We here in the Office of Christian Formation are horrified and deeply saddened by the events that happened Monday at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Our hearts and prayers are with the victims, those present, the first responders, and all the people of Boston.
While we may not at this time be able to make sense of another seemingly senseless tragedy, there are some prayers and resources we would like to share with you – our community – that may strengthen and support you in the days to come. Please add your own resources to the comments section for others to use.
-The Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori has offered the following prayer:
Gracious God, you walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death. We pray that the suffering and terrorized be surrounded by the incarnate presence of the crucified and risen one. May every human being be reminded of the precious gift of life you entered to share with us. May our hearts be pierced with compassion for those who suffer, and for those who have inflicted this violence, for your love is the only healing balm we know. May the dead be received into your enfolding arms, and may your friends show the grieving they are not alone as they walk this vale of tears. All this we pray in the name of the one who walked the road to Calvary.
-Episcopal Relief and Development has developed a variety of resources, including curriculum around how to speak and minister to children after a disaster. To find their three-part curriculum (one for children, youth, and adults), and to read a web statement posted after the explosions, please click here. Also note that there is a reminder for everyone to review and update their disaster preparedness plan. (For tips on how to create a disaster preparedness plan, click here.) In addition, Working with Children After a Disaster: Tips for Parents and Teachers is a helpful one-page tip sheet filled with facts, links for further information, a prayer, and tangible suggestions to help children process and discuss after a disaster. It could be a bulletin insert or take-home for churches this week.
-As we strive individually and together to understand and react to events such as this, please remember that the most important step is to pray and then to listen. The community who has been directly impacted by this (and any) disaster will know best what they need in terms of response, donations, and acts of service. Right now the church leaders in Massachusetts are asking for our prayers..