By Stan Friedman
CHICAGO, IL (December 14, 2012) – Members of Evangelical Covenant churches held impromptu prayer meetings in response to today’s fatal shootings at the Sandy Hill Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut.
Worship leaders and pastors also began to discuss whether to alter at least part of their upcoming weekend worship services.
Mark Novak, executive minister of Ordered Ministry, led employees at Covenant Offices during a time of prayer this afternoon. He referenced Proverbs 31:8 – “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves …”
“We’re here to pray today for all those who can’t utter a word because they are suffering so much pain and loss,” he told the gathering.
Paul Corner, pastor of Salem Covenant Church in Washington Depot, Connecticut, asked members who were able to come to meet for prayer at the church this afternoon.
Some churches also were changing their worship service plans. Worship leaders shared with each other on Facebook what they are planning.
“We’re switching to “I Heard the Bells,” and the sermon will shift a bit to reflect the situation . . . we were already focusing on the idea that Jesus came to defeat the evil one,” said Jack Brown, pastor of Redeemer Covenant Church in Caledonia, Michigan.
Themes of living through dark times are part of Advent preaching, which pastors often address. “But now it’s moved from an idea to a reality,” said Andrew Gates, pastor of Bretton Woods Covenant Church in Lansing, Michigan.
“December 27th is the Massacre of Innocents Day on the western church calendar,” noted Matt Kennedy, worship leader at Roseville Covenant Church in Roseville, Minnesota. “It would not be inappropriate to observe it early this year. Think of Rachel weeping for her children.”