DALLAS—Texas Baptists leaders have joined together in a call for prayer in response to the mass shooting in El Paso on Aug. 3 which took the lives of 22 people and injured dozens more.
“Our Texas Baptist family is heartbroken over the tragic and senseless mass shooting of this past weekend in El Paso,” said Executive Director David Hardage. “We are so grateful for the wonderful churches and pastors in that city who have responded so well with the love of Christ and will continue to do so. Thank you all for your prayers for those individuals and families personally impacted and for those providing care and comfort."
Michael Evans, Texas Baptists president and pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield, shared, “We should be in prayer for our brothers and sisters who have been victimized by these horrific attacks in the face of evil personified. Also, I believe that it should be the posture of the church not only to pray, but to be advocates for peace on behalf of our entire society. As it says in Ephesians 6:23, ‘Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.’”
Gus Reyes, director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission said, “The murder of any person should grieve our souls. When a group of people are murdered because of their ethnic background it pushes us to even deeper levels of grief because it's not just loss of life; it's an expression of deep-seated fear and hatred. This is so contrary to the Gospel and to Jesus' message to love all people.” He went on to say, “In moments like these, because of our faith, we can be ambassadors of Christ, offering His help, His hope, and His peace.”
Local churches and TBM respond with prayer and service
TBM volunteers responded within hours of the tragedy, providing support and meals to first responders. Glen Pennington, Mike Moss, and other volunteers took donations and provided care throughout the day on Aug. 3. “When we got the call, that’s what we’re trained for – whether it’s feeding migrants at a migrant center or responding in the wake of a disaster,” Pennington said. “We’re just here to do whatever is needed.”
Six local Baptist churches joined together for a prayer service in El Paso on Aug. 4, one day after the shooting. Mark Rotramel, pastor of First Baptist Church of El Paso, expressed gratitude to Texas Baptists for reaching out through emails and calls over the first 24 hours.
“Continue to pray for all of our churches,” Rotramel said. “This is a great opportunity for us to point our city to Jesus and for Him to give the comfort only He can give.”
Pastor Patrick Six, of Scotsdale Baptist Church in El Paso, also noted additional prayers for Christians in the city were needed.
“The biggest thing is for us to be light in the darkness,” he said. “Christ is our light. El Paso, like every city, needs the hope of Christ. Pray that we would be strong and courageous with that message and with God’s love.”
Rotramel shared that FBC El Paso and other sister churches would assess needs in the coming weeks and find ways to tangibly respond and care for victims and their families.