Middletown ministerial group hosting prayer vigil in wake of deadly school shooting

Two local pastors to address spiritual, social responses to ‘gun violence epidemic.’

Two local pastors, part of the Middletown Area Ministerial Alliance, will lead a prayer vigil and call to action service Friday night in response to the deadly shooting this week in a Texas elementary school.

The service begins at 7 p.m. Friday at Christ Church United Methodist, 700 S. Marshall Road, and will feature Pastor Evette Watt from Christ Church and Pastor Scotty Robertson from First Baptist Church. The vigil is expected to last about one hour and is free and open to the public.

Watt is expected to talk about the church’s “spiritual response” to Tuesday’s shooting that left 19 school children and two teachers dead and Robertson is set to address the “social response,” he said.

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On Tuesday, Salvador Ramos, 18, identified as the shooter, used an AR-style rifle to kill 21 people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Ramos was killed by police, officials said.

“There is no greater opportunity for the church to be a witness than times like these,” Robertson said. “We need to show that God is very present in these times of tragedies. God cares more than anyone will ever know about the loss of those children.”

He said it’s important for communities to come together to discuss ways to eliminate the “loss of innocent lives” and to have “candid conversations” about possible action plans.

Robertson believes 90% of the country agrees on what he calls “common sense” steps to reduce the “gun violence epidemic” in this country. He said the vast majority of people support universal background checks and red flag laws.

“We need to start there, but not end there,” he said. “We need to work from that place.”

There are about 10 churches active in the Middletown Ministerial Alliance, he said.

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