Monday, December 17, 2012

New England Baptists Respond to Sandy Hook School Shooting - Guest Post by Bruce James

"Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you."  I Thess 3:11

Words cannot express the tragedy of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shootings. All we can do is to seek to minister and be a presence to those who grieve and survive.

Friday we began to assess the extent of the Sandy Hook massacre and the Baptist Convention of New England responded by sending DR chaplains and volunteers from Friendship Baptist, Litchfield CT, to the Sandy Hook ERC. We immediately then contacted Bryan Symns, Pastor of Southbury Baptist Church, Southbury CT to be the staging area for chaplains. The church is located 15 min from the incident.  Bryan and his congregation as well as others began to respond. John Scoggins, BCNE white hat oversaw initial deployments. 

We were contacted by Executive Director of SBC DR, Micky Caison from NAMB and asked for NAMB Crises Chaplains be deployed on site as well.  We are grateful for how in God's providence had DR Chaplain Enio Aguero, in NY for Superstorm Sandy recovery and he deployed and began to minister at the Sandy Hook ERC. Enio was one of the first chaplains to arrive.  Enio and BCNE chaplains and volunteers have been on-site everyday.

Currently I have asked pastor Pastor Symns to be lead pastor taking point as he lives in the area and will continue long term recovery.  Pastor John Revell of Stamford CT, who is also serving Stamford PD as police chaplain, was contacted on Friday and deployed Saturday. John as well as pastor Bryan have contacted Enio and established an Incident Action Plan which we will be working together.  John will serve as lead chaplain to first responders Enio will be lead chaplain.

On Monday morning all chaplains will meet at Southbury Baptist Church for a daily briefing and strategy session at 9am.  This meeting will be led by Enio Aguero and will look at ideas for current and long term recovery options.  Please keep us in your prayers as we respond as well as the victims and first responders. 

As with 911, this is an extremely difficult time for everyone in the Newtown area.  Stories of the children and first responders are horrifying as well as heartbreaking.  As is the case in most NE disasters the communities rally to bring help and healing to their friends and neighbors.  It is our honor and privilege to walk with them in these days and show them the love of Christ.
Bruce James is the Director of Male Leadership Development and Disaster Relief for the Baptist Convention of New England.

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