Updated at 2:47 pm 5/6. The Associated Press is reporting that the Rev. Mary-Marguerite Kohn has died.
The Convention of the Diocese of Maryland passed a resolution expressing support, condolence and hope in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of a priest and lay employee by a homeless man who later took his own life at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Ellicott City, Maryland on Thursday, May 3.
Brenda Brewington, Administrative Assistant of St. Peter was pronounced dead at the scene and the Rev. Dr. Mary-Marguerite Kohn, Co-Rector, was transported to the University of Maryland Medical Center Shock-Trauma Unit. She was pronounced dead on Saturday afternoon.
The gunman, Douglas Jones, a homeless man who frequented the parish’s food pantry was found dead, apparently by self-inflicted gunshot wound, in a wooded area near the church.
Meanwhile, the congregation of St. Peter’s has come together to support and pray together during this difficult time. The Baltimore Sun reports that parishioners are going to gather this morning in worship and prayer.
The man who police say shot and critically wounded a co-rector and killed another worker at an Ellicott City church last week was angry about being told to limit his visits to the food pantry, church leaders said in a statement on Saturday.
The shootings of the two women have plunged the congregation of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, founded in Howard County in 1842, into mourning. The church has announced a private service for Sunday at 10 a.m.
The statement from the church says a custodian found the victims in an office. “The assailant, a homeless man who was receiving food from St. Peters’ pantry on a regular basis, had become belligerent when told that, pursuant to standard policy, the church would have to limit his visits to preserve supplies….”
…Saturday evening, the co-rector, the Rev. Marguerite Mary Kohn, 62, remained on life support at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. The church said in its statement that the family plans to donate her organs.
St. Peter’s warden, Craig Stuart-Paul, described Kohn as “one of the kindest, most giving people I have ever known. She never turned away a person in need, and even in death she is bringing life through the donation of her organs. I just hope that some of her amazing spirit goes along with them.”
The Washington Post says that funeral arrangements were not yet available. Memorial donations may be made to St. Peter’s, 3695 Rogers Ave., Ellicott City, MD 21043.
Here is the resolution:
Expression of support, condolence and hope in the midst of tragedy
RESOLVED: That the 228th Convention of the Diocese of Maryland, taking council together on May 4-5 in the year of our Lord 2012, expresses our profound grief and shock regarding the violent event that took place at St. Peter’s Ellicott City on Thursday, May 3, resulting in the immediate death of Brenda Brewington, Administrative Assistant; and the fatal wounding of the Rev. Dr. Mary Marguerite Kohn, Co-Rector; who were shot by Douglas Jones, a homeless man, who then took his own life.
RESOLVED: That this Convention expresses our deepest condolences to the families and friends of Mary Marguerite and Brenda, and pledges to support them in their grief.
RESOLVED: That this Convention, prays for the repose of the souls of Brenda and Mary Marguerite; and, in the pattern of the Christian Faith, and extends our forgiveness and prays for the repose of the soul of Douglas Jones, so that in our hearts grace may overcome bitterness, and love may conquer fear.
RESOLVED: That this Convention extends our support to the clergy, people, and staff of St. Peter’s, and pledges to see them through the coming days.
RESOLVED: That this Convention strongly encourages all parishes to make appropriate provisions for the safety of their clergy, administrators, and other staff members.
RESOLVED: That the Convention pledges 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.
RESOLVED: That the Convention pledges to challenge and condemn the violence which infects our society and relationships, and to seek peaceful means to address conflict and strife.
RESOLVED: That this Convention expresses our deep concern for all victims of gun-related crimes.
In her Easter sermon, the Rev. Mary Marguerite described the state of the disciples following the crucifixion with these words:
“They are burying a beloved friend and leader; they are burying a dream. Can you relate to that desolation and despair? If we are to walk with them, we might let ourselves bring up a time in our own life of deepest grief, despair, and darkness. A time when hope for the future has died. The sun is rising but they and we are in darkness.”
As fellow disciples walking in this valley of the shadow of death, we will stand beside the members and friends of St. Peter’s as they—and we–grieve this loss and assist them in any way we can as they seek to discern the leading of the Holy Spirit in their Church. We pray that in the days to come they may know the consolation of God’s love.
Our Church, which we regard as a Sanctuary, has been violated by this senseless tragedy, leaving us feeling vulnerable, betrayed, and angered. But our Church is also a holy icon, a gift to the world from the God of love and forgiveness. In this time of wounding, death, and brokenness, we stand with all victims and we offer our sanctuaries as places of healing, witnessing to God’s peace amidst violence and to the unbroken love that God has for all.
In the words of hope from the Easter Sermon of the Rev. Mary Marguerite Kohn, we pray for a new awareness of the “seismic shifts” in our lives so that we might, in God’s eternal time by God’s mighty power, move from being “demoralized and traumatized disciples” to an “astonishing transformation…as…the power of the resurrected Christ breaks into [our] lives, reorienting everything [we] think [we] know and believe, changing [our] life trajectory…. For Christ has been raised; and he calls all of his beloved to follow him on the roads of discipleship.”
Washington Post reports.
From Christine Kinard in Maryland:
Just returned home from our Diocesan Convention. Funeral arrangements have been made for Brenda Brewington and the Rev. Dr. Mary-Marguerite Kohn. At least two of our churches have offered to provide a funeral for Douglas Jones, the mentally ill homeless man who was the shooter. We are waiting for authorities to track down his family. The St. Peter’s family has been allowed to return to their church. Please pray for the Rev. Kirk Kubicek, rector of St. Peter’s; +Eugene Sutton our Diocesan; +Joe Goodwin Burnett our assistant bishop; the Rev. Allen Spicer, canon pastor to the clergy and their families, and the congregation of St. Peter’s as they grieve.
To make a sad situation even sadder, on the morning of the shooting the diocese buried our Archdeacon, the Reverend Madeleine Beard, who died late last month . Mary-Marguerite attended the funeral.