Terror in Texas: United Methodists Are Called to be Peacemakers

November 06, 2017

Called to be Peacemakers

The general secretary for Church and Society responds to the mass shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, TX.

Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe | November 6, 2017

The United States is once again grappling with another mass shooting. And again, in a place of worship.

We lift up to God those who have died and those who have lost family members at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, TX. May they be enveloped in God’s comforting peace and healing now and in the days to come.

This violence continues to desecrate churches, neighborhoods, schools, concerts, movie theaters, and clubs. Our communities are being ripped apart by gun violence.

As heartsick as this makes us, we cannot and must not throw up our hands in defeat. To do nothing to combat the evils of gun violence is irresponsible and contradictory to Christ’s call to be peacemakers. Read the rest of this statement on UMCJustice.org | Download this Gun Violence Pastoral Cheat Sheet
Pastors become chaplains after church massacre
By Sam Hodges
Nov. 6, 2017 | UMNS

As All Saints Day worship wrapped up at Floresville United Methodist Church, the Rev. Peter Aguilar got word of a mass shooting.

It had happened at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, in the same rural Texas county as his church.

 “I know the sheriff, so I called him and said, ‘Do you need me?’” Aguilar recalled in a phone interview. “He said, ‘Yeah.’”

By 12:15 p.m., Aguilar had made the 10-mile drive and arrived at the scene, the first local pastor to counsel survivors, first responders and others.

“They had already roped off the church, but there were shell casings all over and a body on the front lawn. It was carnage,” Aguilar said. Read the rest of the story on UMC.org
Churches and Gun Violence: 7 Practical Preparation Tips
By Rebekah Simon-Peter | November 7, 2017

What’s a church to do? I want to share with you 7 practical tips from Rev. Derrek Belase, a former certified police officer turned pastor, with two degrees in criminology. He is now the Director of Discipleship of the Oklahoma Annual Conference. His current portfolio includes coordinating the Safe Sanctuary Training.

Derrek believes that you can’t completely prevent gun violence from erupting. Even with the best laid plans or the best legislation. Then what? How can a church adequately protect itself? Here are 7 practical tips that can help any church prepare for the unexpected. Read more on Rebekah Simon-Peter's blog 
Ways United Methodists can take a stand against gun violence
A UMC.org Feature by Joe Iovino

When we hear the tragic news of a shooting, United Methodists mourn with the victims and families of those wounded or killed. We turn to God in prayer, longing for a day when violence will cease.

In addition, many people consider what actions we could take to prevent something similar from happening in the future. So, what can we do? Read more on UMC.org
Becoming a Peacemaker: A Reflection
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” How can you answer God’s call for peacemakers, when world news can be full of tension and when our definition of justice can conflict with policies or legal decisions?

In this video meditation,Sophia Agtarap shares what it means to be intentional about being a peacemaker and offers the Serenity Prayer as a tool to help us spread peace in the world and peace in our hearts. It offers a quiet reflection to view and share with others. Watch the video and read the transcript on UMC.org
A United Methodist Prayer: Turning to God in Days of Trouble
Life brings good days and bad. From natural and man-made disasters to personal struggles, we all face tough times. God is always there to comfort us. "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." (Psalm 50:15)

On those days that end in "why," this prayer reminds us of God's constant presence in our lives. Watch the video and read the transcript on UMC.org