The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Shootings' fallout likely long term

The greatest challenge in ministering to students affected by the April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va., may come this fall, wrote William H. King and Joanna Stallings, ELCA campus pastors, in an April 18 letter to their colleagues.

“There is great concern that just about the time the numbness of initial grief wears off, students will be dispersed from their primary support systems by summer break,” they wrote. “Our greatest challenge in campus ministry may well come in the fall. Amidst it all, we try to speak with honesty about both the inexplicable nature of the tragedy and [the] hope that is within us.”

Lutherans offer support

In the wake of the tragedy, King, Stallings, Lutheran Disaster Response staff and many other Lutherans provided emotional and spiritual care for the Virginia Tech community and the surrounding area.

And Lutherans will continue to reach out. “At this time we anticipate that there will be long-term spiritual and emotional needs on campus, as well as throughout the state and the entire country as more is learned about the full extent of this tragedy,” said Kevin Massey, assistant director, ELCA Domestic Disaster Response.

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