From Bishop Humphrey:
Psalm 46 begins, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” and ends, “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.”
As we await further details and absorb news of yet another mass murder, we lift our prayers for all victims, those who mourn with unspeakable pain and those whose lives and sense of security have been shaken. We give thanks for those who respond first to such violence and lift our prayers for Virginia Beach, our Commonwealth and Nation.
We learned on Saturday that one of the victims who died in yesterday’s mass murder in Virginia Beach, Michelle “Missy” Langer, was a long-time member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, one of our ELCA congregations. We lift our prayers, offer our support and pledge ourselves to finding ways to strive for greater justice and peace.
From Pastor Scott Mims (Good Shepherd, Virginia Beach):
So grateful for all of the prayers being lifted up for our community and congregation right now, and for knowing that we are connected to a community of faith far greater than ourselves!
From Pastor Cathy Mims (First, Norfolk):
I would ask your prayers for my husband’s congregation, Good Shepherd Lutheran. One of their members, Missy Langer, was killed in yesterday’s shooting. She was a quiet, gentle person with a warm smile and big heart. #VBStrong
From Pastor Harry Griffith (Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Virginia Beach; Dean, Tidewater Conference):
Let our intercessory prayers reflect resurrection instead of the question of why as we include our city, its civil personnel and victims’ families.
From St. Michael, Virginia Beach:
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26- 27)
It’s hard to speak a prayer for Virginia Beach in these hours of disbelief and shock as we wait for news and mourn, mourn, mourn. Holy, holy, holy, God, We pray for the victims and their families. We pray for the people of Virginia Beach. We pray for the peace of Christ, a peace that reigns even in conflict, sadness, anger and even death. Grant your peace Lord God Almighty to hold our hearts together for the sake of the lives taken away today, for the sake of the broken-hearted families, mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, children longing to see their parent again... for the sake of the community and for the sake of our abiding faith in your power to bring joy from sadness and life from death. Send your peace! In the name of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord - in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever more! Amen.
From Pastor Kelly Bayer Derrick (Assistant to the Bishop):
My prayers are with the communities of Hampton Roads following the horrific and tragic shooting in VA Beach this afternoon. May the promise of the resurrection bring hope to those who grieve. May God grant strength to those injured. May God bring comfort to your communities; for many this tragedy triggers other trauma. May God uphold those who lived through this tragedy and whose lives will never be the same. May God grant peace to first responders, whose witness to such horror will surely traumatize them as well. May God help us all to denounce such acts of violence and terror. May God bring hope in despair and light in the darkness. May God enfold us in Christ's peace.