NewsLocal News


Local churches respond to deadly Nashville shooting at Christian school

Posted at 6:57 PM, Mar 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-29 19:57:47-04

As more details unveil about the deadly Nashville Shooting at Christian school, nationwide, communities continue to mourn for victim's and their families. Because the shooting happened at a religious-based establishment, some people, including (R) Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri say the crime should be investigated as a hate crime. United States Attorney General, Merrick Garland has said it's too early for the Justice Department to determine if that's the case.

Meanwhile, faith-based communities, including ones in Corpus Christi are hoping to shine light on the importance of sharing love and unity during a difficult time.

KRIS 6 News spoke with Bill Cornelius, a Pastor of Church Unlimited. He and his wife moved to Corpus Christi in 1997. After planting several churches in South Texas and one campus based in San Antonio, they are celebrating 25 years of a multitude's spiritual growth.

"It's a place where everyone's welcome. Especially people who don't like church. If you're uncomfortable in religious settings we're perfect for you because we're not very religious. It's just a fun place where people discover God's not mad at them, but he's mad about them" he said. ,"Churches are a place of acceptance. a place where we care for people and have love for people. And I believe most churches, not every church, I understand that, but most churches, their message, most churches care for everyone."

Pastor Cornelius' mission of sharing that love and care throughout his community is extending to those affected by the deadly Christian school shooting in Nashville. He said, many community members have voiced their grief over the tragedy.

"I think we're all shocked when we see shootings anywhere, but then when you see them shooting children and going to places, described as places of innocence, I mean, a Christian school is a place of learning, a place of acceptance, a place of grace, so it's down right shocking." he said.

When news unfolded of the innocent lives lost, Cornelius said it really hit close to home learning of a nine-year-old victim who was identified as a daughter of a pastor.

"As soon as I saw this pastors daughter was a victim I immediately thought of my own daughter. I mean, I'm a pastor and I have a daughter. And this is incredibly devastating. I can't even imagine sending my kids to school and one of them not coming home." he explained.

As communities throughout the nation show solidarity for those affected in Nashville, Cornelius mentioned support available locally too. He said several churches, including his own, offer counseling services and relief for mental health.

He said it's common for people to feel fear or anxiety after hearing tragic news, but he said it can be an opportunity to seek help and learn more about protocols in place at local establishments. He said if needed, he recommends seeking help from health professionals.

The pastor believes local schools have effective safety plans in place. He also said his church campuses are secure and they follow procedures for emergencies.

"This is where I would say, God is a protecting God, yes, bad things still happen though. I would also say God is close to the broken-hear ted and I would say this is a time for us to reflect on what matters most and it's also a time to gear up and protect the places of innocence." said the Church Unlimited Pastor.

You can learn about Church Unlimited and its resources and events by clicking here.

Church Unlimited Provide the following tips to help families address tragic events:

  • Emphasize that schools are very safe.
  • Validate their feelings
  • Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs.
  • Help put Feelings intoperspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.
  • Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide.
  • Be patient; children and youth do not always talk about their feelings readily.
  • Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or yard work. Some children prefer writing, playing music, or doing an art project as an outlet.
  • Young children may need concrete activities (such as drawing, looking at picture books, or imaginative play) to help them identify and express their feelings.

Start the conversation

  • Let them know you are interested in them and want to know how they are coping with the information.
  • Find times when they are most likely to talk: such as when riding in the car, before dinner or at bedtime.
  • Listen to their thoughts and point of view. Don't interrupt, allow them to express their ideas and understanding before you respond
  • Listen for misinformation or misperceptions and gently correct these.
  • Express your own opinions and ideas without putting down theirs
  • Acknowledge that it is okay to disagree.
  • Reinforce ideas of safety and security. If you know, share what schools and communities are doing to increase safety. Remind them you are there for them to provide safety, comfort and support

Travis Lockyer the Head of School for Annapolis Christian Academy sent the following statement to KRIS 6 News in response to the shooting:

KRIS 6 Covenant Presbyterian School Response