News and Views

A Statement on the Mass Shooting in Perryman

Posted by Guest Author on

Dear friends,

My heart breaks with grief for my Perryman community today in the wake of the mass shooting at the Rite Aid Distribution Center. As of right now, we know that four precious lives were lost, and three others are in the hospital. Many others are dealing with deep wounds of trauma. Families are grieving. Our community is shaken. There are many questions and not many answers.

In the midst of this tragedy, I turned to these simple prayer words found in the Book of Common Prayer that I often say at funeral services – “In the midst of life we are in death; from whom can we seek help? From you alone, O Lord...” Indeed, life is fragile, and I am reminded of that yet again. There is so much brokenness and death in our world, so much that is not right, so much violence, hate, and suffering.

Less than a year ago, I kept vigil with my community in the wake of another workplace mass shooting in Harford County. In the midst of so much pain and grief, we cried out together, “How long, O Lord?” Today we cry out and grieve yet again. And so we pray:

God of love and comfort,
We cry out to you for help. We cry out for strength to love and forgive, for comfort amid our pain, for courage to be peacemakers, for hope even in the terrible things. We cling to you, O God, believing that you give us all we need to face the brokenness in our world and heal together.

We pray for all affected by this violence: the victims, families, Rite Aid employees, the Perryman community. We pray for the shooter and her family. We also lift up prayers of thanksgiving for our first responders, community leaders and agencies that mobilized and worked together to save lives. Help us put our prayers into action so that we work together to end gun violence and build a community of peace. We pray all these things through Christ who gives us strength for today and hope for tomorrow  - AMEN

I give thanks for the outpouring of love, prayers, and support for our grieving community. Today we have a powerful opportunity to unite in prayer together in a Community Prayer Vigil at Cranberry UMC at 7 PM. I invite all who are able to come as we continue to prayerfully respond and walk together, shining God’s light of love and peace.

Rev. Tiffany Patterson
Cranberry United Methodist Church