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August 29, 2013

Campus ministry provides comfort for Duncan students

DUNCAN — Voices joined together to sing “How Great Is Our God” before those voice broke into smaller groups to begin prayer for each other and praying for the Duncan High School.

Greg Tolle, pastor at First United Methodist Church, led a campus ministry Wednesday morning at the Duncan High School. Pastors from other area churches did the same thing at the other school campuses throughout Duncan.

Tolle said the shooting of Christopher Lane on Aug. 16, was weighing heavily on the Duncan community, the Duncan High School in particular. He said it was important for people to join together in prayer because the community and its residents are going through a trying time.

“My goal is to help in some kind of way,” Tolle said. “I want to bring a little bit of peace to where we are in the community right now. The community is my parish. It’s not just the church.”

About 80 people, including students, teachers, support staff and community members, participated in the event at the high school. Similarly, between 60 to 70 people took part in the event at the Duncan Middle School.

Tolle said he was glad he was able to bring prayer to the Duncan High School because he felt it provided an additional comfort to the school, it students and its teachers.

“I called last week about it doing,” he said. “We were still one week out from Christopher Lane being shot. People are looking for answers, for peace.”

Each pastor or reverend participating in the campus ministry was directed to a campus that he or she had some ties to. For Tolle, his tie is his two children: senior Spencer Tolle and sophomore Bridget Tolle.

The programs at the high school and middle school started at 7:30 a.m., while the elementary school programs started at 8 a.m. Each program lasted just under 30 minutes to provide students time to get to their classes.

Senior Aubrey Mouser said she didn’t have a first hour class, but chose to participate in the early morning program because she believed it was important to pray for her peers during the difficult time.

“I just know this is a huge thing for Duncan,” Mouser said. “It gives us a time to unite and pray for our school.”

She said many of the students at the high school know the three juveniles who were arrested and charged with felonies in the Lane shooting. Two of the three juveniles were charged with first-degree murder.

Mouser said she hopes prayer will put people more at ease on campus and in the community.

“I feel safe with all the security here,” Mouser said.

She said a large number of students participated in the campus ministry, but she hopes those who didn’t were reassured by the strong show of students. She said the early morning prayer was worth giving people peace of mind.

“It shows your school something, too,” Mouser said. “It shows you’re a Christian.”

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