In the wake of the tragic movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., religion has played a role in helping the small community heal. As with every conflict and crisis in modern American history, several Blacks in clergy in the Aurora and surrounding community have lent their prayers and hearts during this time.
Just days after the movie theater massacre that injured 58 people and killed 12, several Black pastors and ministers shared words of faith at the mass prayer vigil. They have continued their outreach by holding prayer vigils at their own churches.
Pastor Ron Frierson of Heart for the World Christian Center was one of those who offered a prayer at the mass vigil after the shooting. His church also held a prayer vigil the week after the shooting.
“All things are possible when we come at things with an opposite spirit and when we take everything to God in prayer,” he said. “Revival starts in us, and it’s contagious, so spread it.”
During his prayer at the mass vigil, Frierson reminded citizens that leaning on their own faith in God would help with healing.
“I want you to be reminded, because what you’ve experienced, what you go through is something that transcends what you do in your everyday job. This is above and beyond the call of duty, but it also affects your family life, and I ask God to comfort you. I want you to remember these words,” he said to the crowd.
Pastor Robin Holland of Living Hope Baptist Church was another Black clergy member who offered prayer at the vigil. Six members from his church were in the theater the night of the shooting, and all six survived. Members of his church were the first religious leaders on the scene, and his choir sang at the prayer vigil.
“When theater 9 opens again, I will lead the way in going back in…and I want you all to follow me. We’ll watch a movie together and reclaim that theater,” Holland said at the vigil. “One day, Lord, we know that our city will march back into that theater and we’ll claim that theater back, father God, ’cause it doesn’t belong to terrorists, it belongs to the city of Aurora.”
Robert Gelinas, lead pastor of Colorado Community Church, has offered several services through his ministry to help those who have been dealing with tragedy. Some members of his 3,200-member church were victims of the shooting. He and his team of pastors have offered their time to personally counsel families who have been affected by the shooting. The church has also made praying for victims a highlight of weekend church services.
“All the victims had moms, dads, brothers and sisters,” he said. “We need to lift them all up. We must pray for them.”