In the wake of a deadly weekend during which 32 people were killed in mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, a local preacher is stretching out his arms and inviting people of all denominations to his Fox Chapel church.
“We need to build community,” said the Rev. Scott Shaffer, pastor at Faith United Methodist Church.
Shaffer encouraged Lower Valley neighbors to come together in prayer at his West Chapel Ridge Road church and take action against gun violence.
“My heart is broken with yours for the horrific violence experienced over the past weekend, as well as in other places in recent weeks and months,” Shaffer said in a statement to the congregation. “I will continue praying with you, without ceasing, for an end to this epidemic of gun violence in our country.”
Faith United and its sister ministry, Roots of Faith in Sharpsburg, will host upcoming events for the community that include a summer cookout, women’s Bible group and book study. There also will be a “Messy Church” event for children.
“While these may seem unrelated to gun violence, they are in fact opportunities to build relationships of love and trust out of which we can find ways to transcend divisions in our world and take action for justice,” Shaffer said.
Events will include:
• A summer camp-out in August or September where people can cook hot dogs and s’mores over a campfire on the wooded campus of Faith United. Anyone interested can set up a tent and camp overnight.
• Messy Church for children of all ages at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 13 and Sept. 10. There will be dinner, crafts, songs and a bible lesson.
• A new women’s group led by Roots of Faith volunteer Mary Jayne Kozlowski. It is pegged as a time for scripture and support.
• A new four-week study group that aims to build relationships and grow the church.
For more on any of the events, visit faithfoxchapel.org/home or call 412-963-8155.