By Warren Bird
Yesterday at the small Metro New York City church where my wife and I are members, our pastor shelved his planned sermon, and instead led us to focus on Scriptures and prayers related to last week’s killings.
It turns out that our church was not alone. Apparently many other churches did so—and the media gave lots of positive coverage in response. Here’s a sampling of headlines, along with the relevant articles:
- Dallas-Fort Worth Clergy Plan to Go Beyond Prayer in Responding to Issues of Race and Violence (Dallas Morning News)
- Alton Sterling’s Aunt Visited a Dallas Megachurch on Sunday: ‘I just had to come’ (Dallas Morning News)
- Fiancée of Philando Castile Speaks at Dallas Church (NBC News)
- After I-94: Sunday Morning in St Paul, Minnesota (White Bear Press)
- What Did You Preach After a Week Like This? Reactions from 10 Pastors Close to the Shootings (Christianity Today)
The tragedies came especially home for churches where the slain were members. The New York Times, for example, wrote the following:
At Watermark Community Church in Dallas, those who dropped off their children for Sunday school walked by the place where Sgt. Michael J. Smith had stood for years, sometimes on Sundays, sometimes during the week, by the glass doors leading to the preschool classrooms.
He had been there the previous Sunday, but he was not there for this one. Sergeant Smith, who provided security at the church while off duty and was also a member, was one of the sniper’s victims on Thursday night.
Even in cities far from the violence, churches were proactive on several fronts. Examples:
- Hope Church Pastor Will Meet with Colleagues to Discuss Solutions to Violence (Memphis, TN, Commercial Appeal)
- Days After Dallas, Houston Churches Work to Close a Racial Divide (Houston Chronicle)
- As Country Reels from Violent Week, Clergy Offer Messages of Healing (NPR)
- In Religious Services, Americans Mourn and Seek to Heal from Week of Violence (ABC News)
What did your church do? What’s ahead for your church? What other helpful examples of response do you know about? Please use the “comments” section below to add to the conversation.