Prayers requested for church members and congregations affected by Perry school shooting in Iowa

Northern Plains District of the Church of the Brethren is requesting prayer in the wake of the shooting at Perry High School in Iowa on Thursday morning, Jan. 4. At least two members of the district worked at the school or on the campus that the high school shares with Perry Middle School, and they have survived the shooting unharmed physically. Other district members teach at the elementary level in the Perry school district or have worked in the district in various capacities. Other families in the district have children in the Perry schools or are related to students.

District executive minister Tim Button-Harrison sent an email to the district ministers and board members after learning that at least one member of the district who teaches at the high school was present in the building at the time of the shooting. The teacher was physically unharmed, but affected emotionally. The shooter, who took his own life, was one of the teacher’s students, and other students of the teacher were injured.

Button-Harrison accompanied the teacher’s pastors in visiting yesterday to offer support and to pray with the teacher and their family. Family members expressed gratitude for church members who had come to be present with them immediately on hearing of the shooting.

The teacher “shared that he was down the hall when he heard the first shots and students began to flee,” Button-Harrison said. “He guided eight students into a classroom where they hid as the shooter went past, and was with them until it was safe to leave. The school principal was probably shot in the hallway right outside of the classroom.”

The district is holding in prayer the school principal, Dan Marburger, who was injured and underwent extensive surgery but is expected to survive.

Button-Harrison also visited and prayed with another district member who teaches in the Perry school district at the elementary level, and who is a basketball coach at Perry High School.

Requests for prayer

“The news is reporting that a sixth grade student was killed,” wrote Button-Harrison. “Pray for the family of the shooter, the family of the sixth grade student, for all those injured…for all the students, teachers, administrators, family, and community members traumatized by this event….

“I ask that today we unite in prayer and love for Perry, IA and all families and communities harmed by violence,” wrote Button-Harrison. “And then let us genuinely renew our commitment to teach and walk in the pathway of non-violence and love taught by Jesus and courageously raise our voices with all who are crying ENOUGH and seriously begin the hard work of ending the epidemic of gun violence in our country.”


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