Update on Sandy Hook shootings.
Dear Friends in Christ:
All three of your bishops are immediately involved and present at Trinity Church, Newtown. We are in close communication with the Rev. Kathie Adams-Shepherd, the rector of Trinity Church, who has been at Sandy Hook Fire House all day pastoring the families and loved ones directly involved in the school shooting tragedy. There are families at Trinity that have been directly affected.
There will be a Taizé service of prayer and silence at Trinity Church, Newtown, tonight at 7:00 pm. All are invited to come and pray for those we have lost and for those who are suffering. Tomorrow at noon there will be a service at St. John’s, Sandy Hook, with the Rev. Mark Moore presiding. At this stage we do not know of anyone directly affected at St. John’s.
Prayers are flowing in from across the country and around the world. We have heard from sisters and brothers in Christ from as far away as New Zealand, England, and parts of Africa. We thank God for the web of prayers from around The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion that buoy us up in this time of immense grief and loss. Please continue to pray that in the midst of this despair and death that new life in and with God in Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit will shine through.
God bless all of us at this time.
Faithfully, Ian, Laura and Jim
UCC pastor the Rev. Emily C. Heath writing in the Huffington Post offers things not to say in times of grief.
A prayer from St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco: Prayers for the dead and for mourners, sung by Rev. Sylvia Miller-Mutia:
We grieve with the many families and friends touched by this shooting in Connecticut. We mourn the loss of lives so young and innocent. We grieve that the means of death are so readily available to people who lack the present capacity to find other ways of responding to their own anger and grief. We know that God’s heart is broken over this tragedy, and the tragedies that unfold each and every day across this nation. And we pray that this latest concentration of shooting deaths in one event will awaken us to the unnoticed number of children and young people who die senselessly across this land every day. More than 2000 children and youth die from guns each year, more than the soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Will you pray and work toward a different future, the one the Bible’s prophets dreamed of, where city streets are filled with children playing in safety (Zechariah 8:5)?
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
From Bronwyn Clark Skov Officer for Youth Ministries, The Episcopal Church
Loving God, Jesus gathered your little ones in his arms and blessed them. Have pity on those who mourn for the children and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, innocents slaughtered by the violence of our fallen world. Be with us as we struggle with the mysteries of life and death; in our pain, bring your comfort, and in our sorrow, bring your hope and your promise of new life, in the name of Jesus our Savior. Amen.
(adapted from the prayers following the Burial of a Child in Enriching Our Worship 2)