Faith leaders call for prayers, action

Prayers offered for those impacted by the Navy Yard shooting amid calls for an end to gun violence.

BY JIM SKILLINGTON | BALTIMORE | September 17, 2013



"After our prayers are said, we are also called to act to end the gun violence in our nation"

—Bishop Marcus Matthews, The United Methodist Church


Members of the faith community called for prayers and action in the wake of the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard Monday.

The Office of Public Witness of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) said it was "saddened by the deaths of 13 people," adding "our thoughts and prayers on behalf of the families suffering loss are heartfelt."

However, the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson II, the director of the Office, called for change that will free the United States from its "culture of violence." The country, he said, "is in need of common sense gun laws."

The United Church of Christ (UCC) is also a proponent of finding a solution to violence in society. The Navy Yard tragedy "sadly adds to the growing litany of gun violence incidents that continue to take their terrible toll in this nation," said Sandy Sorensen, director of the UCC's Washington D.C. offices. "How long, and how much more loss, will it take?"

U.S. Catholic leaders called for prayers following the shootings. "I join people of all faiths across our community in praying for the people killed and wounded in the attack at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C,” said Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl who added that he was also praying for the emergency responders and families of the victims.

Military Archbishop Timothy M. Broglio who has, in the past, led worship in the base's chapel, said the country must "restore the notion of respect for life into the fabric of the Nation," if it is to prevent future shootings.

Bishop Marcus Matthews of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church called on "all people of faith" to seek "healing for those whose lives have been shattered." He also called on church members to provide pastoral care for workers at the Navy Yard and neighborhood school children who may have been impacted by Monday's tragedy. "We are called to help them heal," he said.

The Bishop also called for action. "After our prayers are said, we are also called to act to end the gun violence in our nation. We must stand up to the pain these acts of violence inflict."


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