Post shooting, healing in Maine

When the order to stay in place was lifted Friday after the worst mass shooting incident in the United States this year, residents of Lewiston, Maine, did what people often do in communities shaken by violence – they sought comfort in one another. They held early Halloween events to bask in the joy of children. They gathered for interfaith services in their places of worship.

Responses like those can have a welcome healing effect at times of acute mourning. Yet they also point to the storehouses of quiet strength behind a significant shift in thinking about public safety. Increasingly, communities are marshaling their own civic and religious resources to push beyond stuck and divisive political debates. Their solutions often start with qualities like compassion and empathy.

By staying “focused on the things that invite peace into our communities,” the Rev. Allen Austin, a pastor at Pathway Vineyard Church in Lewiston, urged residents at an interfaith service last night, what arises from tragedy is a “kinder people, a more compassionate people, a more merciful people.”

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