I am so very grateful for the opportunity to serve you, the TWU alumni community. As I seek to build relationships and learn from those around me, I’m filled with great hope for what the Lord has in store for us. Many alumni, representing a broad spectrum of the TWU community, have reached out with expressions of encouragement and support. This includes our President — and fellow alum — Bob Kuhn. With Bob’s permission, I’d like to share one such message.
Originally a communication intended for our staff and faculty after the Orlando shooting, this message provides a glimpse into the heart of our President as he wrestles with the impact of this tragic event.
Considering the wave of shootings and acts of terror that seem to continue unabated, I believe this emotionally honest message is relevant today. I share it in hope that you will be encouraged — as I am — knowing we have a Christ-centered leader at the helm who is authentic, compassionate, and filled with love for his fellow human.
Keep the faith,
Brady Schlecker (’10), MBA
Executive Director | Alumni Association
Senseless violence. One human being killing other human beings. I am sure that the deadly Orlando drama played out in your mind just as it did in mine; the gunfire, the screams, the need to hide, the struggle to escape and then the final shots as pleas for mercy fell on deaf ears. How should we at TWU respond? What can we say as a community, as individuals?
For me, no words could accurately express the mixture of horror, helplessness, anger and sadness. I wanted to speak but I have felt trapped by the inadequacy of words. Yet I know that silence is not an option. I cannot stay mute, as if nothing happened, because those members of our community, our friends and family members, those who self-identify as LGBTQ feel threatened and are fearful. Whether the killer was motivated by religious extremism, mental illness or misdirected anger or something else, the result is the same. This was an act of terrorism. Or, as one survivor put it, it was “an act of hate against humanity”.
So, to each LGBTQ person who is or has been part of the TWU community, to my community that I deeply care about, please do not misconstrue my silence and my uncertainty these past few days. Silence can isolate us from each other when we most need to be together. And, after careful thought, although words can feel inadequate, they may be the only means we have of reaching out and expressing our love to those with whom we work, we study, we live and share life; the TWU community. Words can be the physical connection, the “hug” that we would give and receive were it not denied us by the miles between.
To those I have not yet been able to physically hug, let me say from my heart, I want to share your fear and sadness so that you will not be alone or feel so vulnerable. I want to be there when you feel helpless and afraid. I am committed to pray for those of you who lie awake, unable to take your mind off of the tragedy that occurred in Orlando. It is my deepest desire to love each of you, and my request that each member of our community will join me in seeing the importance of Romans 12:9, 15. Let us “Be devoted to one another in love. Mourn with those who mourn.”
In His Service,
Robert G. Kuhn (’72)
President | Trinity Western University