As shocked British Columbia residents struggled to deal with two violent, fatal attacks, Rapid Response Team (RRT) chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada responded to provide Christ’s love and compassion.
Financial support from people like you enabled two crisis-trained chaplains to spend three days in Salmon Arm after one man was killed and another seriously wounded during an April 14 shooting attack at the Church of Christ.
Church members wrestled the shooter to the ground. He has since been charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault.
Just a day later, on April 15, four people were shot to death at two locations in Penticton, only 170 kilometers south of Salmon Arm.
A 68-year-old Penticton man turned himself into police, and has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder. Police say the shooter and the four victims knew each other.
“It’s a privilege for this ministry to have trained chaplains responding quickly to both communities, offering the hope of Jesus, along with spiritual and emotional care, to hurting, traumatized residents.”
-Rapid Response Team Manager Merle Doherty
“A privilege for this ministry to respond quickly”
“It’s extremely rare for two tragic shooting events like this to happen so close together,” said RRT Manager Merle Doherty.
“It was a privilege for this ministry to have trained chaplains respond quickly to both communities, offering the hope of Jesus, along with spiritual and emotional care, to hurting, traumatized residents.”
In Salmon Arm, RRT chaplains met and prayed with the Church of Christ leadership team, along with many of the 30 church members who were present when the shooting took place.
“The overwhelming response was disbelief and grief, as well as compassion and forgiveness towards the suspect,” said chaplain Rick Benner.
“The Church of Christ is a small, very tight-knit community of deeply rooted believers, who are steadfast in their faith, and are trusting God for the outcome of this incident.”
“Pastor and church were in crisis”
After finishing in Salmon Arm, Rick and his wife, Sally (also a crisis-trained chaplain), travelled to Penticton to join two other RRT chaplains. Together, they spent three days ministering to stunned and grieving residents in this Okanagan city of 43,000.
Chaplains met with the leadership team and members of a church regularly attended by two of the victims.
“This pastor and church were in crisis,” said chaplain Patricia Kanwischer. “The pastor shared his heart and we were able to pray with him. This meeting was God ordained.”
Before finishing in Penticton, the four RRT chaplains attended a community vigil and offered Christ’s compassion to everyone they encountered, “because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34, ESV). We praise God that they helped one resident dedicate her life to Jesus Christ.
You can be part of this vital Kingdom effort through your donations and prayers. Please join us so we can provide hurting people “the steadfast love of the Lord [that] never ceases” (Lamentations 3:22).
Give To Rapid Response Team
Your gift will provide for the training and deployment of our Rapid Response Team chaplains, who are deployed when natural or man made disasters strike in Canada and abroad. RRT chaplains serve and support hurting people affected by crisis, and share the message of hope found in Jesus.