Martin Richard

Do you remember Martin?


Peace Begins With…

It was one year ago today that we lost a little boy who many of us cannot (and should not) forget, Martin Richard. Martin was the youngest of those who died following the bombing during the Boston Marathon. He was 8.

I know very little about Martin. His teachers loved him. His classmates miss him. He loved hockey and baseball. The bombing devastated his family. Both parents were injured, and the dreams for their children are forever changed. Martin’s younger sister, Jane, who survived the bombing and continues to heal from the loss of her leg, described to doctors, “My (older) brother Henry only got some cuts, but was hurt in his heart”.

There is a picture of Martin that speaks to the heart of this little boy. He is holding a poster that he made at school which reads, “No more hurting people. Peace.” The sign symbolized the tragedy, and it seems to me that it tells us a story about the innate ability for children to seek out peace.

I find that children are the blessed peacemakers. They are children of God. They possess all of those characteristics that God wants for his children, especially the ability and desire to love each other. It seems to me that one simple thing that we can learn from Martin, and from children in general, is to open our hearts up to living in peace with one another. To do all that we can to love one another as God loves us.

Supporting Children in A Violent World Resources






Protecting Our Children

Prayers for Our Children

Prayers for Our Children

Today’s lunch must have been arranged by the Holy Spirit. One of my best friends from high school, Ellie, met me for lunch to do a quick catch up of what has been going on in our lives for the past couple of weeks – work, children, church, travel – the regular stuff. Neither of us could have known that today another school would fall to the random violence that has become all-too-common in our schools today.

In Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, a young man stabbed multiple people in his high school. The stories are frightening, and one can only imagine what these children experienced. My friend, Ellie, does not have to imagine. As a first year teacher, she was shot while trying to protect a child from a gunman in the elementary school where she taught. Each time there is mass violence at a school I immediately think of her. Today I was allowed to sit with her for a few moments.

For those of us who witness the aftermath through news media, it eventually becomes a story we turn away from. For Ellie, and those who live through these events, it becomes a part of their story. They cannot turn away. As we pray for those who were impacted today, let us also remember those who are impacted for a lifetime.

Let me offer this prayer written by my colleague and friend, Taylor Burton-Edwards:

Violence has broken out again among our children.
We are shocked, pained, astounded, angry
at the injuries one child has caused
and at the injury in his soul
that could allow him to act so brutally toward others.

We pray for all who attend to all these wounds,
in hospitals, counseling sessions, pharmacies,
in homes, in huddles of friends,
and in our congregations.

We pray for all who will manage the aftermath,
in schools, classrooms, board meetings,
in halls of policy and legislation.

We pray, not knowing answers,
beyond seeking answers,
simply seeking you.

Jesus, healer of our souls,
the nearer waters roll
and overwhelm us.
We all to your bosom fly.



Week of the Young Child April 6-12, 2014

Serving Children - Serving God

Serving Children – Serving God

When I was a little girl, I never understood why there wasn’t a “Children’s Day” like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and Grandparents’ Day. My mother’s response was always the same, “Everyday is Children’s Day”. And really, looking back, in our house everyday seemed to be devoted to the formation of my older brother and me. Our parents made sure that we ate well, rested appropriately, did our chores, and participated in church and extracurricular activities. They also made sure that we were constantly learning. We were loved.

The Week of the Young Child™ is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Its purpose is to “focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs”. Our Methodist heritage is steeped in ways that we support children and families in the early years, from Bethlehem Centers to our commitment to weekday preschool ministry programs.

It would benefit children and families greatly if we take some time during the week to do one thing to support education in our local communities. And who knows, we may find a new way to use our gifts to love God and our neighbor.