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In the midst of tragedy let us gather around the table for holy conversations with God and each other.

This was an outrageous, senseless, and tragic act…Each death by violence diminishes each one of us.
— (Bishop Schnase responds to Sutherland Springs violence)

Once more we are faced with violence. Once more we feel our hearts break. Once more we see light diminish. Once more we are reminded that our world is broken. Once more we drop to our knees in prayer, crying out, asking God for words, listening for the call, and seeking ways we can put a stop to this chaos and devastation.

Lord in your mercy…

How do we talk to our children? How do we hold conversations in our families and in our communities?

How are you calling us to respond? 

In response to violence, persons of all ages will experience a multitude of emotions. Fear, anxiety, shock, anger, denial, confusion, and sadness are some of the normal reactions to this type of crisis. It is important to listen, reflect, pray and work together.

Listed below, you will find a guide for Holy Conversation in your family followed by prayers, family devotionals, and resources. The hope is that these resources will help your family and the families in your community process, reflect, and respond to this tragedy.

May our prayers and conversations stir in us a desire for a different world. May we hear the call and feel equipped to respond to God’s presence in our lives, offering love, mercy, and healing to a broken world. May we find strength in God and each other as we join together in the hard and holy work of reconciliation, justice, and peace.

Guide for Holy Conversation in your Family

Guide for Ministry Moments with Families, Children, and Persons of all Ages

Tips for Holy Conversation in the home:

  • Provide opportunities for children to express their feelings
  • Let children lead the conversation with their questions. 
  • Reassure them that they are safe and loved. 
  • Provide times of quiet and stillness for reflection and rest.
  • Pray for those who are affected. 
  • Limit the amount of exposure they have to the images and stories surrounding the event.
  • Stick with your routine and regular schedule as much as possible

Prayers

Responding to Sunday Violence, Bishop Schnase, Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church

A Prayer for Sutherland Springsby Maren C. Tirabassi

Psalm 42:

Selected verses, translated by Nan Merrill. Translation shared by Rev. Teresa Welbourn, District Superintendent of Capital District

My soul thirsts for the Beloved, 
  for the Living Water.
Tears have been my only nourishment day and night.
I feel the pain of war and injustice; 
  while the powerful seem to destroy,
  the innocent seem of no account.
O my soul, let not the quagmire of war
  keep me from radiating your peace,
  your love and light to the world.
My hope is in You.

Responding to Violence: UMC View points

Responding to Violence

Ways to keep the faith when the world seems wicked

Discipleship in the Midst of Tragedy

Responding to Violence: UMC Youth Ministry

A prayer for young people

Responding to a School Shooting: Three Approaches for Youth Workers

Stopping the Shootings – Youth Workers Can Help

Talking with Kids about news, tragedy, and violence

Acknowledging hurt in youth ministry

How to Help Children after a crisis

Helping children cope: Tips for talking about tragedy

Helping Children Cope With Tragedy Related Anxiety

How to Help Kids Feel Safe After Tragedy

How To Talk To Kids About Tragedies In The Media

Fred Rogers: Tragic Events

Coping with Disasters, Violence, and Tragedies

Resources for preparedness

Rio Texas and Church Mutual Resources

Church Mutual: ALICE Training Institute

CongregationU Course: Active Shooter Situations in Church Settings (Free until January 10th.)