By Becky Stephens Smithey
After the friends and family have gone home, the casseroles have been eaten, and life is supposed to return to normal, the big question remains: How do you take the first step forward after you have lost a loved one?
Healing from a loss and from tragedy is hard. No church knows this better than Front Street Baptist Church in Statesville, N.C. On Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, a bus carrying members of the church home to North Carolina blew a tire, veered across a highway median and crashed into a sport utility vehicle and tractor-trailer in a fiery wreck that killed eight people, six of which were church members.
That’s where St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Louisville, Tenn., comes in. It has been over five months since that tragic accident. The choir felt it was laid on their hearts by God to reach out these hurting people, but how?
After much prayer, discernment and planning, on March 9, St. Mark’s moved worship to 9 a.m. and then commissioned over 50 people to travel four hours to Front Street Baptist Church to worship with them through music. They wanted to share with Front Street that they are surrounded by churches all across the region who are holding them close in thought and prayer. More importantly, St. Mark’s wanted to remind them that they are not alone. God is with them.
After an hour of singing of God’s love, care and grace, it was actually the congregation of over 200 people at Front Street Baptist Church that inspired St. Mark’s. Their strength, courage and faith have risen to the occasion and are an inspiration to churches near and far.
The Rev. Smithey is pastor at St. Mark's United Methodist Church.