United Methodists Pray for Buffalo Plane Crash Victims

February 14, 2009

By United Methodist News Service*

Feb. 13, 2009


United Methodists in the Buffalo, New York, area were among those mourning victims of the crash of Continental Flight 3407.


According to the Rev. Natalie Hanson, the denomination's Niagara Frontier District Superintendent, a church family at Pendleton Center United Methodist Church in North Tonawanda, N.Y., lost a loved one on the flight.


The plane was about seven miles from Buffalo Niagara International Airport when it went down around 10:20 p.m. on February 12, striking a house in Clarence Center. All 49 people aboard were killed, along with one person in the house.


Hanson requested prayer for the Pendleton church and its pastors as they minister to the family. She also asked for prayer to support the Rev. Chuck Smith and the congregation at Clarence Center UMC as they minister to their community. The Clarence Center church is within a mile of the crash site.


Bishop Marcus Matthews of the New York West Area issued a statement about the crash early on February 13. "Our hearts are broken," the statement declared.


"To all those who lost loved ones on Continental Flight 3407 this past Thursday evening, and for the community of Clarence Center and for all those who responded to the call for assistance following the disaster - we, the people called United Methodists, offer our prayers of support.


"We also lift in prayer the faith communities, including many of our United Methodist pastors, who will be surrounding these families and friends with love. We extend gratitude to those who will offer special counseling for those persons in deep grief and shock."


Matthews asked churches to observe a moment of silence on Sunday, February 15, for those affected by the plane crash.


*Marilyn Kasperek, Director of Communications for the United Methodist Western New York Conference, provided information for this report.