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Utahns seek comfort, hope in time of national tragedy

By Mary Richards | Posted - Apr 26th, 2013 @ 7:09am



SALT LAKE CITY — Many people of faith around Utah are drawing on their beliefs and on each other for comfort after the Boston bombings.

Many people reach out to others in public, on Facebook, at work or at church to talk about what's going on, or to find solace as they process the tragedies in the news.

"People naturally seek comfort, whether they are aware they are doing it or not, and church is the natural place to go," said The Reverend Canon Mary June Nestler, executive officer of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah.

Some people have a greater desire to be around others, whether it's in church or elsewhere.


(Faith) forces us to say, 'As terrible as the deeds, there is no one that does not deserve our prayers.'

–The Reverend Canon Mary June Nestler


"Many people who live alone or don't have much social contact try to find that. They may stay in a coffee shop longer. We see people stay in a sports bar looking at the news together," Nestler said.

She said prayers have changed. People have changed. She said God is present when we call out and ask for His presence, and explained that faith provides "a true way to hold on to hope, even when there's such despair."

The Episcopal Diocese of Utah held a special service at St. Mark's Cathedral after the Boston bombings, where people came to pray for the victims, first responders, medical personnel, and more. As Nestler pointed out, Jesus taught people to pray for their enemies.

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"Faith widens our narrow thinking. It forces us to say, ‘As terrible as the deeds, there is no one that does not deserve our prayers or need our prayers.' It changes us when we pray for them," she said.

Nestler said service and the scriptures also help many people find healing and hope.

She said springtime naturally comes with the renewal of Easter, Passover or LDS general conference, and people can draw on that to renew their faith and hope.

"We have to hold on more and more to the joy of those things, because the joy has to be as great, to balance the sadness and terror," she said. "That's what faith provides us, is a true way to hold on to hope, even when there is such despair."

Nestler said everyone can find comfort in service, and those of faith will find countless stories of trial in their scriptures.

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