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Ministering to the Hurting at Virginia Tech

Orginally published on Tuesday, April 17, 2007 at 8:35 AM
by Todd Rhoades

What a tragedy yesterday at Virginia Tech. Today is the first day of many of healing and trying to find answers about what happened with the shooting; and there will be tremendous opportunity for ministry on that campus and in that community. I did some searches this morning to see what was happening, ministry-wise, in the aftermath of this tragedy...

I understand that it’s still early, but I did a search on all the churches in the area, and there was only one church that had updated their website with anything about the shooting.  All the other churches just had pretty pictures of their buildings and service times on their home page.  I’m sure many were busy ministering to the community; but it wasn’t obvious what all was going on by their websites.

Lutherans in Virginia are standing by to help.  “Details about the incident are still coming in as investigation of the incident continues,” said the Rev. Kevin A.
Massey, assistant director, ELCA Domestic Disaster Response.  “At this time we anticipate that there will be long-term spiritual and emotional needs on campus, as well as throughout the state and the entire country as more is learned about the full extent of this tragedy,” said Massey.

Three members of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance National Response Team (NRT) are on their way to the campus to be a presence and resource to the community. Over the years, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has been very engaged in helping communities and student survivors that have been affected by school shootings.

Chris Hutchinson is asking for prayer for his church, Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Blacksburg, VA. as they respond to the horrific tragedy at the Virginia Tech college campus. Hutchinson is also asking for prayer for the RUF campus minister, J.R. Foster. RUF is a Christian campus ministry. Reformed University Fellowship at Virginia Tech is the campus ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America. Their mission is to reach students for Christ and to equip them to serve Christ. RUF is in their third year of ministry at Virginia Tech.

Members of the Canterbury House Episcopal ministry on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University plan to gather on the evening of April 18 for a memorial and healing service.

And Virginia Baptists pitched in for the massive task of counseling students, faculty and families in the wake of Monday’s deadly shooting rampage at Virginia Tech.  The Baptist General Association of Virginia sent two crisis-care counselors to the Blacksburg campus, said John Tadlock of the Virginia Baptist Mission Board’s empowering leaders team. They were expected to arrive Monday night.  “We’re not exactly sure what we’re going to do,” Tadlock said. Both of the counselors deployed Monday were trained for counseling either one-on-one or with groups.

UPDATE:  Just got this email about what Campus Crusade is doing.  (Thanks, Chris)…

Last night about 100 Crusade students along with another 100 students from other campus ministries gathered to grieve, pray and worship.

2 freshmen girls involved in Crusade Bible Studies are missing and have not been in contact with any of their friends. They had classes in the building where most of the casualties occurred yesterday morning.

One other Campus Crusade student who was in a classroom where the shootings took place escaped without physical injury. He is with his family now, but is suffering emotional trauma.

Another freshman involved in our ministry lives next door to where the students were shot in the dorm. We believe she was the first to find the bodies.

Our director at Va Tech, Jeff Highfield, is scheduled to do a live remote at 9am today, Tuesday, with the 700 Club.

Our staff will be involved in numerous campus gatherings over the next few days to speak, to talk with students, and to counsel them.

Students across the country are reeling from this event. We will be running ads nationally on the Internet with the question “Where is God in the Midst of Tragedy?” The ads will link to a website where students can find Biblical answers to these and other questions.

Thank you for your prayers.

Eric Fleshood
CM2007 Representative (http://www.cm2007.net)
Mid-Atlantic Region
Campus Crusade for Christ

FOR DISCUSSION: Does your church have a crisis plan?  If not, should you consider one?  I know we have some readers from the Virginia Tech area… what is your church doing to minister during this time?  And finally, if your church has been in an area that had a disaster of this nature (NYC, Columbine, Oklahoma City, etc.), how did you most effectively minister to your community and those affected?

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  1 Person Has Commented:

  • Posted by

    God was there.  He is everywhere, and just as He did with His Son our Elderly Brother, and Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, He allowed this to happen for a greater good.  We can’t see this now, but know that God had a greater plan to do good.  He just allowed evil to carry it out.  He gives us free will, Cho used his free will for evil, but God meant it for good.  Some young people may not have given any thought about their eternity, but I am sure that this on the mind of us all now as we think about life’s uncertainities.  Know that God has not lost control of this world, He is still in charge, and nothing happens without his allowing it to happen for a greater good.  To bring us closer to Him.  In His Holy Word He tells us that He is a jealous God.  Therefore, He doesn’t want us to put anything before Him.  His word and prayer is utmost for all of our lives.

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