WNYT.com

Local pastors reflect on Connecticut mission

Posted at: 12/25/2012 11:35 PM
By: Dan Levy

BALLSTON SPA - On a day when the universal message is supposed to be peace on earth, two, local ministers still find themselves thinking about the "element of evil" that visited Connecticut eleven days ago.

Pastor Rick Cohen and Pastor Scott Lumley traveled to Newtown in the aftermath of the mass murder that left 26 people dead, 20 of them young school children. They were dealing with broken hearts and shattered dreams, ministry memories that will likely last far beyond this holiday season.

Their purpose in Newtown was to stand with people in pain, and there was quite of bit of standing to be done.

"We were grieving with them already and we certainly grieved with them while we were there but we didn't grieve without hope," said Cohen, of the Adirondack Christian Fellowship in Wilton. "If we were hopeless I don't think we would have gone."

Cohen, along with Pastor Scott Lumley of Calvary Capital District Church in Ballston Spa, counseled dozens of people every day while on their Connecticut mission; family, friends, and neighbors of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims, in a community "visited by evil" eleven days before Christmas, which calls into question the appropriateness of discussing matters of mass murder at a time when people are celebrating the birth of Christ.

"He (Christ) came as a light to a very dark place and he came to a time when light was desperately needed," said Lumley. "So it's absolutely appropriate to be talking about the condition of man."

Lumley points out there's only so much that civilized people can do to keep evil from happening yet it still happens.

"It's always a test of faith," he says, "but the wonderful thing about knowing Jesus Christ is that he bears our burdens."

Something else that's arisen in the aftermath of the Newtown Massacre is a national debate over gun control, something the pastors say is out of their arena, instead opting to delve into the "deepest need of man."

"Our sin and failure," is what Pastor says mankind needs to focus on. "It's society, it's culture. There's no perfect culture and there's a need for humility on all of us."

"Being in front of a camera is sometimes necessary, but it's not normal for us," Lumley adds. "What we do best goes unnoticed and we look to respect peoples' private and their broken hearts, but Jesus Christ is the answer to the human condition."

Both pastors will be sharing their experiences from Newtown during a prayer worship service this coming Sunday morning at 11:30 A.M. at the Calvary Capital District Church on Low Street in Ballston Spa.