Bishop Matthews calls for prayers, action, in wake of Mall shooting

MarcusMatthewsColumbia, MD — News today about the shooting and killing of 3 people at the Mall in Columbia (Maryland) has led Bishop Marcus Matthews of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference to issue a statement. In his statement Matthews acknowledges that this tragedy hits close to home since the annual conference’s offices are located just a few miles from the mall.

Matthews wrote:

It is with alarm and great sadness that I call upon the churches and the people of the Baltimore-Washington Conference to join me and with one another in prayer in the wake of the shooting at the Mall in Columbia, which is just a few miles from our Conference Mission Center.

As I write, details of the shooting are still being released. However, a deep sense of tragedy hangs in the air and, in addition to praying for the shooter, those killed and injured and all of their families, I find myself lamenting the lack of progress being made in our nation to end gun violence. There have been at least 10 shootings at public institutions this year alone. Just yesterday, at my alma mater South Carolina State University, a shooting claimed the life of a student.

This tragedy at the Mall in Columbia startles us since it hits so close to home. It is so near our Conference Center and several of our churches. It scares us when we and our neighbors are not safe shopping in our communities on a Saturday morning. The sudden and drastic nature of this crime must take us to our knees.

My first response is to pray, knowing that God is present with all who now mourn. We know that faithful is our God. While I earnestly pray, I also find myself troubled at the fact that our communities are disrupted and lives are fractured by such violence. As people of faith, we must claim our power to work connectionally to address violence and call for effective gun laws. As people of faith, we need to demand that our political representatives find ways to implement laws to help end senseless violence that continue to claim innocent lives.

As news of the shooting in Columbia spreads through the area, I also pray that you will reach out to one another with the love of God and with a voice that inspires justice, courage and peace. We have to hold on to the hope and comfort we find in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

May God be with all the victims, their families and with you all.

Bishop Marcus Matthews

Details about the shooting are still pending.

UMReporter Staff

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