This evening (Friday, December 4), the Azure Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church will hold a prayer vigil intended to help the communities around Loma Linda, San Bernardino and Redlands, California experience the emotions that have accompanied Wednesday's mass shooting, and to begin the healing process.
The Azure Hills Church is located in Grand Terrace, California, a community adjacent to San Bernardino where Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik went on a shooting spree that resulted in fourteen dead and many more wounded.
Adjunct La Sierra University Religion faculty member and former Azure Hills pastor Marlene Ferreras, who is helping the pastoral staff plan the vigil, says the intent is to offer "sacred communal space to process our grief and loss as a community in light of the event."
Alger Keough, Pastor for Community at Azure Hills says the vigil will focus on the various emotions that people may have experienced during and after the shooting took place, focusing particularly on shock, sadness, anger, and hope. The service will include readings highlighting each of the emotions, and the names of the fourteen vitcims will be read aloud with candles lit for each victim.
Keough said they plan to involve first responders, reporters, congregation members, and pastors in the vigil.
Doors will open at 6:30pm, and the service will begin at 7:00pm. Members of all surrounding communities, and people of all faiths are welcome to attend.
The Azure Hills Church is located at 22633 Barton Road in Grand Terrace, California.
It is good to express our sorrow and be insolidarity with those that mourn the reality of
14 persons killed, 21 injured. When will the carnage stop? What are we doing as individuals and as a church to end the sale and promotion of a pro gun culture?
Gun violence impacts us in many ways: medical costs, costs of the criminal justice system, security precautions such as metal detectors, and reductions in the quality of life because of fear of gun violence.
U.S. lifetime medical costs for gunshot injuries total an estimated $2.3 billion
U.S. taxpayers pay for almost half ($1.1 billion or 49%) of lifetime medical costs for gunshot injuries
Only 1% of gun dealer account for almost 60% of crime guns recovered by police and later traced
In one year, at least 38,000 guns were “lost” out of gun dealers inventories
Guns with a short “time to crime” are disproportionately represented among crime guns. Guns manufactured and sold 3 years or less, prior to recovery by police in crime make up 34 % of recovered and traced crime guns, but only 14% of the US gun stock.
Guns sold as part of a multiple sale at a gun dealer were up to 64% more likely to be used in a crime than guns not part of such sales.
“No background check” sales account for an estimated 40% of gun sales in the U.S.
As a church we should be at the forefront of this battle against guns. Why are we silent? Prayers are welcome and needed, but we also need to voice our concerns.
Sources: ATF (2010); Brady Center; National Institute of Justice (2012); Police Foundation (2013)
Are we true statement of all time in the worst of circumstances first responder: heard enough, seen enough, spent enough, credible enough, tangible enough, rescue enough as a church with the community needs before tragedy strikes or are we complacency fogged Christians conveniently blind push our weight into the community grieves wishing to be on the front seat of unsolicited solace. Are we “from the heart” doers or are we rhetorical empty vessels the fly by night salesman brevity pitch that appetite no follow up? Are we the complacent fogs open only for business soliciting souls for Jesus on tragedies? Why not in the best of circumstances invite the community to a humanitarian generosity and kindness feast before tragedies?
Thank you, Sam, for the useful information. Clearly it IS time to act, and so Dan Jackson’s message was very wise indeed.
Sadly, thoughtsanon is correct in saying the best time for the traumatized would be later, and that the issue is polarizing even among the followers of Jesus, committed to living apart from ungodliness such as guns and violence. However, the close neighbors who are traumatized are a small minority, and as a church, we need to act speedily, while people have this on their mind. Unfortunately, as a church we have also lost much of our sense of direction due to compromising over the past 20 years with bearing weapons in the military. It is time to return to the teaching of non-combatant participation and the grand tradition of serving as medics.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.