Briefing Report on Fort Hood
prepared for PC(USA) leadership April 4, 2014
"It is great to be connected to so many Presbyterian Christians who respond so quickly and with competence,” wrote Grace Presbytery’s Ronnie Holloman, M.Div., D. Min, in thanks for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s (PDA) Initial Response in the aftermath of the Ft. Hood shooting event this past Wednesday evening, April 2, 2014.
Ronnie is Grace Presbytery’s Senior Director of Ministry and Church Transitions, and in that capacity has been spending a great deal of time focused on the churches located in Grace Presbytery’s southern geography which includes the Central Texas communities Killeen, Belton, Temple and Gatesville.
Ronnie has been on the phone this week with Rev. Lisa Juica (pronounced Wee-ka) who is the moderator of the Administrative Commission for First, Killeen, as well as being the Associate for Admissions at Austin Seminary. “I visited with Lisa a few minutes ago and Lisa will be at First Presbyterian Church, Killeen on Sunday, along with The Rev. Dr. Jack Barden, Director of Admissions at Austin Seminary.”
“Lisa and Jack have been in conversation with PDA National Response Team member Dr. Jim Ellor today. Plans are being developed. We welcome the ministry of presence. Thank you.”
Jim Ellor and Suzanne Baroody, both seasoned members of the PDA National Response Team (PDA-NRT), are among the initial response the PC(USA) is bringing to the Ft. Hood communities. PDA is familiar with Ft. Hood, having deployed in response to the shooting there in 2009.
Now, five years later, we stand in the GAP again. This event has had a ripple effect much larger than the media-reported 16 casualties and fatalities (including the gunman). Providentially, none of the deceased or injured were Presbyterians, but 12-14 Presbyterians were involved in the Base Lock Down Wednesday night. More than this, the entire Central Texas Region is connected in many ways to Ft. Hood, the army’s largest facility. Many of our congregants are retired military.
In addition to worship on Sunday, PDA-NRT will be attending a Seventh Day Adventist candlelight service Friday evening, as well as the memorial service on base either Tuesday or Wednesday evening.
Ft. Hood straddles the boundary between Grace and Mission Presbyteries. Karen Stocks, Stated Clerk at Mission Presbytery, shared that this Sunday was already a special event in the life of First United Presbyterian Church of Copperas Cove, which will be ordaining Dr. Naomi Ingrim. Ruben Armendariz, Consultant for Church Development and Acting Head of Staff for Mission Presbytery, will be attending. Moved by her own pending ordination and the emotional outpouring of responses to the shooting, Naomi reached out to PDA for a prayer to be included in Sunday’s service.
The above report was prepared by PDA NRT member Harvey Howell.