Purchase District responds today after mass shooting at Marshall County High School


PRAYERS are being lifted for so many affected by this morning's MASS SHOOTING at Marshall County High School in Benton, KY. The school is located in the Purchase District of the Memphis Conference of The United Methodist Church. The Purchase District includes eight counties in western Kentucky.


Rev. Dr. Rob Martin, superintendent of the Purchase District, offered these words today:

Pastors in the Purchase District and specifically the Marshall County cluster (of churches) welcome the prayers of our brother and sister United Methodists across the Memphis Conference and the world.  

This tragedy has struck close to home as several United Methodists are among the students and staff of Marshall County High School. In response to this tragedy, prayer vigils were (and are) being held in congregations close to the school, including Calvert City United Methodist Church, which held a vigil at 11 a.m. following the tragedy.

We offer our condolences to the families of the victims, prayers of healing for those who were injured, and also, a prayer for the perpetrator of this tragic event and his family. We don’t have any answers as to why this tragedy happened, but we do trust in God’s mercy and grace to guide us through this dark valley and to comfort us in the midst of this storm. 


Below are two prayers shared by Purchase District United Methodist clergy via social media during the day:

Dear Lord, 
How long must we endure these news reports? 
Why do guns make it to concerts, movies, political rallies, churches, and schools? 
When will our children be safe? 
This world seems so full of violence, death, and division and today it is here in our radius, our backyard. 
Hear the cries today of our friends and neighbors impacted by yet another shooting in a place of learning. 
Make Your presence known. 
In the midst of pain give hope. Remind us you are a God of life and restoration. 
Help us to be a community guided by grace, love, and compassion that overcomes evil, violence, and suffering. Amen.

~Rev. Nancy Johnston Varden, pastor, Fulton First United Methodist Church, Fulton, KY


Almighty God,
we come before you, once again,
after another shooting.
We are sad, God.

So we ask you
to receive into your loving care
the souls of the persons killed,
to care for those who were wounded
or hurt in any way,
to console the family members or friends 
of those who died or were wounded,
and to strengthen the hands 
of the emergency responders, 
the medical professionals, and the caregivers.
We pray for the shooter too, 
as we must as Christians.

All this makes us inexpressibly sad, God.
But we know that the sadness we feel 
is your sadness.
It is the same sadness your Son expressed
when he wept over the death 
of his friend Lazarus.

We are tired, God.
We are tired of this issue being glossed over,
and of the narrative 
that gun violence can't be reduced.
But we know that the tiredness we feel 
is your tiredness.
It's the same tiredness Jesus felt 
after his own struggles against injustice.

We are angry, God.
Angry at our seeming powerlessness 
to prevent this,
angry that these shootings happen at all.
But we know that this anger is your anger.
It's the same anger Jesus felt 
when he overturned tables in the Temple,
furious anyone would be taken advantage of
in any way.

Help us see in these emotions 
your own desire for change.
Help us see in these feelings 
your moving us to act.
Help us see in these reactions 
your pushing us to do something.
For Jesus did not stand by 
while people were being hurt;
he plunged into their lives.

So help us to answer the question:
How can we help?
We are sad over the loss of life,
tired of excuses for loss of life,
and angry that we are paralyzed by loss of life.

So turn our sadness into compassion,
our tiredness into advocacy,
our paralysis into freedom to act.
And help us to be compassionate,
to advocate, and to act
as did your Son.

This we pray in his name.

~By Rev. Jason W. Jones, pastor, Lone Oak United Methodist Church, Paducah, KY (adapted from Fr. James Martin)

Information compiled by Lane Gardner Camp, Director of Communications, Memphis Conference