The only response I can manage right now to to a story like this in the New York Times, is deep sadness, anger and prayer.
- “A gunman … opened fire at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the nation’s oldest black churches, on Wednesday evening, killing nine.
- Police arrested the suspect in Shelby, N.C., a town east of Charlotte and just north of the South Carolina state line.
- The Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the church’s pastor and a state senator, was killed, according to the minority leader of the State House of Representatives.
- The police said the other victims in the Charleston church shooting were six women and two men.
- The Charleston police chief, Greg Mullen, called the attack a hate crime.”
It is senseless…
Will you pause to pray?
I spent last week at a youth camp, Institute 2010: God’s All Stars, which is a ministry of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry of the Kansas East Annual Conference. This post is part of a series reflecting on the week and making applications for the local church.
Part of the practice of the week at camp was to share a prayer square. Here is the practice of the prayer squares:
- Choose a strip of cloth from the cross as a part of morning worship.
- Write your name on the square and carry it with you throughout the day.
- Return the strip of cloth to the cross as a part of evening worship.
- Repeat the next day and continue to be in prayer for all those whose names are written on the cloth.
- On the last day, take one home with you.
This is a cool practice. In addition to the opportunity to be in prayer, I was struck by the power of the entire camp moving forward to the cross. These pictures are from morning worship. You can see the cross in the front covered with green prayer squares and the students moving forward to the cross.
In what ways is your local church inviting people to the cross?
How are people equipped to pray for one another?
This morning I am headed with the team of senior staff at Resurrection to a retreat center in Missouri about 90 minutes away. I love to get away with other members of the staff to spend time together and dream about the future of the church. According to the last email update, here is the plan…
By consensus, the thrust of our time together will be to step away from the demands of our usual work to do three things:
- We will breathe, pray, reflect and be spiritually refreshed.
- We will form tighter, lasting, deeper relationships with one another.
- We will sharpen ourselves as leaders in God’s church.
This will be more of a retreat, in every sense of the word. There will be less time on future planning and more about just being together. I am looking forward to it.