BOSTON (BP) -- A day after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the iconic Boston Marathon Monday (April 15), pastors and other leaders were urging people to pray for Boston as the city grapples with the questions that arise from tragedy.
"I think it makes people think about their worldview whether they realize it or not." -- Steve Brown, pastor
Three people were killed and more than 170 were injured, including 17 who were still in critical condition Tuesday, according to The Boston Globe. Metal fragments found in marathongoers led investigators to believe the bombs were loaded with pellets or nails intended to harm as many people as possible, the newspaper said.
"I would say first of all to just pray for Boston. This was a huge shock," Jim Wideman, executive director of the Baptist Convention of New England, told Baptist Press. "Patriot's Day is a state holiday and a day that the Boston Marathon is always run. It's an exciting day for Boston. Up here, this far north, it really marks the beginning of spring for us.
"So it's a day that everybody looks forward to, and this action was calculated, I believe, to cause as much confusion as possible. It has left the city in shock," Wideman said.
Amid that shock, a group of young adults from the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, were making themselves available to talk with and pray for passersby on the streets near the site of the bombings.
The group had been in town since Thursday, working with Hope Fellowship Church, a Southern Baptist congregation about three miles away in Cambridge.
On Monday, the Prestonwood mission team handed out gum and invitations to Hope Fellowship to people who were watching the marathon.
"Some of our people actually walked down toward the finish line," Josh Steckel of Prestonwood told Baptist Press.
Around 2:30 p.m. Eastern, less than half an hour before the blasts went off, the group started heading back to the church.
"Some people said they heard something that sounded like gunshots," Steckel said. "We were away from the city when it happened, on our way back from the marathon already."
That night Hope Fellowship opened its doors for people to stop in and pray. Though residents of Boston were encouraged to stay home following what is being investigated as a terrorist attack, a few people from the neighborhood who aren't normally part of the church showed up to pray and to be prayed for, the church's pastor, Curtis Cook, said.
"We will have a special service [Wednesday] evening as a time to pray, read Scriptures, sing and have a chance for others in the neighborhood who might want to come in as well," Cook said Tuesday. "Obviously we'll speak to it on Sunday as well as part of our services." Read More