GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The victims of the mass shooting at Michigan State University, students and alumni and communities across the state will forever be changed by the tragedy that unfolded nearly a week ago.

One local pastor says it’s the church’s obligation to respond with action.

“We need to figure out what do we do because these kids have already been impacted by three years of COVID and now this,” Cascade Christian Church Pastor Jill Forton said. “It has to be more than words.”

Forton, who is a Spartan, said members of her congregation are also Spartans and knew some of the shooting victims.

As the shooting unfolded Monday night, Forton and the church’s young adult director texted MSU students who attend the church to make make sure they were safe.

Though Forton didn’t know the three victims who were killed, Arielle Anderson, Brian Fraser or Alexandria Verner, she admitted to being devastated about losing members of the Spartan family.

She described the students as “so bright and full of potential.”

“The whole nation is feeling that loss,” she added.

She spent the week in prayer and plans to address the incident during Sunday services by praying and talking about what’s next as individuals and as a congregation.

“Find community and to my fellow faith leaders open your doors wider. I think churchs’ faith communities should do better in embracing all people. There’s room for everybody,” she said. “All faith communities need to be more open so no one ever feels like they’re not seen, they’re not heard and that they don’t have a place to take their mental health concerns.”

Cascade Christian Church has over 30 young adults who are attending college. Forton said the church will send care packages to them this week.