Please pray for another community impacted by gun violence. On Wednesday morning, December 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and 17 people were injured when gunmen opened fire at an office holiday party in the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.
Over the years, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has been engaged in helping communities that have been affected by school shootings. PDA was immediately in contact with leadership of Riverside Presbytery to offer care and support. Members of the PDA National Response Team (NRT) who live in the area and have experience in responding to human-caused disasters have already planned to attend worship services of churches in the area. Two additional experienced NRT members were already scheduled to attend an event in Los Angeles and will be available to help in the response.
As you pray for the loved ones of those killed and injured, please also prayerfully consider ways to engage your community in addressing the issue of gun violence.
The following suggestions are shared from the incident at Virginia Tech.
- Hold a prayer vigil for your congregation. If you have a youth group, be sure to include young people in the planning and leadership of the vigil.
- Organize an ecumenical prayer service in your community.
- Create opportunities for people, especially young people and parents, to talk about the shooting.
- During worship, include prayers for the victims, survivors, families, teachers, emergency response personnel and those who will minister to the community in the aftermath of the violence.
- Remember in your prayers the communities impacted by previous school shootings. The recent event may evoke painful reminders and flashbacks of the violence they experienced.
- Work with your local school officials, encouraging them to implement violence prevention programs.
- Organize a meeting with the ministerial alliance, ecumenical and interfaith associations and local human service agencies to develop a preparedness response/plan should your community be directly affected by such a tragedy.