The Duncan Banner

August 28, 2013

Area pastors reach out to community after tragic shooting

Rebeka Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Local ministers are encouraging their congregations to use prayer in dealing with emotions of worry and fear that have surfaced following the shooting death of Chris Lane, a college baseball player who was visiting Sarah Harper, his girlfriend here.

A community-wide Night of Healing and Hope begins at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, at Plato Elementary. Bryan Pain, pastor of First Baptist Church, said he has not had an influx of members from the FBC congregation coming to him for counsel or comfort but his hopes for the evening are to honor Lane, who was shot while running on Country Club Road one week ago, and help the healing of the Duncan community.

Greg Tolle, pastor of First United Methodist Church, will be one of those who is leading prayer time at the event.

“On Sunday, several folks (in church) were distraught and talking about how many times they have jogged that same path,” Tolle said. “There was a sense of shock that this happened in our community.

“I think we need to focus on the people who are scared and still trying to make sense of something that is senseless,” he said. “Everyone is touched from this in some way.”

Arnold Nelson, pastor of First Christian Church, is also participating in the service tonight. Nelson said the biggest issue is the sorrow and loss the families of Lane and Sarah Harper, Lane’s girlfriend, are feeling.

“I’m encountering a lot of sadness and embarrassment this happened in our town,” he said. “Anyplace you live, there are people who get terribly mislead and do foolish, awful things. It’s our job to be witness for how a better way to live can be.”

Both Tolle and Brad McCoy, pastor of Tanglewood Bible Fellowship, are reminding their congregations to remember also the families of the three teens accused of Lane’s murder.

“Last night (Wednesday), after our normal scheduled prayer time, I asked how we should pray for Duncan,” said McCoy. “We asked God to comfort and minister to the family and friends of Chris but also asked God to comfort the families of the accused because they’re in pain as well.”

While none of the pastors are planning to focus their entire upcoming Sunday messages on what has happened over the last week, each said they plan to touch on it.

“It will be a part of the service in some way,” said Tolle. “Just to continue to keep everything in our prayers.”

Published in the Friday, Aug. 23 print edition of The Duncan Banner.