Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who consoles us in all our affliction,
so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction
with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.
– 2 Corinthians 1:3a-4
Dear First Church,
We are still reeling from the shock following the massacre of innocent children and adults at Robb Elementary School yesterday in Uvalde. We live in a crisis of gun violence, but even this cruel season cannot numb the horror of what has happened. We are in contact with Kyle Wagner, the lay leader of our church, who is a native of Uvalde and who has gone home to comfort friends and join community efforts to help those in need. We will let you know immediately if we discover any way our church can provide comfort or aid to those impacted by these murders. As a connectional church, United Methodists are on the scene in Uvalde, representing the love and care of the entire body of Christ.
We are especially heartbroken that this tragedy is another cause for anxiety for our children who already struggle to imagine themselves to be safe at school. If you would appreciate any resources or guidance as your children process this event, please contact Mark Burrows, our Director of Children’s Ministry.
Also, we know that this experience can also re-traumatize many other groups, including those who have themselves experienced the death of a child. Rev. DeAndrea Dare at A Memory Grows has many resources for those who find themselves in such a position of need. Please let us walk with you during this season of pain.
Finally, Tim and I ask all of you to pray. Specifically, we ask you to join us in praying that God might allow us to carry some portion of the grief and anguish experienced by the parents, children, loved ones, and community of the victims killed in Uvalde. Together, as a church, let us pray:
God of us all, we thank you for Christ’s grace,
through which we pray to you in this dark hour.
Innocent lives have been torn from their families.
Expectations their futures once held have vanished.
The mystery of death has stricken us.
Into your hands we commend the souls of the innocents murdered in Uvalde.
No mortal life you have made is without eternal meaning.
No earthly fate is beyond your redeeming.
Through your grace that can do far more than we can think or imagine,
fulfill in the victim’s souls your purpose that reaches beyond time and death.
Lead them from strength to strength,
and fit them for love and service in your kingdom.
Allow us to bear a portion of the burden of grief carried by their survivors,
for into your hands, we commit our lives.
You alone, God, make us to dwell in safety.
Whom, finally, have we on earth or in heaven but you?
Help us to know the measure of our days, and how frail we are.
Hold us in your keeping. Forgive us our sins.
Save our minds from despair and our hearts from fear,
and guard and guide us with your peace.
Dr. Tim Bruster Rev. Lance Marshall