Chardon Church Offers Help, Support to Community

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CHARDON, Ohio — In times like this, Laura Barbins said to have a little faith.

Barbins, a pastor of the Celebration Lutheran Church in Chardon, said many people are turning to God after the shooting at Chardon High School. The shooting took the lives of three students and seriously injured two others last Monday.

“I think after Columbine, nobody in the country knew what to do,” she said. “Unfortunately, we’ve had enough experience now and 9/11 taught us an awful lot about what resiliency is.”

Church patrons wore red and black and small heart stickers to honor the victims during church services on Sunday.

“We’re doing it for them, to support them,” said Gail Goldsworth, of Mentor. “It shows that we all care for another, and embracing all the red and black, all the ribbons, the heart.”

The past week, Barbins said the church has gained support from around the world, with many who want to help.

“It’s been really amazing the number of prayers that have come our way,” she said.

Barbins said many react differently in events like this. Some may question their faith, while others may go to it for answers.

Yet, as tragic as things may seem, Barbins said the community has reached out in rather important ways.

“A member of the United Methodist Church here in town took a prayer shawl to T.J.’s grandmother and prayed with her,” Barbins said about the accused teenage shooter.

Barbins said for people to stay strong, and know that together, they can move beyond the events of this past week.

“One of my youth said she was approached by somebody, and said ‘Where are you from?’ and she said, ‘Oh, I’m from Chardon,’ and this person said, ‘Oh, is that where the school shootings are?’ and she said, ‘No. That’s where the Maple Festival is.’ What a powerful statement. We’re not going to let this event be the defining moment for Chardon,” Barbins said.

*For additional coverage of the tragedy in Chardon, click here.