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The Salvation Army in Orlando Responds to Nightclub Shooting
The General Calls on Salvationists to Demonstrate God's Mercy

The Salvation Army's disaster relief team in Orlando, Florida, USA, has provided food and drink to emergency responders dealing with the aftermath of a shooting at Pulse nightclub that left 49 people dead and another 53 injured. 
Orlando Area Commander Major Ted Morris, who is working with local officials and offering additional support as needed, says: 'We were awakened this morning to this tragic news in Orlando. Our local disaster team members immediately reached out to ask how they could help their neighbours. This is why we train, this is why our volunteers serve and today we are here to comfort those impacted across our community. Right now, as we respond with hydration and food, we ask everyone to join us in praying for those families who lost loved ones and those who struggle to recover in hospitals around our area.'
The request for prayer was also reflected by The Salvation Army's international leader, General André Cox, who sent out a message on Twitter and Facebook asking 'all Salvationists to pray for the bereaved, the injured, the emergency services and government officials who need to provide leadership'. 
Salvation Army units around Florida have been placed on standby to support families and responders as needed. Emotional and spiritual care teams are also ready to support the central Florida community as it comes to terms with the tragedy.

My fellow Salvationists and friends, 
Commissioner Silvia and I were shocked and saddened to learn of the terrible attack on an Orlando nightclub at the weekend. Only a matter of months ago we were in that vibrant city, and our prayers go out to all involved – to the friends and families of the people who were killed; to those still recovering from injuries; to the emergency services; and to people who are providing practical support – including our own Salvation Army teams. God bless you all.  We pray as well for President Obama and government officials who need to provide leadership in these days.
For our part, The Salvation Army responded quickly, assisting the emergency services. Major Ted Morris, the Orlando Area Commander, says that as soon as the news of the shooting broke, disaster team members contacted him to ask how they could help their neighbours.
‘Neighbours’ is the important word there. The fifty people who were killed in the nightclub and the hundreds more who were injured or traumatised are our neighbours. Perhaps they don’t have the same beliefs as us. Maybe they are part of a culture that is different to ours. But Jesus was very clear when he described ‘love your neighbour’ as one of the two greatest commandments that – while our neighbours may be different to us – we must love them anyway.
The parable of the Good Samaritan could have been told with our world’s modern-day cultural and religious differences in sharp focus. It’s not the darkness of violence that triumphs. Neither is it the shunning behaviour of the ‘religious people’. Mercy and love shine through in the most unexpected way. Jesus said, ‘Go and do likewise.’
I encourage you to respond quickly and decisively to demonstrate God’s mercy in a practical and tangible way. Let us as The Salvation Army rise up and be mobilised, showing God’s love to those who may not expect to be loved by us. Let’s transcend the man-made barriers that seek to divide us from our ‘neighbour’. And let’s do it today, with God’s help.
May each of you seek to be a channel of God's peace, drawing inspiration from the Prince of Peace, whose life, death and resurrection demonstrate that love will conquer hate, intolerance and violence. 
God bless you all as you share his love today. 
- General André Cox
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