Faith helps people through |

Faith helps people through

Jill Darby

Tuesday’s terrorist attack on the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and the World Trade Center in New York left the nation stunned.

Faced with anger, shock and gut-wrenching sadness, many South Lake Tahoe residents looked to faith to help them cope.

“I believe that if people have faith in God, they don’t go to pieces so easily and they can face challenges,” Merry Gates, a member of Hope Lutheran Church, said Tuesday. “It’s very comforting to come here, hear God’s word and know he’s still in charge.”

Numerous South Shore churches had special services Tuesday.

Father John Grace led an afternoon Mass at St. Theresa Catholic Church.

“It’s a very sad occasion for all of us,” he said. “It’s very hard to explain something like this, very hard to explain how God could permit something like this. Why something like this should happen, nobody knows… Thousands of people are dead this morning for no reason. Let’s ask God to help us understand and to take away our anger.”

Hope Lutheran, Snowcross Baptist and Lake Tahoe Community Presbyterian churches held a joint service Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Hope Lutheran Church.

“I think when you have a tragedy like this, we all need to come together, no matter who you are or what religion you are,” said Lynn Setnor, who handed out black ribbons at the door of the sanctuary. “I’m passing out ribbons just so that everybody can be aware of all of the people who died today – just like with breast cancer awareness, we should all be aware of what has happened.”

Pastors Dean Eatman from Snowcross Baptist, Eric Utto-Galarneau from Hope Lutheran and Steve Blocher from Lake Tahoe Community Presbyterian shared the podium, offering words of support at Tuesday’s service.

“God, we ask you, give us your peace as we stare at the television and have nothing to say, as we’re in awe with sadness and grief,” Utto-Galarneau said.

Blocher said dealing with adversity is one of the greatest challenges in life for a Christian.

“We sit in front of the television on days like today, dumbfounded by what we see,” he said. “I’d like us now to think of those people who put themselves in harm’s way to come to the rescue of others, of those who put themselves in harm’s way, on the aircraft, that we may never know about.”

Blocher also prayed for the protection of survivors.

“We do come this evening out of our hurt and our shock, but also for those who are in the midst of this tragedy,” he said. “And Lord, we know many have been lost and we pray for their souls.”

Eleven-year-old Ashley Rummelt, a student at St. Theresa Catholic School, attended the Tuesday night service at Hope Lutheran with her cousin.

“By praying and knowing it will all be all right, it makes it better,” Rummelt said. “I was very scared and sad by this but just by talking about it and praying for it, it’s better. I already prayed for all of the people today at school.”

Amanda Emberton, 19, said she turned to God to help her understand the tragic events.

“When I first found out about it, I was in shock,” she said. “I was in awe. I couldn’t believe what I heard, what I saw. I just started to cry. I think going to church and getting it out in the open will help me cope with the tragedy that has been brought to America today.”

St. Theresa Catholic Church, located on the corner of Lake Tahoe Boulevard and Lyons Avenue, is celebrating Mass every day at noon, with a special Mass Friday at 9 a.m.

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