Nov 9, 2017

Dear All,

As I write this note, I imagine you are still shocked and reeling from the news of the shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a church our size just 90 minutes down the road.

It’s easy to feel helpless right now. It’s hard to know what to do in these situations; how can we help in the midst of such tragedy. I have been assured that there are many chaplains and pastors and other responders who are on the ground giving support to this tender community at this time. Of course, the emotional and spiritual recovery will be a very difficult and long process.

During these turbulent times, the church is needed more than ever. Your prayers and concern are needed more than ever. Job’s friends sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word because they saw how great his suffering was. Prayer is a lifeline of hope when our minds fail to process in the midst of trauma. As the community continues to deal with loss and confusion, as we seek answers, comfort, and justice, let us pray:

O God, hear us! Brokenhearted we approach you. Anxious we need you. It’s hard to know where to start. We cannot imagine the pain of those who’ve lost loved ones as a result of evil. Holy One, mend shattered families with your comfort. Help grieving mothers, fathers, children, and spouses to deal with their sadness and anger. Please grant them your peace that surpasses all understanding.

Lord, we pray for those survivors and all those left behind. Through this difficult time ahead please grant them your peace as they struggle to move forward. For those who are wounded, please heal them physically and emotionally in miraculous ways.

And O God, help the helpers. Give them all wisdom – doctors, nurses, medics, counselors, ministers, and volunteers as they continue to provide aid. Grant them strength. Show us all how to lovingly and justly respond to the hurt and the suffering.

We pray in Christ’s holy name. Amen.

With you in God’s embrace,
Pastor Laura

P.S. This does hit close to home. We want you to feel safe and comfortable at church always; for our worship experience to be a place of peace. Studies show that it is still very safe to go the church on Sunday; incidents are few, but they are high profile when they do occur. If you do feel unsafe at the church, please talk to me or to one of our Session members. ~ Laura