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Unitarian Universalists Respond to Tragedy in Knoxville

A shooting on the morning of July 27, 2008, which came during a performance of a children’s play at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (TVUUC) resulted in the death of one TVUUC member and one member of Westside Unitarian Universalist Church (located in Farragut, Tennessee) who was visiting TVUUC for the performance. Six adults were also injured but no children were harmed during the melee. The gunman was tackled by congregants and eventually taken into police custody.

In the wake of this tragedy, Unitarian Universalists have rallied to offer ministry and support to the affected members of both Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations.

One year after the tragedy occurred, on July 26 and July 27, 2009, the Knoxville congregations and the wider Knoxville community came together in worship and song to commemorate the tragedy, dedicated to standing on the side of love. Features and Reporting

  • One Year Later: What I've Learned from the Tragedy in Knoxville, by Annette Marquis, District Executive, UUA Thomas Jefferson District (July 28, 2009)
  • Program, Instruments of Peace Concert (July 27, 2009)
  • Order of Worship, TVUUC, including remarks from Annette Marquis and a sermon by Rev. Chris Buice (PDF) (July 26, 2009)
  • UU Values Affirmed in New York Times Ad (August 12)
  • Overflow Crowd Helps Resanctify Knoxville Church Following Violence (August 4)
  • The UU Trauma Response Ministry—Playing a Key Role in Knoxville's Recovery from Tragedy (August 3)
  • Order of Service for TVUUC Rededication Service (August 3)
  • Homily of Rev. Chris Buice—from TVUUC Rededication Service (August 3, posted Aug. 13)
  • Words of Healing and Reconnection from Annette Marquis—from TVUUC Rededication Service (August 3)
  • TVUUC to be Rededicated August 3 (August 2)
  • Called to Gather in Sympathy and Strength: A Letter from the UUA Moderator (August 1)
  • Former UUA President Prepares to Speak at Knoxville Rededication Service (July 31)
  • Unitarian Universalists Respond to Knoxville Shooting Disaster
  • Knoxville Community Gathers to Honor Shooting Victims with Joy and Tears (July 29)
  • Transcript of Knoxville Community Service to Honor Shooting Victims (July 29)
  • Reflections Following the Knoxville Shootings: I've Never Been So Proud—by Annette Marquis, District Executive, Thomas Jefferson District, UUA (July 29) Features and Reporting

From the President of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)

Press Releases

  • UUA President Responds to Knoxville Church Shootings (July 27)
  • UUA President Responds to Knoxville Tragedy, Vows Continued Social Justice Work (July 29)


Worship Resources

Media Coverage

Community Resources


  • The UUA/Thomas Jefferson District Knoxville Relief Fund: The UUA, in collaboration with the Thomas Jefferson District, has established the Knoxville Relief Fund to bring ministry, spiritual care, and practical financial assistance to those affected by the tragedy in Knoxville, Tennessee. Your gifts will assist the Tennessee Valley UU Church and the Westside UU Church and their members, and will show them that they are not alone during this time of shock and grief.

For more information contact web @

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Friday, February 8, 2013.

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Banner at the TVUUC in Knoxville

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These paper cranes were created by 1st-5th graders in Knoxville. The tag on each string of cranes reads, "Our Wish for You; Peace, Hope, Love and Good Health." Webb Lower School 2007-2008 Peace Project.

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Rev. Mitra Jafarzadeh and Rev. Chris Buice serve the two Knoxville UU congregations.

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