Leaders of the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ invite people of faith throughout the state to join in prayer for those killed and wounded in a workplace shooting in Manchester on Tuesday.
“We do not yet understand what happened there,” said the Rev. Eric S. Anderson, “but we know this: God cares, God strengthens, and God comforts. We ask God’s care for the grieving and the injured today.”
Anderson, the Minister for Communications and Technology, watched with sorrow as local media outlets announced the rising death toll through the day, as public officials confirmed and released the information.
“This is just tragic and sad,” said the Rev. Ineke K. Mitchell, North Central Regional Minister, whose region includes Manchester. “What a sad loss of life. I’m sure it isn’t what God had in mind.”
The Conference staff offers this prayer:
Dear God of love and justice,
Violence has erupted once more among us, striking down some of our neighbors in an act which makes no sense to us. A part of us will seek, in these next days, to try to understand; and a part of us will know, in every day, that some things will always be beyond our understanding.
Your mercy, O God, is always beyond our understanding, but not beyond the reach of our prayers. Pour out that mercy upon us, O God. Strengthen the bodies suffering from the insult of wounds. Ease the dread of those who desperately seek word of their loved ones. And tenderly embrace those who have lost loved ones today, even as you take those souls into your compassion and care.
We pray that you shed your grace upon the caregivers as well: the police officers, the firefighters, and the medical personnel who have come to the scene or ministered in the hospitals. We ask that you give wisdom and strength for caring to all those who will seek to comfort the injured and the bereaved: the families, the friends, the clergy, and the helping professionals who will extend a hand.
Guide us all, O God, to a society that will better equip its members to choose different paths than violence, to a day when we will trade our grieving for embracing, to a morning when the sun will rise on the dawn of peace.