Christians offer free grief support after cinema shootings
Published 03 August 2012 | ASSIST News Service
In the aftermath of the July 20 Aurora theatre shootings, one group of ministries will help bring healing to the community coping with the tragedy.
Somebody Cares International, known for its long-term follow-up in communities touched by tragedy, is a network of organisations and churches impacting communities through prayer initiatives, compassion outreaches and training and responding in times of crisis, as well as encouraging and equipping leaders globally.
The ministries' sessions on overcoming grief and trauma will be held August 9 to 10, at Church in the City-Beth Abraham in Denver.
Two members of the host church were in the theatre the night of the shooting, and Pastor Michael Walker said at least one of the families involved is expected to attend next week's sessions.
"While the media coverage dissipates, the healing journey continues," said Dr Doug Stringer, the founder of Somebody Cares International.
"Although everyday life has resumed for many, some will be reeling from this for years to come."
After the tragedy, Stringer contacted Walker, also the director of Somebody Cares Denver, to see how the organisation could help. The result was next week's sessions.
One session will focus on equipping community leaders and pastors to minister to their communities.
The next day's session will be open to the entire community. Besides encouraging attendees and helping them heal, Stringer and others will lead a time of prayer and worship.
"We want to serve the families impacted by the shooting as well as the community at large, people who weren't directly affected by the tragedy but feel a sense of anxiety and fear," Stringer said.
"Ultimately this senseless act impacts us all."
Dr H Norman Wright, a counsellor who focuses on grief and trauma including community-wide recovery, and Edward Smith, Deputy Director of Victim Relief Ministries, will also speak at the sessions. Victim Relief Ministries has brought grief and trauma counselling to those affected by the New Life Church shootings in Colorado Springs in 2007 and other tragedies.
"My prayer is that we will see our shaken community find compassion and hope through the love that will be shared, and that all that attend know that God has not forgotten them," Walker said.