Response to Tragedy

by lopc

Categories: Youth Ministry

This is an email that went out today to parents of the LOPC community…
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Dear Parents of Fuse, YOW, & BTW students,

I write to you today with a heavy heart and tragic news. Early on Thursday, January 3, Colin Wiseman, the 10th grade son of Carrie and Graham took his own life. In the face of events like this there is simply no satisfying explanation, only pain, suffering, and an overwhelming sense of loss. As I’m sure you can imagine, this has been devastating for the Wiseman family. In this moment they are already surrounded by family and friends offering much needed love, care and support in the midst of a terribly difficult time.

We wanted to let you know the memorial service for Colin is planned for this coming Saturday, January 12, at 11:00am in the church Sanctuary. We expect a large turnout for the service and hope you will be here to support the Wiseman family and honor Colin’s life. If you do plan to come to the service, you are welcome to bring sandwiches (no condiments, please) or dessert foods for the reception to follow the service.

The Wiseman family has contributed a great deal to LOPC. Carrie and Graham met while at youth group in their younger years and have continued to be involved, volunteering in middle school ministry for a number of years. They care a great deal for the community at LOPC and if you can, we encourage you to write a letter or short note to Carrie, Graham, and their 8th grade daughter Nicole to let them know you are thinking about and praying for Colin and the Wisemans. (At this point, with so many calls the family needs to make and so many calls they are already receiving, we are encouraging notes and letters in the mail rather than through the phone.) If you would like to do so, their address is:
[In the email that went out we included the address of the family. For the sake of privacy we removed it from this blog post. If you would like to contact the family please email Zach or Brie]

We have spent time with the family as they have moved forward with difficult decisions. In the midst of that we have started to organize a system for bringing meals and providing other needs for the Wiseman family in the coming weeks. If you and your family feel you want to contribute in this way please respond to this e-mail and a link will be sent to you with more information.

If you or your student has any needs of your own during this time, our doors are always open to come and talk. However, if you feel the need to speak with a counselor we suggest working through your individual schools. We are here to open up the dialogue but deeper counseling and psychological needs should happen in the context of families and professional therapists. If you wish to speak to either of us for any reason, or if you would like referrals or other resources, you can reach us on our cell phones at any time:

Zach: 925-360-4365
Brie: 707-718-1713

Other resources for students going through a difficult time include different crisis hotlines:
– National Hopeline Network 1-800-442-HOPE
– National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK

For the moment, please be in prayer for the Wisemans, their extended family, and for the community of adolescents in both high school and middle school who are be affected by this heartbreaking event.

As a community of faith we cling to the promises of God through Christ in times like these: that God grieves with us, and is present for all those who experience pain and sorrow, and goes ahead to prepare a way for us. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says to his disciples, “Trust in God and trust in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” With all of our hearts, may it be so.

In Christ,

-Zach Walker & Brie Johnson

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