The Pulse nightclub slaughter has given Orlando the hellish distinction of being the site of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Early morning at the club on Sunday, June 12, Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded more than 50 people in a gory shooting rampage.
While the city — and the world — grapples with shell-shocked grief, mourning and bewilderment, many people from diverse faith traditions are calmly coming together to comfort one another, clean up the mess, and perhaps forge a stronger community for the long term. (Photos by Joe Thoma)
Above and below, thousands gathered Monday night in downtown Orlando to grieve together and console one another.
Former State Rep. Linda Stewart with Tim Vargas, executive director of the LGBT Center in Orlando.
The Rev. Frank Faine with Lt. James Young of the Orlando Police Department, and Galen Hentzell of The Center.
“I’m here at The Center to be an ear, a hug, a smile for people who need to talk,” said Carl Clay, a volunteer counselor and member of Northland, A Church Distributed, Longwood.
The Rev. Gregory S. Walton, President of the Florida-Georgia District of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, invited the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs to work through Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Orlando. Trinity has a ministry of outreach to the LGBT community that surrounds their congregation. The crew is working with LCMS Pastor Billy Brath from Trinity.
“Pastor Billy” Brath, of the Zebra Coalition.