Ministering to those who Minister


Like all of you, I was affected by the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.  Someone on Facebook remarked that they had the same feelings on Friday as they did after 9/11.  There is something about school violence that affects everyone, even those of us not directly affected by it.

During the sermon on Sunday,  I spoke of hope, the hope that we need and that we find in the new born baby that all will be well.  We will ask questions and seek a resolution and try to make sure this never happens again.  But we move on.

This past Tuesday, December 18th, I was deployed by International Orthodox Christian Charities to connect with the Orthodox Clergy in the affected area to see what help the Orthodox church could provide.  I spent several hours with them as they told stories of what they had heard from their parishioners.  The people they had met with were friends of those directly affected the ones who knew the victims and their families, and other people.  It was a blessing to be able to minister to those who minister.

I was able to spend some time in Newtown at the various memorials just talking to people.  People had come from all over just to pay their respects and offer a prayer or two.  I was blessed to be able to pray with a few of them as they stood by the roadside trying to make sense of it all.  The amazing part of it all was silence in the Town.  It was like what you experience at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC.  The silence of respect and the silence of prayer was all over Town in an extraordinarily respectful way.  It was as if the whole Town was a memorial.

Standing and looking at the twenty-six Christmas trees that had been erected close to the school was a moment that I will not soon forget.  Reading the messages of sympathy and of hope brought both sadness and joy to my heart at the same time.  All over the town were green and white signs, the school colors, which spoke the message of hope, “We are Sandy Hook, we Choose Love.”  I asked a few people what that meant, and they all said that they were choosing not to hate, hate anyone, but to come together in love.  Love is the only thing that will see them through.

In the coming weeks the television news vans will leave, the people will stop dropping off items at the memorials, and Newtown will slowly, very slowly, return to some sense of normalcy.  Newtown will always be remembered for this, but this remarkable town in Western Connecticut, will be a little closer to each other.  The moving vans were moving the desks and chairs and other mementos out of the school and bringing them to the new school where the children will complete the school year but even with a new coat of paint, the children and teachers and staff will never be the same.  They will be forever bonded together because of this shooting.  They will struggle together to try and make sense of it all and will try to move forward.

I am blessed that I had a small part to  play in all of this, and my prayer is that I was able to bring some hope and some encouragement to the people of Newtown.  They will all live forever in my heart!


  1. when i think about this,it reminds me of the amish girls who where killed in their class room,by a guy with a gun,who lined them up and shot them..its too bad they did not recieve very much attention for this shooting.the amish forgave the family whose son did this and newton needs to do the same thing…

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