Conference Calls for Prayer as Violence Strikes in Washington Navy Yard

<re-posted from http://www.ctucc.org/news/20130916_washingtonprayer.html >

by Eric Anderson

HARTFORD and WASHINGTON, DC (09/16/2013) — At least one gunman opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard in the nation’s capital today. In an afternoon press conference, Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said that twelve people had been confirmed dead, with additional people injured. With facts still in short supply, Connecticut Conference Minister the Rev. Kent J. Siladi called the ministers and members of the state’s churches to prayer. “Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy,” he said in a message to church leaders this afternoon. “I would encourage us to pray and to continue to work for peace.”

The message included a prayer for all those affected by the day’s tragic events, including victims and first responders, investigators and medical staff, family members and friends, and those for whom the day’s tragedy summons memory of other traumas.

Rev. Siladi’s message in full follows:

Colleagues:

In Romans 8:26 we hear the words: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”

We are sighing once again. Today’s shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC, is another tragic reminder of the brokenness of our world. Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy. I would encourage us to pray and to continue to work for peace. We feel so helpless and often have no idea about what our response to such tragedies should be. Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Holy God,

We lift our hearts and streaming eyes to you today, as word of yet more violence assaults our ears. Magnify the skills of paramedics, nurses, and surgeons as they treat the injured. Focus the minds of police officers and investigators as they labor to determine the truth of what happened and identify those responsible. Lend strength of heart to those who will break the terrible news to suddenly grieving families and friends. And to all those who have lost today — lost a loved one, lost health of body, lost peace of mind — bring comfort, healing, and renewal.

We await the full story of today’s events, O God, but much more we await the day when we, your people, will at last turn away from violence, lay down our arms, offer each other healing, and embrace each other as your children. Until that day dawns, gracious God, we ask your guidance, mercy, and abiding love.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Rev. Kent J. Siladi is Connecticut Conference Minister. The Rev. Eric S. Anderson is Minister of Communications and Technology for the Connecticut Conference UCC.