“Please lift in prayer families of Grossnickle Church of the Brethren who were directly affected by the shooting in Smithsburg, MD on Thursday, June 9,” said one of a series of prayer requests from the Mid-Atlantic District leadership. Three people were killed in a shooting at Columbia Machine on that afternoon, and at least one first responder, a Maryland state trooper, was among those wounded.
Two families in the Grossnickle Church lost family members in the shooting, including a son and a cousin of church members. In addition, a young man who was wounded in the shooting is a neighbor to many in the church community.
Nearby Welty Church of the Brethren is two miles from the local business where the shooting took place, and members there also have been affected. One of the congregation’s families is related to the state trooper who was wounded, and the congregation includes an EMS chaplain.
The shooting in Smithsburg followed on two critical incidents in Hagerstown, Md., said Diane Giffin of the Welty Church, interviewed by telephone. She shared that the first responders in the area “are just emotionally spent. We really need to keep then in our prayers.” She also expressed gratitude for the grief counseling and other mental health care resources available in the area. The Welty Church is considering holding a prayer vigil open to the community, where counselors and other helpful resources might be offered.
One of the district emails asked for prayers “for comfort, strength, hope and solutions.” District moderator Ellen Wile requested “prayers for the Smithsburg community, the Welty church and the strength and will for us to make a positive and Christlike difference in others’ lives.”
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