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United Methodists respond to mall shooting

By Kathy L. Gilbert*
Dec. 7, 2007 | OMAHA, Neb. (UMNS)

United Methodists will gather for a prayer vigil Dec. 7 for the victims and families of those killed and injured in a mall shooting rampage.

Fred Wilson, a member of First (Omaha) United Methodist Church, was injured in the Dec. 5 shooting. Nine people — including the shooter — were killed and several others were wounded when 19-year-old Robert Hawkins began firing a semi-automatic rifle in the Westroads Mall.

United Methodist Bishop Ann Brookshire Sherer expressed her "deepest sympathy" over the tragedy and asked for prayers of comfort and peace for the victims of the shooting.

"The continuing violence in our culture is deeply troubling," said Sherer, who leads the church’s Nebraska Area. "We long for each of us to be an example of Jesus Christ — to learn and teach the ways of peace, forgiveness and concern for one another."

The Rev. Randy Sailors, superintendent of the Omaha District, announced a prayer vigil at St. Luke's United Methodist Church would be held Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.

"We, as United Methodists, are called to respond with our love, prayers and actions," he said.

In his letter of invitation to the vigil, Sailors asked everyone to respond with prayers and words of comfort and encouragement to the families involved during worship services Sunday, Dec. 9.

"May God's sustaining grace and mercy be with you all as you minister during this difficult time."

*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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