From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 13:16:52


                          by Alexa Smith 
OKLAHOMA CITY--Much of the emotion felt about the bombing of the Alfred P. 
Murrah Federal Building is written on paper. 
     But it is not in memos or in organized research.  It is found in the 
letters of children from all over the country who put their feelings onto 
paper -- in crayon or ink or pencil. 
     "The children's drawings and letters of concern are so refreshing," 
says Carolyn Stephens, executive presbyter for Indian Nations Presbytery, 
whose office served as a conduit for letters to the injured, to survivors 
or to church members at large. 
     "This has brought the connectional nature of the Presbyterian Church 
to life," she said. "We use words like 'connectional' and we know in our 
heads there are Presbyterian churches like ours all across the country. ... 
     "But now people know in their hearts." 
     From Hill Road, Pennsylvania: 
     "Dear Friend, 
     "My name is Mandy.  I'm 9 years old and I'm in fourth grade.  I'm 
sorry about what happened in Oklahoma City.  I'm at church right now and we 
prayed for you.  I hope you're not hurt badly and I'm glad that you caught 
the guy that blew up the building. 
     "Love, Mandy." 
     From Athens, Georgia: 
     "Dear Friend, 
     "My name is Arielle. ... I'm in second grade at Whitehead Elemtary.  I 
hope you did not get injured.  But if you [did] I'm hoping for you to get 
much, much, much better.  Wen I heard somebody set a bomb on your building, 
I started crying because I know how hard it is to see that many people 
     "Love, Your friend, Arielle." 
     And from Rachel in Athens: 
     "Dear Friend, 
     "My name is Rachel ... and I go to Whitehead Elementry in Athens, Ga. 
I'm sorry about what happened in the Oklahoma bombing.  I have been keeping 
up with the news.  I hered the front of the building fell down. I'm not so 
shore about how many people died in Oklahoma City.  I don't think I no how 
many people liked ether but I do no that those men who did it are wered. 
     "Love, Rachel" 
     From Eric, Sasha and Amanda: 
     "Dear Oklahoma friends, 
     "We are deeply sorry about the bomb.  I hope that you are safe and 
feeling love right now.  If you are not just know that we love you. 
     "Love, Eric, Sasha and Amanda" 
     Or, from Daniel, who says: 
     "Dear Children of Oklahoma, 
     "I'm sorry that you got bombed.  We are going to plant bulbs for the 
kids that died.  I'm 7 years old.  I have three fish. 
     "Love, Daniel." 
     Another child writes: 
     "I'm so sorry that you were hurt.  Those people had no resin to do 
that.  I will pray for you and with all my strength I will pray for the 
people that did this to you." 
     Stephens said a number of letters are now being shared with Indian 
Nations parishes outside the city limits, many of whom were affected by the 
bombing but were not directly reaping the benefits of the church's concern. 
     That concern was summarized in a series of notes written by a New York 
congregation on a rolled sheet of wallpaper.  Amid the poems, notes and 
drawings on the sheaf were the words of the church's minister: 
     "Our city is remembering your city.  We are all connected to each 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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