Resources to help churches respond to bombings; report from Old South


Old South Church reports that they are safe, secure

Old South - photo from Old South Facebook page

Old South Church UCC in Boston, which is located by the Boston Marathon finish line, reported via Facebook and the church website Monday afternoon that the church is safe and secure and asked for prayers for all those affected by the explosions in Copley Square.

Two explosions occurred near the Marathon finish line at about 3:00 PM, killing two and injuring dozens of others.

"We lift our heavy hearts to You today God. We ask for your gentle love to shower upon those impacted by the events of today. Walk with us as we move forward as a city, and people," the church posted. "Old South in Boston's building is secure and we echo the request of the Governor for all those to remain home and pray with our brothers and sisters. We thank all those who have expressed concern and prayer."

News coverage:


Old South ChurchThe Boston Globe: Two Back Bay churches begin road to recovery 

April 29, 2013


CNN: View over Boylston Street: Bostonians 'shaken' but resolute
April 28, 2013


VIDEO: NECN: Healing process begins at Old South Church 

April 25, 2013


Chicago Tribune: Boston bombings: Marathon finish line becomes a place of worship 

April 21, 2013


The Massachusetts Conference Disaster Resource Team sent this message out to churches and clergy on April 15th: 

As the events in Boston continue to unfold, we are even more aware of the challenges in the world in which we now live.  No doubt, we will have commentary and reflection in the days ahead which will seek to make sense of this or allow a place of conversation.  And we should.  
An explosion like this is a unique form of traumatic event.  There are those who are clearly traumatized by being at the event or through their relationships with those who were there.  There are also those who are impacted by all they see and hear as the news loops images over and over and everyone is talking.  
We have gathered resources that are helpful for everyone impacted by this traumatic event, including a section on how to talk with children about the story.  You can find those resources at our Disaster Resource Team web pages at

Keep an eye on these pages and emails in the days ahead for updates.  In the meantime, let's continue to hold each other and our churches and brothers and sisters in Boston in our prayers. 
For the Disaster Resource Team:
Don Remick
Jim Tilbe
Peter Wells
Note:  Anyone trying to reach a loved one who was participating in the Marathon can call 617-635-4500, a hot line setup by the Boston Police Department. Additionally the Red Cross has activated the Safe and Well system at  
A prayer sent out by First Church in Cambridge:

Today we pray that God is a very present help...

for all those who experienced first-hand today's horrific violence,
for those who have been injured and for their loved ones,
for those who were killed and for their loved ones, 
for all first responders -- police, fire, EMS -- and other public officials who are working hard to secure our area,
for all medical and trauma personnel who are caring for those impacted,
for those in the media who inform us compassionately,
for our brothers and sisters of all faiths that this may be a time of coming together,
for those faith communities in the impacted areas, especially Trinity Church and Old South Church,
for ourselves and all of our loved ones.

Scripture invites us to 'love our enemies' and so we also pray, if we are able, for those responsible for today's terrible violence. 

May God give us grace, courage and peace as we seek to process and understand this awful news. 
May God grant us patience in this time of uncertainty. 
May God give us hope, though the evening, in the morning and in the days ahead.

May we all find strength and hope in God and in the bonds of our families, friends and our beloved community.

Yours in faith,

Dan (and the First Church Staff)





1. Evelyn Lavelli wrote on 4/16/2013 10:50:56 AM
When disasters happen like the two bomb explosions at the Boston Marathon yesterday, people ask, "Where is God/Christ?" After the initial shock, I thought and prayed about an answer and then saw it on tv. The spire of Old South in the background reminded me that the reporters, bloggers, facebook postings, got the word out when all other communication was blocked. There was an emergency triage in close range, wheelchairs to transport the most injured and responders and volunteers alike who lept into action. It was no coincidence that help was within reach. Now witnesses need to come forward to close down this plan to terrorize an United Nations type annual celebration of health, life and liberty. Peace, strength and healing love to all in the midst, especially our sisters and brothers of the faith.
2. Paul Tellstrom wrote on 4/16/2013 3:50:12 PM
Beautiful comment, Evelyn. The question of theodicy can be best answered by looking into the faces of the first responders.