Prayers and love are helping our family through this incredibly tough time, please keep them coming; for us, and for all the victims of this senseless massacre.
Our hearts are saddened for the loss of our beautiful little girl and the absence of her amazing presence, but we cannot be sad for Carmen. We believe that Carmen’s murder was not part of God’s plan and that God is saddened by the violence in this world more than we can know. We know that God’s promise is for us to be with him in heaven, and in faith, we believe that Carmen is in heaven, in the loving embrace of God. She awaits us, loved and cared for.
As our family struggles to pick up the pieces of our shattered lives, we ask the Good Lord daily for the strength to fight the good fight, to finish the race. In our attempt to heal from despair and grief, we are compelled to try and make the world a better place for our two remaining children and for all children. To that end, we implore you, as leaders of Christ’s church, to address the issue of gun violence head-on. We ask that you make this a priority for the Church and to leave little ambiguity as to “what would Jesus do.” The scourge of gun violence on this nation, especially with military assault rifles, is a problem of our own creation and counter to God’s desire for peace and love. As a nation we can solve this problem, and as leaders of the Church in our country, we ask that you help lead the way. In Christ’s name, we beg you to take action.
We would also like to extend an invitation to all bishops to rally with our church, St. Mary Magdalene, and our diocese this March in Washington DC. We, along with our church family, will participate in the March for Our Lives this coming March 24th and would very much urge all bishops to come with us to stand up for the lives of children and for the ministry of Christ’s church. One can only imagine the example of leadership and solidarity that such a showing could make on our fractured and divided country.
Thank you for your time. Thank you for your stewardship of our flock. Thank you for your prayers, and we look forward to walking hand-in-hand with you later this month.
Philip and April Schentrup
The release can be found online here.
Image from video from Sun Sentinel report, linked here.