“In light of the on-going tragedy of mass gun shootings our faith commends us to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). We believe that every human being is created in the image of our Creator God (Genesis 1:26) and is therefore entitled to live in community free of the fear of gun violence and gun death. Scripture calls us to “beat our swords into plowshares” (Isaiah 2:4, Joel 3:10); our faith teaches us that our ultimate safety and freedom lies in God. It is therefore idolatrous to imagine that guns, especially semi-automatic and automatic weapons, will protect us from harm.”
—Excerpted from our Joint Statement on Reducing Gun Violence (2013)
From the Executive Director:
Please join me in prayer for Bishop Stanley Choate, Claire McMullen, Mark Castiglione and all the people of New England Pentecostal Ministries in Pelham, NH. On Saturday, October 12, a gunman entered this church and injured these three people: the bride, groom and officiant at their wedding. The bride and groom have been released to their homes but the bishop remains in hospital care.
We offer God our gratitude for the recovery already happening and we also offer God our sadness at the violation of safety people ought to feel in their churches, especially at sacred times like a wedding.
Some reporting stated that this church has recently undergone a course in active shooter response training. This training is reflected in reporting that members of the congregation were able to tackle and subdue the attacker, allowing law enforcement to arrive before further harm could be done.
Since 2017, the NH Council of Churches has connected many churches in the state with active shooter response training. Please reach out to the NH Council of Churches if you might like help with:
- Connecting to the NH Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to create an emergency plan for your church.
- Applying for grants through the federal Department of Homeland Security to add security measures to your church building.
- Finding resources through FEMA or your denomination for emergency preparedness.
If you are concerned about a potential threat, please report the threat to your local law enforcement or to your FBI field office.
While I am saddened about the harm done at New England Pentecostal Ministries, I recognize that we will support one another through the ministry of prayer and through sharing resources that lift us all up.
Yours in faith,
Rev. Jason Wells, Executive Director