The violence in Winnipeg continues to escalate and the city is feeling the weight of the recent horrific events. How should the Church in Winnipeg respond in the face of increasing violence and evil?
Kent Dueck is the Executive Director of Inner City Youth Alive (ICYA) in Winnipeg's North End. A 14-year-old girl killed on Saturday night at a house party was connected to the ministry. Her death was the first of three homicides over the weekend.
On Sunday four people, including a baby, were shot in an attack in a North End home. All of the inured in that attack are expected to recover. The occupants of that home were also connected ICYA.
Dueck says that it's time for faith communities to focus outside of themselves.
"It's been really tough. One of the things that we do, is that people, without ill-intent, always try to establish whether it will affect them.
"Sometimes people will hear about an incident and go 'well that took place in the North End, so, that could never happen to me.' It's a natural sort of response but one of the things we would encourage people within the City to do is to think of it as an 'us' kind of scenario," Dueck says.
He wants Christians to get closer to what's happening in the community.
"Try and enter into what folks have walked into. I'm hearing some people make assumptions. Think in support of families that have lost someone; in support of a community that's grieving. We are kind of grieving together," Dueck says.
"One of our biggest prayers is that there will be no retaliation."
Support doesn't have to be a grand gesture according to Dueck. "Something as simple as bringing meals to the family, or to go out to that location and to stand with people that are grieving," Dueck says. He asks that people also support directly and relationally through prayer.
"Our staff sort of see ourselves as commissioned by the broader faith community of Winnipeg. We kind of feel like we are the hands and feet, so prayers for our staff are needed. One of our biggest prayers is that there will be no retaliation," Dueck says.
Dueck wants to remind the Church that the children are suffering, and absorbing a lot of this news. "What we are hearing is that it's bringing back memories of other kinds of loss. It'stime for our communities to come together and be there for each other.
"There's no way to prepare you [for this kind of tragedy] so, you kinda have to go all-in," Dueck says.