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Columbine High School Tragedy

Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren
Columbine Memorial

In response to the tragedy at Columbine High School
Reverend Sarah Leatherman Young, Pastor
Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren

April 21, 1999                          

   As news spreads nationwide of the shooting at Columbine High School, we
have been contacted for information on how this has impacted our
congregation and our community, and our reactions to it.

   Columbine High School is approximately five miles from Prince of Peace
Church of the Brethren.  None of our youth who are regular participants in
our youth group attend school there.  Nevertheless, our congregation and our
community are shocked and shaken by this violence and loss.  It could have
just as easily happened at Heritage High School, which is a block from our
church, or at any of the other high schools our young people attend.  It
points out the undercurrent of hatred and violence that lurks in our society
in general, and even in our very own neighborhoods.

   As a church, and as neighbors, we are seeking to be of whatever
assistance we can.  There are a number of ecumenical services scheduled
throughout our area for this evening and throughout the week.  We are
canceling our scheduled video/discussion series for tonight so that members
may attend one of these services.  We are also contacting our youth and
offering them a time to come together and share, if that is their desire.
Members are encouraged to donate blood to help replace the amount needed for
treatment of the wounded.  Some of our members with expertise in disaster
response are making connections with authorities, and are on stand-by if
needed to assist.

   Our Sunday morning worship service, which had been scheduled to have an
Earth Day theme, will instead be a time of reflection on and prayer
concerning this tragedy, which community members are invited to attend. One
of our members, Reverend Dean Farringer , who is a retired social worker
with experience in helping people process emotional trauma, has made himself
available to anyone who would like to talk.  You may call him at

   We appreciate the prayers of our friends, families, and sister churches
for emotional and spiritual, and for the wounded the physical, healing of our
community.  We also ask your prayer for our youth, who are the most shaken
by this, several of which are scheduled to attend Regional Youth Conference
at McPherson, Kansas this weekend.

   Reverend Sarah Leatherman Young, Pastor

Cassie's Poem

Cassie Bernall was a 17-year-old junior with long blond
hair. She wanted to cut off this hair and have made into 
wigs for cancer patients who had lost their hair through
chemotherapy. She was active in her youth group at 
Westpool's Community Church and was known for carrying
a Bible to school.

Cassie was in the school library reading her Bible when
the two youths burst in. According to witnesses, one of 
the boys pointed his gun at Cassie and asked, do you believe
in God?"  Cassie paused and then answered, "Yes, I believe 
in God." "Why?" the gunman asked. Cassie did not have a chance
to respond; the gunman had already shot her.

According to the Boston Globe, on the night of her
death, Cassie's brother Chris found a poem Cassie
had written just two days prior to her death. It read:

"Now I have given up on everything else
I have found it to be the only way
To really know Christ and to experience
The mighty power that brought
Him back to life again, and to find
Out what it means to suffer and to
Die with him.  So, whatever it takes
I will be one who lives in the fresh
Newness of life of those who are
Alive from the dead."

Other Links:

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
Littleton Public Schools Response to Columbine High Tragedy
Profiles of each Victim from the Denver Post
Tribute Center and How you can help
Victims and Injured at Columbine

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