Baptist Organize Chaplains In Aftermath of Shooting

Source: Baptist Standard

In the aftermath of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, the Texas Baptist Convention has been partnering with officials and churches on the ground to provide pastoral assistance and crisis care.

On May 24, 2022, an armed gunman entered Robb Elementary School and barricaded himself in a fourth grade classroom before opening fire, killing 19 students and two adults.

Joe Aguilar, the Convention’s area representative for the Rio Grande Valley, was meeting with church leaders when he received the call to help provide pastoral care following the shooting.

“They went through a lot,” Aguilar said. “It’s a small town. Everybody knows everybody. They are going to need a lot of help.”

Aguilar has been working collaboratively with Department of Public Safety Chaplain Mario Samaniego to identify and contact crisis care chaplains from around the area.

“You want to make sure the people that are providing care are trained, because we want to give the best help, the best assistance, to these families who are in their worst part of life. And not just anybody is prepared for something like this,” Aguilar explained.

In the aftermath of tragedies such as this, chaplains provide specialized care not only to the families, but also to law enforcement officers who are oftentimes members of the community and have relationships with the families of the victims.

“They are the familiar faces. So, the pastors there can be that voice of comfort,” Aguilar said. “They will be there long after everyone else leaves.”

By the time Aguilar arrive on-site, other clergy persons were present including: Tony Gruben, pastor of Baptist Temple Church in Uvalde; Neftali Barboza, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Nueva Jerico Uvalde; and Sonny Garza, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista San Diego and a Texas Baptist Men chaplain.

Texas Baptists Executive Director David Hardage reached out to pastors expressing not only his condolences but also commitment to provide whatever support services are necessary. In a statement Tuesday evening, he called for Texas Baptists and Christians around the globe to pray.

“Our Texas Baptists family joins many others in praying for the families of those whose loved ones were senselessly killed in today’s Uvalde school shooting. We stand ready to help in any way that’s needed,” he said.

Currently, the investigation is ongoing and the school remains closed as the community continues to grieve.

Source: Baptist Standard