Christians in Rapid City react to Sri Lanka church bombings

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - As Christians in Sri Lanka gathered to celebrate Easter Sunday morning, explosions ripped through three churches, leaving behind hundreds of victims and blood-spattered pews.

Church-goers in Rapid City kept their brothers and sisters across the Pacific in mind during their own Easter celebrations.

Police say coordinated attacks by suicide bombers killed at least 200 people and injured more than 400 across several churches and hotels in Sri Lanka Sunday morning.

Before Father Ed preached at Saint Isaac Jogues Easter morning, he read terrible news of the explosions in Sri Lanka.

Father Edward Witt says, "It's really ironic and especially saddening on this day that is supposed to be a day of life and resurrection that there's still death and evil and killing in the world. That pains me I must say."

Ruth Barrett, member, Open Hearted United Methodist Church, says, "I just think it's awful. It's just, it's a very saddening thing that we have people in our world that are doing these kinds of things."

Holly Sortland is the pastor of Open Heart United Methodist Church.

She says Christians can not let attacks scare them, and they shouldn't stop worshipping.

Holly Sortland says, "I think the tragedy that happened in Sri Lanka today shows that we live in a broken world. We aren't here just to worship Jesus, but we're here to follow Jesus, which mean we're here to reach out to people who are broken. We're here to change hearts, and the more we do that, I think the more violence like that could be prevented."

Father Ed asks everyone to pray for the victims and the bombers.

Father Ed says, "I think we are called to pray for those who did this. We don't want to respond with hate because then we're surrendering to them and then we become them."

Sri Lankan authorities announced a nationwide curfew, effective immediately.

Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist country, but it's also home to Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities.