God will 'wrestle the light from darkness,' pastor tells heartbroken congregation
A woman receives a hug as she leaves a morning service at Trinity Episcopal Church not far from the Sandy Hook School December 16, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut
December 16th, 2012
09:18 PM ET

God will 'wrestle the light from darkness,' pastor tells heartbroken congregation

By Eric Marrapodi and Kate Bolduan, CNN

Newtown, Connecticut (CNN)– The bulletins were printed on Thursday for the third Sunday of Advent for Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown. There was no mention of Friday in the pages' long order for worship.

By Sunday morning, the church was hosting its fourth service since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, and the sanctuary had been open for 72 straight hours keeping vigil.

A half-empty pallet of tissue boxes greeted church members as they arrived in the front hallway. As the second of the morning's two worship services got underway, people were already quietly weeping in their seats.

Young children sat and quietly played or colored next to their parents, unaware of the tragedy around them or that their friend Benjamin Wheeler, a 6-year-old who attended Trinity with his family, was not there. Wheeler was among the 26 people killed at Sandy Hook on Friday when a gunman burst into his elementary school.

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Pastor Kathleen Adams-Sheperd recounted to the church how she spent Friday at the fire station, waiting with the parents of elementary school children to find out if their child had made it out safely or was among those who did not.

"Friday in some part has changed our lives forever," she said in her sermon as she stood in the middle of the congregation, eschewing the pulpit for proximity to her members.

Speaking to a crowd still raw and still suffering, she told them of the sermon she had prepared and how it was long gone, asking them to be patient with her as she preached with no notes.

On this day, she said, it was "important to be where we are," to be "present with people." She encouraged them to hug one another.

"No, really, get up and hug someone," she said. Old and young, visitors and members, embraced tearfully.

"Families of our lovely innocent children need our prayers," she said. "Families who survived need our prayers."

"I want you to know talking to the ones who have lost, the one spot of joy is that your children are not lost."

Adult men from the church were posted at the doors this week, she said, so the children in the service and Sunday schools would know this was a safe place for them.

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Dressed in purple vestments and wearing a small stud nose ring, Adams-Sheperd walked the church through pieces of the planned Advent service, when Christians light four candles in the four weeks leading up to Christmas to prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

"I believe faith will save us," she said. "To loose this faith is to let the darkness win."

"Was God absent from our world?" she asked, a burning question on the minds of many in this heartbroken town.

"Indeed not."

"Have we been shaken? Yes. Have we seen hope? Yes, yes, yes."

She pointed to the hero teachers who shielded children, administrators from the school who rushed toward the shooter, and the first-responders as evidence of that hope.

"So many signs of hope and light in the darkness that seems to envelope us; that's what Advent is," she said.

She said she believed the horrific acts were not the will of God.

"Where was God? Surrounding all the children. The 430 that made it out, and the 20 that did not."

God, she said, "was with them, is with them, and will be with them always.

"God will find a way to bring comfort and hope and light. He will wrestle it from the darkness."

In the coming days the church will see multiple funerals, including for little Benjamin Wheeler on Thursday and for another classmate, 6-year-old Madeleine Hsu, on Friday. Adams-Sheperd told the church local funeral directors had donated costs of the funeral to the families.

Cameras were not permitted to film the worship service but the church welcomed reporters to come and worship. Adams-Shepard explained to the crowd she would not go on camera and talk to reporters because she had given her word to the victim's families, and that what happened in the school is "owned by the parents."

She told the congregation if anyone was holding any enmity in their heart it was time to let it go.

"I'm done. I love you. Pray, everyone," she said. And with that she turned to prayer and recited the name of each victim.

CNN's Jeremy Moorhead contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Episcopal • Violence

soundoff (604 Responses)
  1. Julian the Apostate

    Yes, god loves all children. Unfortunately x-tianity says those that don't accept the nazarene get to burn for all eternity, so I guess any of those kids who were non-xtian aren't with god.

    And you xtians wonder why so many non-believers look upon your beliefs with contempt.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • troy

      You clearly know nothing of the gospel. Because those kids were not at the age where they can accept or reject christ, they are not held to the same standards as we are. Therefore, they are in the arms of christ as we speak.
      May God bless the victims families.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Actually Troy, you are wrong. Christianity had for many centuries taught that any person not baptized in the church, whether a baby or adult is sent to hell when he/she dies. The Catholic Church just very recently changed that and now teaches that babies who are not baptized and die without being baptized end up in a type of "limbo". I'm glad I'm not a member of that cult anymore but that is what they teach. You can either be a member of the cult and get a chance to end up in "heaven" or you go to hell if you're not.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Bwain


      That is not Christianity. Even if the majority of Christians believed that, it is wrong. Here is the thing about humans, even Christians, sometimes they are wrong. But the message of Jesus says the opposite of what you think it does.

      We believe that God has made a provision, not necessarily known to man, for the healing and care for all of His creation. And not simply just our little part of it.

      If there is any good news that is truly good news for everybody, and not just a few somebodies it is this: God is greater than the best of those who profess to know and serve him.

      Jesus came to save the world, not condemn. Jesus spent his time here with the lowly. The non-religious. The people that needed God. God is with those people who are suffering from that tragedy. God's people are the poor, the distraught, the suffering and the hurt.

      If you don't need God, good for you. That's great. But let God's people, us who are suffering and need HIm, receive His love without your resentment.

      This is about our hearts. Our spirits. It has to go from your brain to your heart, your innermost self, to understand God's ways.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • David

      God's people are the ones that are suffering?? They are the ones receiving his love? What kind of love is that? These families had their children taken away from them, how are they getting any love?

      December 16, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • logicalhuman

      @ Troy.. So Troy the xtrian believes that children that die are given a free pass to heaven. Here is when logic kicks in Troy. Why then do parents allow their children to grow up and have a choice? Using your logic it would be far better to know your child is in heaven then allow your child to grow up and maybe fall out of your gods grace go to hell. You need to start understanding the world you live in. Start doing logic puzzles this will help.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • Bwain

      Are you a robot? Can you love? Love is not logical.

      God is love. If you want to really know Him, that is a good place to start.

      Get on your knees and pray to him. Humble yourself. Ask and He will answer.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • logicalhuman

      @Bwain You sure preach alot about your god. I have read alot of your posts and not one had any substance to it. I'll sum up your whole believe Bwain.... God is everthing good!!! I love god and he loves me!! I'm the greatest because I am with the greatest god... Everthing other than good is either humans, spirts, aliens, other religions, ect ect ect... It will be hard for you to understand this but some people use logic while going about daily life. Love is not god. Love is a english word people use to describe something they like... I love my parents. I love fast cars. I love food and air. What sense would it be to place your god in those sentences? I god my parents. I god fast cars. I god food and air. You'll get it I have faith in you.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Bwain

      > logicalhuman

      First off, you put words into my mouth that I did not say.

      Those are lies. And you are being ridiculous.

      I use logic. It is a great thing. Our logic is a gift from God. It is a survival tool. I use it.

      And underneath this logic and material world and life as we see it is God's powerful, guiding and creative intelligence.

      Don't put your faith in me. I'm human. Not perfect. I make mistakes. I have problems with pride. My ego gets me in trouble.

      Put your faith in God. He is the power that created the logic we use in this material world.

      There is a spiritual side to life. It doesn't always seem logical. It is beautiful.

      And about love, I'm talking about real love. Not the English definition of love. It is much greater than that. The word love does not give it justice. The love from God is like how a parent loves a child. That is about the closest I can describe God's love. But it is so much greater.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • lol??

      ".......And you xtians wonder why so many non-believers look upon your beliefs with contempt.........." Nope, the book took that wonder away. Sorry!

      December 17, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • logicalhuman

      Sigh... Now you are trying to use the words "real love".. I will help you in your argument of absolutes. You are trying to convince me that love can come from nowere else but god. Just like you would say my morals come from god. Just like you would say my life was created by god. None of these statement are true. I understand what love is B I just don't attribute it to a non existant being. If you would like to understand why I don't believe you ask yourself why you don't believe in all the other 2000 gods made up throughout history. Only then will you understand that you are an atheist to all but your own.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:53 am |
    • Bwain

      I would recommend reading what I actually wrote and stop trying to put words to me that I do not say. What you wrote is ignorant. It is what you like to believe that people are saying. Open your mind. Don't be so narrow minded and judgmental against other people. Practice some tolerance and acceptance. I know there is more than just a grumpy bigot inside you.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The foremost characteristic of the God of Abraham is not love – it is jealousy.
      It says so right in the first commandment.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • bwain

      Yep, God is jealous of our love.

      That is why we have a fear of the Lord.

      If I don't worship God, I'm worshiping something false. This can be money, sports, our country... whatever I put as the priority in my life. And God is jealous of this. Because if we worship these things we will lead ourselves to Hell. If we worship God we lead ourselves to Heaven where God dwells.

      He is jealous because He wants us. He is jealous for our love.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "troy", "Bwain", "bwain", "DeeCee1000", and "lol??", but "God", "He", "Him", "christ", "Lord", and "heaven" are all elements of mythology, therefore your replies are falsehoods. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "EPIC FAIL".

      December 17, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  2. DaveLake

    Regarding. "God, she said, "was with them, is with them, and will be with them always." Please-god should have given this guy a heart attack! Problem solved-but he did not. If a policeman was there and refused to shoot the intruder-what would people say-but if god refuses to help-that is ok! Sorry there is no god!–

    December 16, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  3. Tom Paine

    Good words. Light in the darkness.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  4. Jason

    I am saddened to see such animosity towards those who express anything about God. If God doesn't exist, I dare anyone to tell the families in pain, "just get over it. Prayer doesn't work and God doesn't exist. We are sad for you, however, and science alone and modern thinking alone will explain insanity and fix random violence. Man, has figured it and will figure out evil apart from God."

    Please, I dare you to express that to anyone grieving right now.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      So telling them that "god" allowed this to happen for a good reason is better? Your "god" sounds like a monster we should all be running from.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • David

      You comfort the families as best you can. Express sorrow, grief, and the will to come together during a tragedy. Of course you don't just say get over it. You understand that they will probably never get over it. Turning to some made up religious deity isn't the answer. I can understand how saying that their children are "in a better place" is probably comforting, but its also sad that during tragedies the religious just accept this kind of violence as the existence of evil (Satan in some cases) in this world or that their deity is testing them.

      No, thats a load of crap. We live in the real world, lets face this tragedy together and figure out a way to prevent them in the future.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Jason

      Who said anything about God letting this happen? Stop the rhetoric and clichés, BOTH Christians AND ant-religious!

      Christians, God did not will this! Non-Christians, the enemy here is not God, especially if you think He's not real. Why get angry at something that doesn't exist?

      This is event was sad, horrible, fear-invoking, and tragic. Right now, grieve and mourn. Tomorrow, care for those around you.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Bwain


      I have received so much help from my church in times of trouble.

      I have witnessed church members and staff standing of the "firing line" of so many of societies ills.

      We carry out God's work. When a tragedy occurs, God works through our hands. I am so grateful to Christians and members of other faiths you show true compassion. I even have received help from non-believers. Very nice people who didn't feel the need to belittle people because they didn't believe in the same things.

      To the closed minded-bigots on here who feel they have to tear down another person's support system, I ask please try to keep an open mind. Let others grieve and get help from their faith.

      Usually the people who complain the loudest about God are the ones who need them the most.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Jason

      David, when they pray, say, "you're wasting your time because God doesn't exist but I will let you pray to patronize you." BRILLIANT AND CARING! Your rock, David. I want you next to those in sorrow first!

      December 16, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • David

      No non-believer is ever expressing anger at something that doesn't exist. We are expressing frustration with those that do believe instead of accepting the reality of the world we live in.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • David

      Where did I ever say that I would let them pray. There are ways to comfort without prayer people. You can express grief and talk about healing without the need to invoke a deity...

      December 16, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      he may not have willed it, but god is supposed to be omniscient - so he knew from the moment of creation that this tragedy would occur. since he is omnipotent, he could have stopped it. in fact, if he can create a universe, i'm pretty sure he could make the shooter's guns jam.

      conclusion? god = fail

      December 16, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Jason

      David, that is a great place to vent frustration rather than comforting, protecting, preventing, and working towards minimizing future acts. The arrogance that exists to say stop believing a God is just as worse as those who say stop talking about God. I hope you see that.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Bwain, doing good things for others is very human. It makes no difference whether you believe in one "god" or another or whether you don't believe in any myth; doing good things for others is the human thing to do. Whether you want to complicate that simple fact with religion or which "god" you worship is up to you but love and caring for others existed before people came up with religions and love will continue with or without religions. It would be very stupid to think your religion holds a monopoly on something as basic and free to every human as love.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • David

      In no way do I want everyone to just stop believing in God because I say so. I express my views because I believe it is important to have these sorts of conversations. We do need to talk about God, because hopefully it can become clear that you can do all of those things: comfort, protect, and work towards prevention without the need for a deity. My point is that I believe more would get done if we realized that we all are in control and not some deity, we are the ones who must work together to achieve the best possible world to live in.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      Having thought about this sort of problem more than once, I have come to the pragmatic solution of segregation that both allows crazy people to believe whatever they feel they need to believe, and also allows rational educated people to work and live in freedom – with everyone free to continue (and I cannot stress the word "continue" enough), to believe or not believe what they wish to "live by".
      This would entail sterilization of crazy people so that they cannot have children. For the sake of the children they already have, their families would stay together and we would sterilize those children in turn.
      Then we let them die out naturally and peacefully and happily....and the rest of us can move forward into the future without all the insanity caused by those other people.
      It's not going to be the most attractive solution, but it would actually work quite well if done with compassion and respect for those we must remove from rational society so that humanity has a chance of surviving the next 100 years.
      The question boils down to when, not if, for many of the other viable solutions resemble this sort of plan to some extent.
      A great sea-change must be enacted for the sake of humanity or we are almost certain of extinction sometime in the future.

      Whether it is to be the near future or the far future depends on how rational everyone wants to be about these problems that revolve around people suffering from mental illness.
      More children's lives than you might expect actually hang in the balance. Don't let the crazies kill us all.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Jason

      David, last comment. Two words to being in control to make things work without a deity: good luck

      When you figure out solving evil in man through working it out apart from deity, you have Hitler, Lenin, and Stalin. Good luck.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • David

      I can see that may have been your last comment, but I will continue. I don't quite understand the religious arguments that bring up hitler or stalin. What are you saying exactly? My point is that there are bad things in this world and we have to deal with them. I'm not trying to "solve evil in man". In the current case it is becoming apparent the shooter was suffering from mental illness. We need to work together as a society to figure out ways to handle mental illness. To have better communication about it, better diagnosis and treatment options. What does that have to do with Hitler or Stalin?

      December 16, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • David

      And lastly, this is what irks me the most about the religious. You just said good luck to making things work without a deity. So you believe we just don't have any power over our own futures? You have no faith in humanity to work together to figure things out without using a deity. Thats sad man, maybe I am the believer here...

      December 16, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Jason

      Hitler and Stalin basically said the same thing as you, "we will solve the problems of this world without a deity" when people find morality on their own, there is no objective morality apart from a true good. How can you say what is good or evil? The murders in Connecticut can and should be argued as natural selection and people should get over it if morality is based on man's own standard. Who are you to say your version of good standard is better than Anyone else?

      Those who say there is a God is simply saying (btw, as opposed to imposing and ignorantly trying to solve everything which I can't stand by narrow minded Christians) true morality exists if evil is real, there must be a good; if there is a good, there must be an ultimate good.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • David

      Wow for some reason my last posts have gotten through so I will keep this short. I believe that humans have an intrinsic sense of morality and you do not. In either case we have a modern society with laws and we have the ability to determine what we think is right and wrong together as a democracy. There is no need for a deity. I'm atheist but I know that the murder of these innocent children was wrong, so would anyone else.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Jason

      Try using that in just war scenarios and abortion. Lets see how clear your intrinsic morality is.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Jason

      By the way, how do atheists comfort each other in tragedy like this. "it doesn't matter anyway because when we die, there is nothing else. Your child is gone so as I comfort you, let's admit she's gone forever." Atheist arrogance is puzzling. David, stay away from those that need comfort.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • Albert the Long-Winded

      Hard work to prevent future tragedies is excellent therapy when any grossly negative life experience happens.
      When something bad happens, it is quite natural to feel strongly about seeking out the causes to prevent future happenings of similarly bad events.
      The effective response to tragedy is to understand as accurately as possible what caused the event to happen and then to make damn sure it never happens again.
      As to comforting someone in particular, it takes empathy, sympathy, and intelligence to imagine what the experience was like, and this is not difficult for most people. Most people's bodies produce oxytocin in effective amounts which act on the brain to produce feelings of empathy and compassion. This also requires the brain to work correctly for the oxytocin to produce those effects. So I would comfort an individual according to their situation in my own individual way. Duh.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • lol??

      Father O is gonna fix everything, Socialist mob approved.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • Bet

      Well, Jason, I was in that position a couple of months ago when my friend's son committed suicide upon finding out that his wife was unfaithful. He had not exhibited any sign of mental illness.

      We held each other and cried. We sobbed, we shouted about the unfairness of it all, we wept for hours at the thought of his absence at his daughter's future ballet recitals, school dances, graduations, weddings and births of his grandchildren. We hugged our families.

      We did the same things to comfort each other that everyone does. We just didn't delude ourselves that god somehow had his hand in it, or that this was part of his great cosmic plan, or that her son was somehow in a better place.

      In the subsequent three months, my friend has consoled herself by spending time with her grandchildren, and joining a group of parents whose children have committed suicide. She's doing really well, has good days and bad days. She doesn't blame anyone for what happened.

      In short, we do most of the same things that believers do. We just don't involve imaginary beings in our mourning.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  5. Mick

    If a policeman were watching Friday's events and sat around doing nothing, he'd be kicked off the force...maybe thrown in jail. But we're asked to believe that there's an all powerful being who could have stopped this and was sitting around twiddling his thumbs? I'm glad he doesn't exist...I'd never worship a god like that. And please don't make me yawn with your silly "free will" argument...the point is, a being who could have stopped this and didn't is worthless.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Amy

      If you have nothing good to say, don't say anything at all.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • DaveLake

      Mick-I fully agree.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Fvck you, Amy. I'll say whatever I want, whether you like it or not.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Amy

      Tom, so much hate there. By the way, I wasn't talking to you Moron!

      December 16, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Guess what, A-h ole: this isn't a private chat, "moron" isn't capitalized, and you're a clown.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And who the hell do you think you are, Amy, to demand that others refrain from speaking their minds because YOU don't find what they say to be "good?" Get bent.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Damocles


      I mentioned something along those lines earlier. Someone said something about because we don't talk to god, that was the reason why he didn't do anything. I said that if that was the case then I guess any firefighter or policeman that I haven't ever spoken to can hardly be counted on to come to my rescue.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Beth

      Tom is the ultimate troll. He virutally lives on the Belief Blog.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ooh, and you would know that how, Beth?

      Because you frequent this blog under a dozen other names, of course, and are here more than I am.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Damocles


      And here you are, anxious as a cute little puppy to follow Tom around so you can feel all extra special because you are incredibly saddened by what your life has truly become.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Jason

      Good thing no one is forcing you to worship anyone, Mick!

      December 17, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • lol??

      Mick Mouse, don't you have some cheese to nibble?

      December 17, 2012 at 1:20 am |
  6. contractorlogan

    Job 34:10 and 1 John 5:19.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  7. lionlylamb

    My Psalm to pass on

    Our God knows of all our pains,
    Our God loves yet He refrains.
    My God is your God too,
    Your God is my God ever so true.
    Their God is our God one and the same,
    God cares for all creatures even the lame.

    The God of Creations did make all things known,
    All the animals and us and even all plants ever are so grown.
    Creations evolve and thru distances traversed,
    Life in its abundances can never be r e h e a r s e d.
    Love God and to all life, be ever gentle and kind,
    For you see life of the living God, He can never rewind.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      You're talking about Zeus, right?

      December 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  8. Amy

    Why so much hate about God Gord? Unanswered prayers? No bedtime prayers with your parents when you were a kid? you sounded more hurt than angry at God. You said " God probably doesn't exist", why are you not sure? If christians are wrong that there is no God, they lose nothing but God-hating people like you are wrong and there is God, you lose everything..just saying...don't forget to say your prayer tonight.....

    December 16, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Amy, stuff it. You are beyond obnoxious.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • David

      Ahh that old argument. So you believe in God just in case. What a way to go about life, force beliveing in something because you are scared of the made up consequences. Oh religions do know how to indoctrinate well. Come from a religious family do you? You know what the only reason you believe in God is? Because your parents did.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • What IF


      This is another tired repeti.tion of Pascal's Wager - thoroughly refuted since the 17th century (where have you been?)

      - What if the real "God" is Allah, or Vishnu, or Zeus, or Quetzalcoatl, or any of the other of thousands which have been dreamed up over the centuries? Some of them are very jealous and vengeful and will relegate you to nasty places for not worshiping them. You'd better cover your butt by believing in ALL of them and fulfill their wishes and demands.

      - What if the real "God" prefers those who use logic and reason and punishes you as a silly sycophant?

      - What if the real "God" detests those who believe something just to cover their butts in eternity?

      December 16, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Amy

      I will pray for you all tonight...

      December 16, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • David

      I have always wondered when people say that. What exactly are those prayers Amy? Are you going to pray that I find faith? Pray all you want, we will all just continue to live our lives as if you had not. Nothing will change.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Amy, why don't you ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING about this situation and hound your government leaders to fix our gun laws instead? Don't you think that might have more of an affect than praying to your "god" who allowed all of these babies to be murdered in first place?

      December 16, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I said bedtime prayers with my parents every night. I went to church with them every Sunday. And guess what? They both died painful, horrible deaths after living exemplary lives of sacrifice and devotion to their church, their family, and their community.

      Stick it up your fundament, Amy. You can suck dead priests.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What the fvck good does your god do anyone? He allows children to be slaughtered, to starve, to be abused. He allows his faithful servants to die painful deaths after they suffer for months and years from disease.

      You can have your god, Amy. Good luck to you.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Damocles

      Thanks amy, you pray for me tonight and I'll think for you all the time. Now you say 'thank you Damo for being willing to do my thinking for me because, you know, I find it so gosh darn scary to have my own thoughts. It's honestly gotten to the point where I'm down on my knees a good half-hour to make sure it's ok to go poop'. At this point I'll ruffle your hair and pinch your cheek and send you on your charmingly confused way.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Prey

      "I will pray for you all tonight..."

      You make it sound like that's some magnanimous feat. Is it real difficult for you? Do you pass out or get the stigmata or something?

      December 16, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • lol??

      Hate hate hate

      December 17, 2012 at 1:18 am |
    • Bet

      Instead of praying, send a donation to NAMI. Do something useful.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  9. God

    I am here now

    December 16, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  10. Brian

    I appreciated the report and the Pastor's service to Trinity Church. I appreciate reporters who will take the time to worship with residents of Newtown to learn how they are enduring.

    God was there, as the pastor said, with students and teachers surviving, and with the ones who suffered death. God was suffering along with them, and does not make Himself immune to these horrors. He suffered death for us, in the person of Jesus.

    God's Son put up with the worst kind of evil, evil just like Sandy Hook Elementary and Newtown suffered. There will be plenty who say God isn't real or doesn't really care, but God has communicated His love and revealed His reality to the world so we could know what's true. After Jesus died, He rose to new life. So also will everyone who puts their trust in Him.

    And while waiting for that reward, may He fill the grieving with His peace to protect their hearts and minds. We are praying along with Trinity Church, and the whole Newtown community.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • David

      They were just children. They didn't believe in anything. What about if any of the children were from a family that was Jewish? Did all get into heaven? You talk about Jesus so obviously it sounds like you would believe that you can only get to Heaven through Jesus, so what about these kids?

      December 16, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Brian

      David: Faith in Jesus saves, and I know of nothing else that does. So I encourage you to ask for that faith and believe Him when He says "whoever believes in Him will have eternal life." I'm not able to speak for God beyond what He has already revealed about Himself. I cannot pretend to be anybody's judge. I would be far less compassionate than the true Judge. I wouldn't have let me off the hook the way He forgives me.

      He is the Judge who was judged in our place. Jesus took on every human sin and was punished by death. He died in the place of every human, whether Jew or gentile, fully aware adult or innocent child, socially acceptable sinner or the kind of sinner most of us would reject. Jesus endured the judgment for all of us. And He holds out the promise that anyone who trusts in Him will be saved.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • David

      In no way did you even attempt to consider my question. The argument remains, if you believe that the only way to salvation is through Jesus then what happened to these children. Most probably hadn't even begun to consider what they believed, and some may have been from families who did not believe in Jesus. So what happened to them?

      December 16, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Bet

      I refuse to worship a deity from whom I need to be "saved".

      December 17, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  11. DeeCee1000

    Always sad to see people who are suffering being taken in by Charlitains and simpletons; these quacks and frauds who take great pleasures while taking advantage of people in a vulnerable state of mind.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  12. TheRationale

    "The one spot of joy is that your children are not lost"
    Actually keep quoting from there...

    This sermon is grotesque. Trying to demonstrate the existence of a loving god in a situation like this is disgusting.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • lol??

      Why did you listen? Are you nutz?

      December 17, 2012 at 1:16 am |
  13. Martin

    Some people tend to cling to their guns and religion. And this is the result.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • lol??


      December 17, 2012 at 1:15 am |
  14. Fritz Hohenheim

    Sometimes the smartest remark is silence. If I were promoting the belief in an all powerful, all loving and all seeing being I think I would should up for a while after an event like this. But then, Christians never see reason, even now when their god has clearly let them down, they still seek some "greater good" in it.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Michael

      We turn to God to comfort us in times of suffering. We Christians know that Christ was God in human form. He came to the world to save us. But man hated him, tortured him, lied about him and crucified him. It was not fair. He was just like the innocent children shot at the school. We will not let evil triumph. We know the devil wants us to hate God. He hates when we praise God. He loves when we think we are "modern" and too smart for God. We stand against those acts of violence at the school and say "no more." God will help us through this tragedy. May the peace of the Lord be with us all.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • lol??

      "......god has clearly let them down,........" You decided. For the whole world?

      December 17, 2012 at 1:14 am |
  15. Adam

    There are few things in this world more nauseating than to watch a religious person apologize for the God they profess to believe in.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Gord

      Adam, I so hear you.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • lol??

      Why were you watching? Are you nutz?

      December 17, 2012 at 1:12 am |
  16. David

    She said God was "surrounding all the children. The 430 that made it out, and the 20 that did not."??? So God just decides which innocent little kids should die and which shouldn't. What a God to believe in...

    God isn't real folks. I hate during tragedies such as this where religious people don't realize how hypocritical and actually selfish it is to believe this stuff. Parents saying thank god our children were safe. So what about the kids that were killed? These parents must think their God cares more about their family than anyone elses. Such selfishness.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • lol??

      "..........God isn't real folks............" You decided for the world?

      December 17, 2012 at 1:11 am |
  17. In__GOD_ WE_TRUST

    Things are tough at times but if you keep your faith in GOD the answers will come clear. Someone asked me years ago when a Honor Student was struck by a drunken driver, killed on his way to school, why...why did God allow this to happen?
    This took a while to answer because of the angers and emotions of the times, the confusions of what had happen...we are from this earth, a place where we trust in God and reach out to God though the graces of Jesus Christ from our hearts, this place called Earth is not Heaven, Heaven is our final destiny, the Earth is a place to test our existence among other men, our faith and our destinies are in God's hands.
    When God allows things to transpire on earth for the sake of trials and tribulations, meaning, a test of your individual faith in Him. He may allow forces of evil to transpire to test your faith in the Holy Spirit. "God why did you allow this to happen"? The answer is God...I pray to you that we can find the answers to our troubled times, we place this burden in Your hands as we, as a human race, gather together in strengths of the many masses, believers to pray to you, show us the way to mend our sadden hearts. God We Trust in You.

    As a Country, We, in mourning for the losses in yesterday's massacre, young innocent children and adults, we as a Nation of Christian beliefs are also stricken with sorrow and sadness, we are hurting oh Lord, the cause of this hurt is not a question of our faith in You but a special request that You come and heal our hearts. Lead us into the future without pain. Lead us to give to one another that special Love for life. We never doubt your strength, we Love You God with all our existence.

    The innocent Children and others we have lost are all in Heaven sitting next to God in His World experiencing a new life in Holy eternity, a place without pain, a place without any evil. For those children and adult are safe and warm forever, waiting to reunite with their loving families in the course of time.


    December 16, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Gord

      Nope, your god obviously doesn't exist. Get modern and lose the religious hocus pocus already.


      December 16, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • David

      They were just children. They probably didn't have a faith. What if the child was from a family with a religion different from yours? They were still just innocent children. Did they all get in to heaven? Even the ones from a Jewish family maybe? I would like to see what you think about this.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Stacy

      You must be delusional yourself, "In God We Trust"...You worship a God who "allows forces of evil to transpire to test your faith..." Are you kidding? Give that message some deep thought. You may discover that a God who would do such a thing ( & the "test" be the slaughtering of young children" is an evil Deity & not worthy of worshipping.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Earthling

      What an incredible load of horse manure.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • ThinkDefyUnite

      Standard religious bs, when bad things happen we're simply being tested, when good things happen it's because we're being rewarded. Please grow up and thing for yourselves.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  18. rochdoc

    Is n't enough that the religion column disparages Christians? What are yu gaining by "killing God"? more violence I guess. Now use the Occassion to Christians again.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Gord

      Do try a spelling checker.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  19. nal1010

    @harsh turth...you are a real pos....sob, you can't even imagine how these people are feeling right now

    December 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Gord

      No, he/she is just calling things like they are. And you are a coward, for suggesting that he should do otherwise.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  20. Harsh Truths for YOU

    Those people are being taken advantage of by these religious vultures. Robbing and enslaving people who have suffered tragedy is the bread and butter for religious scammers.
    Oh, sure, they might feel a little better, but no one will be getting any answers from "God" because there is no god. Never was.

    December 16, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Why Judge

      Let these people mourn however they choose. You are not in the position to dictate where they find comfort. If you face a similar situation, do as you please.

      December 16, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Gord

      Why Judge, no way. We've gotten to where we are by just turning a blind eye, not just to violence but to religion and its fraudsters who never get called out on their vain promises. Enough is enough. It is time to call out religion for being the fraud that it is. So where was your god when innocent kids were being murdered? Where is your god? He is apparently utterly useless and probably doesn't exist.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Gord

      And religious vultures is a good term for these pastors. Leech is another good term. They are parasites.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • lol??

      How come you don't know the difference between between truth and a lie?

      December 17, 2012 at 1:08 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.