Reactions from local pulpits

Published April 23, 2007

The April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech by student Seung-Hui Cho were on the minds of Tampa Bay area religious leaders, many choosing to mention the massacre during their Sunday services. Here's a sample of what was said:

"For all those killed in the senseless tragedy at Virginia Tech ... We pray to the Lord."

Prayer at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg

"What was it about this kid that somebody didn't reach out to him and say, 'You know what? You were created in the image of God. God has a plan and purpose for your life ... you need to know that God loves you.' "

Pastor Chris Cahall of St. Pete Vineyard Church in St. Petersburg

"I'd like a Jesus who could turn back the clock a week so I wouldn't have to see the blood and gore at Virginia Tech. But we have a real Jesus, who carries his scars. We all are wounded people. We all carry scars."

The Rev. Jim Harnish of Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa

"It's very difficult to know how to pray, and it's very difficult to understand. Obviously there's a lot of demonic acts out there ... Right now, we have a responsibility as Christians to pray and lift up those and even the family of the shooter."

Pastor Mike Ramage of Fifth Avenue Baptist Church in St. Petersburg

"The suffering of one in (God's) kingdom is the suffering of all."

The Rev. Brian James of St. James United Methodist Church in New Tampa