We Grieve and Stand Vigil
Individuals, congregations, and communities across Canada struggle with responding to the deaths of twenty-two, one of whom was pregnant, that began late on Saturday, April 18th and ended late in the morning on Sunday, April 19th in north central Nova Scotia. The lone gunman was shot by police. With being in the midst of a pandemic, gatherings to provide support can not happen.
On Sunday, April 19th, the Right Reverend Richard Bott, Moderator of the United Church of Canada, posted this prayer:
For the people of Portapique,
neighbours and community,
For the victims of the shooting,
though I don’t know name or number,
For their pain and their loss,
for their shock and confusion,
for all that has happened because of
I pray your grace,
your strong presence,
your overwhelming love,
God of all creation.
In Jesus’ name…
The Most Reverend Linda Nicholls, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, writes on April 20th that “our hearts are with Nova Scotia“. She reminds us that as we turn to prayer in this time of unexplainable tragedy, we cry to God and know God cries with us.
God of compassion and mercy, our hearts are filled with pain and bewilderment at this act of violence that has injured some and taken the lives of so many.
We pray for all who grieve the loss of loved ones. We pray for those who have been wounded or injured. We give thanks for the RCMP and first responders, especially Constable Heidi Stevenson who gave her life to protect her community and her wounded colleague.
We pray for all in Nova Scotia as they face this random violent disruption that has destroyed their peace and left a legacy of betrayal and pain. May the inner wounds to hearts and souls be comforted by your peace that can transform death and bring life again.
We pray for the family and friends of the perpetrator in their struggle with this betrayal of relationships.
May they know you walk with them too.
We ask for your healing for our broken world in which such evil can find a home in a human heart and be so destructive.
We ask your grace to provide comfort in this time of continuing physical isolation from one another. In our sorrow and grief may your presence be near to hold the pain, comfort our hearts and renew our hope. We lift our hearts in anguish and ask for your healing today and in the days to come through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Rev. Penny Nelson, and the Tatamagouche Pastoral Charge churches of Brule Union, Bayhead Union and Sharon United, invited people across the country to light a candle to remember the victims and their families in the tragedy that unfolded in Nova Scotia.
“People and communities across our province have been devastated by the deaths of the shootings this weekend. Our hearts long to be together to comfort and mourn. Even though we cannot gather physically, we can gather our hearts together, and we can still hold vigil with all who are grieving.
This evening, Monday, April 20th, you are invited to light a candle between the hour of 8pm and 9pm and place it in a window.
May these lights remind us that we are not alone, that love surrounds us and will carry us through.”
She offers the following prayer to accompany your candle lighting:
Holy God, Hear the prayers of our hearts this evening.
We pray for those who have died in the shootings this weekend, that their souls might find love and peace in your presence. Sustain and uphold all those who are grieving this night, including those who have not yet received word of a loved one’s safety. Strengthen with your presence all who are numb with fear and distress, and enfold us all in your love, protection, and care, O God.
All this we ask, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The Right Reverend Richard Bott, Moderator of the United Church of Canada, added to that invitation in a video with a reflection and prayer.
Regional Council 15 (Nova Scotia and Bermuda) of the United Church of Canada held a virtual Prayer Vigil for Nova Scotia on Wednesday, April 22nd to be a time to join hearts together across the Region, across the United Church, and across Canada. This prayer vigil was a time to offer prayer, to share in grief, to hold the victims, their families and friends, the clergy, and leaders of Colchester County in love and support.
It can be watched here.
Ringing Bells Across the Nation
Glenn rang the bell outside the Church of St Paul
on behalf of the members of the North Thompson Ecumenical Shared Ministry
Strike the bell and, then, pause.
Strike the bell and, then, pause.
Nova Scotia Remembers: A Loving Tribute for Those We Lost, a virtual vigil, was originally live-streamed on the Colchester – Supporting Our Communities Facebook page and broadcast on several television stations on Friday, April 24th. It included musical tributes and messages of support and hope from a variety of people who have connections to Nova Scotia. An internet search of “Nova Scotia vigil” will bring up several links.
The hymn “When Pain of the World Surrounds Us” is written by Jim Strathdee. It is #704 in Evangelical Lutheran Worship and #598 in Voices United.