Below is a message from Rev. Ted Tollefson, minister at the UU Society of River Falls, Wisconsin, regarding the tragedy which happened to a family in their congregation.

A Tragic Week in River Falls, Wisconsin: What Can We Do?     

I am sad to report as the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Society of River Falls, WI that three lovely daughters from our community were murdered July 10, 2012 by their estranged father. The father, thankfully, turned himself in and will in police custody for a very long time. The girls' mother, Jessica Shaffhausen, is safe, surrounded by her family and friends. Our congregation is hosting a series of services and workshops leading to a community-wide memorial service Tuesday, July 17. We are deeply grateful for the many expressions of grief, support and love from UU ministers and congregations across the country.

Several friends and colleagues have asked: What can we do? Based on our own painful experiences, here are 4 tangible suggestions.

Pray/Meditate:  Please  include Jessica Shaffhausen, her daughters  and her family in your prayers and meditations.  May they be surrounded and upheld by rivers of love and light.Act: Do whatever you can to STOP! the plague of violence against women, children and families.  Act locally and non-violently to create a world where violence is not tolerated.Celebrate: Please light candles and read aloud the names of these three girls whose future has been stolen:  Amara, Sophie, and Cea Shafhaussen.   Give your children an extra hug.  Let them know they are loved and safe. Give: If  you'd like to make a call for donations to the Schaffhausen family, please do so.  Contributions can be send to the First  National Bank of River Falls,  PO  Box 166,  River Falls, WI  54022 to the "Benefit Account for the Schaffhausen Children."

The road of grief is bumpy and long, with many twists and turns. We often feel lost and sick at heart.  But this we have learned: grief can become a good road when it is bounded by love leads towards justice.


Rev. Ted Tollefson - UU Society of River Falls