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Wichita church leaders react to school shooting in Uvalde, Texas | #schoolshooting

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – As many families across the nation turn to faith for guidance after recent tragedies like the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, Eyewitness News spoke with local church leaders about how they’re trying to help.

Leaders of churches across Wichita have been posting messages on social media, offering prayers for peace and asking others to pray over young people and communities. They’re also using church services to share specific messages. A church Eyewitness News reporter Lily Wu visited Thursday is asking for people to come together as a community.

About 80 people came to Praise Chapel Wichita on East Harry Street to process what happened Tuesday about 700 miles away in the town of Uvalde, Texas.

Praise Chapel Wichita Senior Pastor Albert Paredes and Praise Chapel Wichita Associate Pastor Manuel Miranda say actions need to follow prayers.

“I believe we have to get the community and the police department to work and connect together,” Paredes said. “But more than that, we have to have the presence of God. We have to get prayer back in the school, and we have to, I believe, put police officers back in every school.”

Miranda said what happened Tuesday a couple states away is evil.

“And the presence of God is being removed and that allows evil to move,” he said. “And we will not allow that here to come to this city.”

Teenagers in the Praise Chapel congregation said they want more than just prayers and talk.

“My hope is that more people will actually be Christian because at my high school, kids say that they’re Christians, but they’re truly not,” Evan Clark said.

Noah Paredes said his hope is for change.

“Not that we’re just going to talk about it and pray on it, but take a change on it,” he said. “That finally something will change in our schools, that there’s more protection and that people love on each other.”

Members of the congregation are asking people to engage in conversation.

“Open the door of unity,” Pastor Paredes said. “The key is we must learn to unite.”

The pastors at Praise Chapel said they welcome anyone who needs someone to talk to.

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