This Saturday, Oct 1, 2o16, marks one year since Douglas County experienced a tragedy unlike any other in our history. A gunman entered a classroom at Umpqua Community College and opened fire killing nine people, injuring more than a dozen people, and changing the lives of thousands in a period of just a few minutes.
Several events are occurring this weekend. A group is sponsoring a 5k/9k walk/run fundraiser for scholarships at UCC. Sanctus Real will share a concert Saturday afternoon and at 7:30pm the Douglas County Evangelical Fellowship is hosting a candle light service at Stewart Park in Roseburg.
Several local pastors, a number of mental health professionals from across the region, and local mental health professionals will be staffing drop in centers throughout the weekend (I will be serving with this group all day Friday and most of Saturday).
Many where were more directly impacted by the events of 10/1/15 want to have nothing to do with the events of this weekend. And many need some sort of way to grieve and express their hurt together – thus the fundraiser, the concert, and the candlelight service.
Life has not stood still for any of us since last year. Family and friends have died, people have moved in and out of our lives, children and grandchildren have been born. But for a few moments this weekend many of us who live in Douglas County will remember the news flashes, the texts, the emails, the phone calls that marked that day. Many of us will remember the hurt and grief we experienced.
Yet life continues to go on. Later this day I will visit a dear saint who is taking her final breaths here on earth. I will finish preparing a message to share with my congregation on Sunday morning. I will cheer on the high school volleyball team.
But life will not be the same. Pray for those of us who are serving our community. Pray for those whose lives are still being impacted daily by those horrific moments (first responders, the families whose loved ones were killed, the individuals and families who were injured – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. There is much rebuilding to do, but with God’s help and in His strength we will discover resilience and the ability to restructure life.