Seminaries associated with the Christian denomination of The Covenant School and its affiliated church expressed grief and called for prayer in the wake of the deadly shooting at the school that killed six, including three children.
“Please pray for the community of The Covenant School and Covenant PCA in Nashville today as our friends and alumni there grieve devastating tragedy,” tweeted the St. Louis-based Covenant Seminary, the flagship seminary of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).
Both The Covenant School and its church are affiliated with the PCA and Pastor Chad Scruggs, whose 9-year-old daughter Hallie was killed in the shooting, was a graduate of Covenant Seminary.
Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, whose graduates go on to serve in the PCA and other Presbyterian denominations, also released a statement and prayer for those mourning.
“Westminster Theological Seminary is deeply grieved to hear of the active shooter event at Covenant School, Covenant Presbyterian Church, in Nashville, resulting in the death of at least three children,” the school said. “We urge you to join us in prayer for our brothers and sisters impacted by this tragedy. May the Lord’s Word and presence offer all comfort at this time.”
“Our Father in Heaven, Blessed is your name. You are the source of all goodness, blessing, and grace. We ask that our dear brothers and sisters, who have been cast low into the darkness of the valley, may be, by your grace, enabled to look above upon the mount, seeing the light of Christ shine into this great valley of darkness.”
“Oh, Father, you are always more ready to hear than we are to pray, and are always willing to freely forgive. Grant us, and those afflicted, this grace,” the school added. “We pray these things, Father, by your Spirit, and in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”
“For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
— Romans 8:26, quoted in a statement on the shooting released by PCA leaders
The coordinators and presidents of the PCA’s agencies and committees also released a statement Monday, saying they “join others around the denomination to offer our heartfelt prayers to the families of The Covenant School, Covenant Presbyterian Church, and the broader community.”
“We mourn with those who mourn and ask that the Lord would draw near to the brokenhearted,” they said.
“We ask Him to grant wisdom to the authorities as they investigate, as well as to church and school leaders as they minister to grieving parents, siblings, and spouses, to the church congregation, and the city of Nashville,” they continued.
The PCA leaders concluded by quoting from the eighth chapter of Romans: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
Established in 1973, the PCA formed when 260 congregations primarily from Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina broke off from the Presbyterian Church in the United States in response to what they saw as encroaching theological liberalism in the mainline denomination. The PCA has since grown to include more than 375,000 members and over 1,540 churches, according to its website.
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