Crisis-Trained Chaplains Ministering After Florida School Shooting

By   •   February 14, 2018

A chaplain prays with a couple at a Parkland memorial site.

Class was just about to end for the day when gunshots rang out at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday. As some students hid in classrooms, others ran out of the building to get away from the bullets.

Law enforcement officials are reporting 17 fatalities and have a 19-year-old former student in custody.

“Pray for the students, staff, and families affected by the shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school today,” Franklin Graham posted on shortly after the attack. “Also lift up law enforcement and first responders in your prayers.”

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) has sent a group of 13 crisis-trained chaplains to the area to help offer emotional and spiritual care to the many people who are suffering from this horrific incident.

Several chaplains are already on the ground, and have spoken with several people who are shaken up and are in a state of shock from the event.

“Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is here and ready to be used in any way we can be used,” said crisis-trained chaplain Ray Bombardieri, who talked with an emotional mother of four teachers.

“It’s a day that you pray, every day that I get up, that we will never have to see,” Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said.

This is the fifth Rapid Response Team deployment of 2018. Every deployment so far this year has been prompted by a shooting. Currently, a team of chaplains is on the ground in Westerville, Ohio, in response to the killing of two police officers over the weekend. Another team is ministering in Richardson, Texas, where an officer was shot and killed last Wednesday.

The mission of the RRT is to ensure God’s hope in times of tragedy and provide a ministry of presence to those who are hurting. With 3,200 students enrolled at the high school, the RRT anticipates the emotional and spiritual need to be great.

“Our hearts go out to all those whose lives have been turned upside down due to this incident. We ask everyone to be praying,” said Jack Munday, international director of the RRT. “Pray for all those directly affected by this—the injured, the students, the parents, the faculty and law enforcement.”

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  1. Denise Berg says:

    Remember to pray for the mentally ill shooter, and our President and policymakers so that this country can bring healing to the torment of mental illnesses. Mark 5:15.

  2. Wilma Boling says:

    We went to Billy Graham’s Crusades in the ’60s and the Graham ministries are still reaching out wherever people are hurting. We thank God for you and pray for you.

  3. Tish Beall says:

    My heart is broken for the families whose children have lost their lives! I pray that the Lord will comfort your hearts and give you His perfect peace. John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

  4. John Leonard Harris says:

    This most recent shooting and all the others speak to the great need to help people know that life does not go on forever (at least not here). Though death is full of sorrow, the believer in Jesus Christ has an eternal hope that overcomes death, just as Jesus did. Let’s impress on everyone we meet that everyone’s soul will be required of them one day and it is vital to know where one will spend eternity.

  5. Jerry Mathews says:

    My prayers to all the beloved ones and families of the victims. May the Lord provide them strength to overcome this difficult time.

  6. Jimmie knodel says:

    God bless these chaplains as they comfort and share Jesus with these people.

  7. Cathy Fanning says:

    Dear Lord, please cover the tears of these people suffering from this tragedy with Your tenderness. Bring comfort to their hearts and draw them to Yourself. I pray for their salvation if they do not yet know You and I pray that You undergird those who are already believers in Jesus Christ.
    In Jesus’ name, Amen

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