In response to this shocking act of violence, several neighboring faith groups immediately spoke out.
For example, Kathryn Lohre, the President of the National Council of Churches expressed that the NCC and its member churches "stand in solidarity with out Sikh brothers and sisters in this frightening time." Similarly, Antonios Kireopoulos, the NCC's associate general secretary who oversees the council's interfaith work, said: "While it is difficult to know what was in the mind of the attacker, it would seem that it was the same mix of fear, ignorance, and bigotry that fuels all violence against individuals or communities of faith. It is our prayer that such acts of terrorism – for they are in fact terrorist acts – become less and less frequent, and indeed come to an end, as our society becomes more and more vigilant in educating one another on what it truly means to live as neighbors of one another."
B'nai B'rith International, the Jewish humanitarian, human rights and advocacy agency, also expressed a stance of solidarity and expressed how their "thoughts and prayers go to the victims and their families."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations explained that American Muslims "stand with their Sikh brothers and sisters" and they "condemn this senseless act of violence, pray for those who were killed or injured and offer sincere condolences to their loved one."
Many Protestant groups spoke out as well. For example, the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) wrote that the event had "touched our lives deeply with sadness and concern . . . There is so much ignorance of religions, cultures and people, and too often those in the minority bear the heaviest burdens in our shared society." He continued, "We believe that love of God and love of neighbor is what is needed in our communities and in our country, and we extend ourselves to you brothers and sisters – as children of God."
As a way to give back and to thank the community for its courage in the aftermath of the shooting, the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin organized about 1,100 people for the Chardhi Kala 6K run at Oak Creek High School, with money raised going to benefit a community scholarship fund. The name of the event comes from a Sikh principle that means relentless optimism, even amid tragedy.
It can be challenging to know what to do in response to such senseless acts of hatred and fear, especially as a congregation. Sometimes expressing concern, speaking solidarity and joining together in community acts of giving, as the examples above show, can be significant steps in towards healing.