The pastors of First United Methodist Church of Carson City, Nevada, the Revs. Rob and Dixie Jennings-Teats, say they are ministering to people on a personal level, in the aftermath of Tuesday's shooting rampage at the IHOP restaurant in Carson City.
Four restaurant patrons were killed and seven others wounded when a man, described in various press accounts as mentally troubled, fired dozens of rounds from an assault rifle into their midst before taking his own life. Three of the dead were members of the Nevada National Guard.
The Jennings-Teats family has a personal connection to a man who was in the restaurant when the shooting took place, escaped out the back door, and then returned to treat the wounded and dying (See "IHOP Shooting: There Were Bullets Flying Everywhere," by F.T. Norton, Nevada Appeal, at www.nevadaappeal.com), but Rev. Rob (at left) says none of the victims attended the church. Some members do know family of some of those killed, however, he says, and adds, "The whole thing is very traumatic for the whole community."
Tuesday evening, the pastors sent out a message to their congregation, asking members to join them in prayer for comfort, healing, and peace for all those affected.
Their message follows:
We are all shocked by the senseless acts of violence that have erupted in our hometown today as people were eating their breakfast at IHOP. We are all shaken and upset by these events and our hearts and prayers go out to the innocent victims and survivors of this tragedy. God is especially felt at times like these, and we can be confident and trust in God's grace to bring us out of this dark moment. I would like you to join me in this prayer.
O LORD, listen to our cry as we sense the pain and anguish of the innocent who have lost their lives today or who are struggling to hold onto their lives in the hospital. We pray for the families who have lost their loved ones in such a senseless way. Help them to know your presence and bring them a peace and comfort for the sorrow they feel. For those who are still in the hospital, bring your healing Spirit to mend their bodies and give them life. Guide those in the healing professions as they provide their skills and care in treating their wounds. Help each survivor and their families to place themselves in your care and goodness.
Bring your peace to Carson City so that all of us can take courage and not be afraid. Help us to rise above this evil and be guided by your loving hand. Keep us faithful so we put our trust in you, lest we be afraid and turn our fear into worry and mistrust. Help us to offer a helping hand to any who are recovering from the events of today, whether they be the grieving families and friends, or those suffering in the hospital, or those who were witnesses to these tragic events, or those who were first responders and have ministered to the hurt and dying, or those in our community who are uncertain and afraid, and even the family of the man who has done this horrible thing.
O Lord, bless Carson City with your peace and comfort and place in our hearts the desire to make our town a more loving place, in a more fitting memory of those who lost their lives today. We place ourselves in your hands of mercy and love, in Jesus' holy and precious name. Amen.
Grace and peace,
Revs. Rob and Dixie
(2009 Photo of the Rev. Rob Jennings-Teats by Paul "Spud" Hilton.)