In the aftermath of the mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., Eastern Hills Christian Reformed Church, also located in Aurora, responded quickly.
Since the shooting, the congregation has been working with other area churches to provide support and care to those who were affected.
Rick Feria, family life pastor at Eastern Hills, lives near the cinema. “I went to the high school where they were interviewing witnesses and where families and friends could go to get information about people who were unaccounted for,” Feria said.
Staff members from other churches were also there to listen to and pray with people—not just those coming in to find out about family members, but also the police, FBI staff, firefighters, and medical personnel. “It was a gut-wrenching day,” said Feria. By the end of the day, he said, the people who remained were family and friends of those who were not in hospitals. They were suspecting the worst, but official notifications had not been made yet.
No one in the Eastern Hills congregation was injured, but some were present in the theater where the shooting took place or in one of the other theaters in the building. Some who attend the church have relatives or friends who were injured or killed.
After each church service on the weekend, Eastern Hills had people available to pray with those whowere affected in any way by the tragedy.
“We will continue to be available to provide support for our people as well as a connecting place to other resources that people may need,” said Feria.
Eastern Hills is one of the largest congregations in the Christian Reformed Church.