Changing the narrative: West Michigan church holds prayer and discussion following Texas shooting

Prayer service for Texas victims held in Grand Haven

GRAND HAVEN, MICH. - The Texas church shooting has people all over the country mourning, including many here in West Michigan. 

Police say on Sunday, a gunman opened fire inside a Texas church. He killed 26 people and later died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

When Rev. Jared Cramer, the Rector at Saint John's Episcopal in Grand Haven heard the news, he knew he had to do something--to not only remember those we lost, but discuss how we as a community can change the narrative. 

"The more details came out the more unsettled we became," Cramer said. "People with very different ideas can come together and have conversation." 

The Reverend provided a platform to do just that. After a brief prayer service Monday afternoon, Cramer organized a discussion, about an issue, passionate to many. 

"Our entire society seems to be sad and broken," one parishioner at St. John's said. 

A round-table conversation was held for parishioners to discuss what the community can do to prevent tragedies like the shooting in Sutherland Springs. 

"The big question for me is, how do we respond to something this horrible thing with love?" another parishioner asked. 

"What would we do in a situation like this?" another added. 

The group asked tough questions and searched for the even tougher answers. 

"There's got to be a way to give these people some focus so they're not committing these kinds of acts." 

"We need to have some really hard conversations as Christians about the complicitness we have, with violence in this society," Rev. Cramer said.  "We need to be honest about that and also continue the hard conversation of what laws need to be put in place that will keep us safer." 

The group did discuss what safety measures they can take for their own church. Rev. Cramer is considering calling the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety to see if they can provide active shooter training for church members that are interested. 

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