Five miles north of the Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo, N.Y., Knox Evangelical Presbyterian Church Pastor Justin Olivetti is comforting a community jolted by the May 14 shooting that took 10 lives.
“Everyone here is a bit shaken up,” Olivetti said. “We had some members who had relatives who worked there or some other community connections to the area and the store, but none of the casualties were among them.”
Olivetti added that the congregation prayed in the Sunday morning worship service for the families of those involved. He also attended a multi-church prayer meeting that was held on Sunday afternoon around the block from the store.
EPC Stated Clerk Dean Weaver served as Knox EPC’s Pastor from 1995-2006. He also is a former member of the Board of Directors for Urban Christian Ministries in Buffalo, which is located a few blocks from the site of the shooting.
“I am just devastated,” Weaver said. “The security guard who was killed was a friend of one of my closest friends from our years there.”
Olivetti said he and his congregation are praying for a revival and healing.
“It was definitely designed to inflame racial tensions,” he said. “So I’ve been counseling people that our job as Christ’s ambassadors is to bring His love and grace in where others bring hate.”