Nazarene ties to victims in Indianapolis massacre
Indianapolis-The Indianapolis Star is calling the June 1 massacre that left seven Indianapolis family members dead the city's worst homicide case in more than 20 years. According to an Associated Press report citing documents filed by prosecutors, the incident began when one of the victims returned home and drew a weapon as two gunmen were ransacking the house.
The AP report stated James Stewart, 30, who was arrested in the killings, was reportedly searching upstairs for a safe but didn't find it and returned downstairs. There, he found the home's owner, Magno Albarran, with a gun pulled on Desmond Turner, 28, whom authorities consider the main triggerman.
The affidavit filed in Marion County Criminal Court stated Stewart told investigators he fired his handgun at Albarran. Turner then "started shooting everybody," Stewart said, referring to the additional family members already in the home - including three children who were in their bedrooms.
The AP report said a witness who had driven to the house with Flora Albarran, 22, and waited in the car as she went to get her son told police she noticed all the lights were out in the house and grew concerned.
Shortly after Flora Albarran entered the house, the witness watched as her brother, Magno Albarran, entered carrying a box of takeout food, according to the affidavit. His arrival was followed by screaming; gunshots; Flora Albarran screaming, "Not my baby"; more shooting; and then silence.
Killed at the home were Magno Albarran, 29; Flora Albarran, 22; her son, Luis, 5; the Albarrans' mother, Emma Valdez, 46; Alberto Covarrubias, 56; and the sons of Valdez and Covarrubias, Alberto Covarrubias, 11, and David Covarrubias, 8.
According to Indianapolis Shepherd Community Center Senior Pastor Jay Height, two of the boys, Alberto Covarrubias and David Covarrubias, were part of the center's outreach program. Height said they have been engaged with the boys and their family for the past four years.
The Shepherd Community Center is a Church of the Nazarene compassionate ministry center that has operated in the Near-Eastside of Indianapolis since 1984. According to their web site, the inner-city ministry center's mission is to cultivate healthier children, stronger families, and a safer neighborhood through supportive relationships that meet the physical, emotional, academic, and spiritual needs of area residents.
During the 2005 General Assembly in Indianapolis, the center hosted multiple Nazarene work & witness groups, including members of the Association of Nazarene Technologists, who set up a computer lab for the center.
An understandably shaken Height told NCN News the picture being used by the media of the family was taken at the center's recent Christmas program.
Not only did the center lose extended family members in the massacre, but one of the center's employees is the sister of Emma Valdez, one of the seven killed.
Prayer is requested for all affected by the murders, including the family members of those who died and the Shepherd Community Center family.
--NCN News, Associated Press/CNN (AP photo)
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Indonesia Disaster Relief update
Yogyakarta, Indonesia-Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, the Asia-Pacific Region, and Heart to Heart International (Gary Morsch and five other members) continue to be on the front lines in Indonesia aiding with disaster relief following a 6.3 earthquake on May 27. More than 5,700 people were killed in the quake.
Sealands Field Strategy Coordinator Bob McCrosky reports:
- Church officials learned of the first Nazarene fatality in the earthquake - a young girl who was in the third grade. She was in the Rujak Gadungan post outside of Klaten. During the quake, she chose to exit her shaking house out the back door but got tangled in bamboo poles holding up the roof and she died from head injuries. The team visited the site and Morsch performed medical exams on survivors.
- Distribution points were set up quickly in many areas and teams have distributed fresh bread, vegetables, sack lunches, and hot meals to those in need. Right now some teams are distributing donated goods, but plans are underway to gather enough supplies to establish a community kitchen in at least one area. Plans are also underway to distribute sacks of cement to hundreds of homes to help with rebuilding.
- Classes at the damaged Nazarene Bible College will be cancelled for a second week so students can continue to help in disaster recovery, food distribution, and helping tear down damaged houses. "This is better training for them than anything we can teach them from a lectern."
- Damage to college buildings includes some structural damage, significant cracks in walls, roof damage, broken pipes, lost cement awnings, and perhaps of highest priority is the perimeter wall around the school. Large portions of the wall were lost and thieves have already been seen on the campus. Reportedly a car dropped off eight thieves in the community and two found their way onto the campus. Because people are sleeping outside their damaged homes with doors open, there are many prime targets for robbery.
- One church is making temporary beds out of bamboo for people who are now homeless.
- Plans are underway to rebuild the church and parsonage in Panggang that were destroyed in the quake.
- Budgets have been established in multiple areas for recovery efforts, but costs remain high. Those wishing to donate to Indonesia earthquake relief efforts, please mark checks "Indonesia Earthquake Relief ACM2001" and mail them to the General Treasurer, 6401 The Paseo, Kansas City, MO 64131. In Canada, checks should be made payable and sent to the Church of the Nazarene Canada, 20 Regan Road, Unit 9, Brampton, Ontario L7A 1C3. Immediate donations may also be made online at www.ncm.org.
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NDR prepares for a new season of storms
Plymouth, North Carolina-While still in the midst of response operations in the U.S. Gulf Coast area, Nazarene Disaster Response (NDR) continues to prepare for the hurricane season of 2006 that officially began June 1.
"The local churches were the real heroes of Katrina, Rita, and Wilma," states Steve Creech, national director of NDR, highlighting the fact that the local church that serves as NDR's first level of response.
"The local churches rallied around their communities and provided much needed disaster services such as feeding and sheltering," he continued. "There would have been no organized Nazarene response without their tireless efforts."
In order to better help the local church respond, NDR has released four disaster training modules for churches. These modules are taught by certified instructors and are available for district training in all manner of disaster response, not just hurricane relief. Creech strongly urges that districts who have not done so already, appoint a district NDR coordinator to facilitate training and preparation for responding to disasters in their area.
The four new modules are:
Module 1 - Early Response Team Training
This one-day training program equips a local church or district team to respond immediately to a local disaster. This team will deploy in the first 24 to 48 hours following a disaster, the most critical time period in response operations. When a community has been devastated by a disaster, volunteers are needed on the ground as soon as possible.
Module 2 - Long Term Response Team Training
This one-day training program equips a local church or district team to respond long-term in the weeks and months following a disaster. This response is done while the affected community is in the recovery phase and will also train teams from outside the area for disaster response deployment.
Module 3 - CARE (Caring As a Response to Emergencies) Team Training
This one-day training program equips pastors, chaplains, and laity to properly respond to the spiritual and emotional needs of people during times of disaster. This training is essential for a holistic response to disaster victims, volunteers, and affected local churches.
Module 4 - Traumatology Certification Training (Under Development)
This two-day certification course in traumatology, taught by Phil Budd, director of graduate studies in counseling at Southern Nazarene University, will be available in the next few months. This training will equip mental health professionals, pastors, and chaplains in meeting the emotional and psychological needs of disaster victims in a more formal way.
These modules are currently being scheduled. Any local church or district who would like more information may contact Steve Creech at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (252) 799-6888.
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Gulf Coast pastors meet with NDR and Clergy Development as 2006 Hurricane Season begins
Dickson, Tennessee-"Compassion fatigue" was a new term to the (U.S.) Gulf Coast pastors and spouses assembled at the Tennessee District Campground May 25-29. Nazarene Disaster Relief and Clergy Development assembled 40 ministry leaders whose roles ranged from front-line responders to distribution center coordinators to discuss the topic.
The conference was designed to come alongside clergy caregivers of Hurricane Katrina and similar disasters of the Gulf Coast region. Phil Budd, director of graduate programs in counseling at Southern Nazarene University, led several sessions with the clergy caregivers. Budd, who played a significant role in supporting Nazarene clergy affected by the Oklahoma City Murrah Building bombing as well as those affected by the trauma of 9/11, offered insight into "compassion fatigue."
According to Budd, "compassion fatigue" is experienced through one's "strengths" of care giving. "It represents the cost of caring about and for traumatized people. Compassion fatigue is the emotional residue of exposure to working with the suffering" (www.ace-network.com). At the close of the conference, attendees were encouraged to develop 90-day and 12-month self-care plans as a means of building stress resiliency.
Another major component of the conference was encouraging the faith of the clergy caregivers. Dan Copp, Clergy Development director, incorporated heartfelt worship each day. Guest speakers included Dan Soliday of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (USA and Canada) and Dan Boone, president of Trevecca Nazarene University. The inspirational stories of Nazarene clergy opened the door for shared experiences and the devotional times ushered in the assurance of God's grace and hope in the midst of tragedy.
"At the start of the 2006 hurricane season, which officially began Thursday [June 1] the Federal Emergency Management Agency is 'much more prepared than we were last year, or any previous year,' says Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security Secretary."*
Nazarene Disaster Response (NDR) has a similar posture. NDR, which funded the conference, sought to evaluate how the organization can more effectively respond to local communities after a major disaster. Steve Creech, NDR director, discussed effective strategies for first responders, aid and communication to heavily damaged areas, and the tangible hope offered through Crisis Care Kits being distributed by the thousands.
The rebuilding efforts in Hurricane Katrina-ravaged areas still present challenges to many of the Gulf Coast pastors. To read more about the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and the many stories of grace go to http://www.ncm.org/news_katrina.aspx.
* Mimi Hall and Nick Martin, "Chertoff: FEMA hurricane-ready", USA Today, June 1, 2006, Retrieved June 2, 2006.
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Arizona church fire possible 6-6-06 crime
Winslow, Arizona-Just two months after the Kaibeto Church of the Nazarene was destroyed by fire, another Southwest Native American District church is dealing with damage resulting from a fire. In the early morning hours of June 6, the "NYI Room" of the Dilkon First Church of the Nazarene in Winslow, Arizona sustained major fire damage.
Officials suspect the date of the fire may be significant.
According to Pastor James Paddock, he was notified after midnight on June 6, 2006 (6-6-06) that the church was on fire. He went to the church to find the new portion of the church, which houses the youth and Sunday School classes, engulfed in flames.
Paddock told NCN News that a neighbor boy that lives a quarter-mile away couldn't sleep that night and asked his dad if he could go outside to sleep. His father opened the door of the house, located in a rural neighborhood, and the two saw the fire in the church windows. The two were also able to see a car speeding away from the scene and they quickly notified authorities.
The fire department was able to extinguish the fire, but there was significant damage to the inside of the building. Because they were able to respond quickly, the church building was not a total loss.
When Paddock arrived at the church, he was unable to enter the church through the front door away from the fire as the smoke was already too thick.
Paddock stated one juvenile and one adult have been arrested and are currently incarcerated. A federal investigation continues into the incident, which occurred on tribal land.
Paddock said the fire was started when the two suspects broke the window of the NYI Room and threw some burning weeds/bushes into the building.
The story appeared in the Gallup, New Mexico Independent newspaper. One speculated motive centers around the date of the fire, 6-6-06. A satanic marking was found on the shoe of the juvenile arrested in the case. No official motive has been reported.
The NYI room that sustained the damage was only built last year. Paddock said the church had an encouraging prayer meeting in the sanctuary on Wednesday evening in spite of the smoke damage and smell. Sunday morning's service will likely be held in the sanctuary, although no official plans had been made as of Thursday morning.
--NCN News, Linda Secakuku
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East Timorese Nazarenes finding joy and purpose even as refugees
Dili, East Timor-The violence and destruction in East Timor, which began in reaction against the Prime Minister's firing of 600 striking security officers in March, continues and has spread beyond the capital city of Dili, according to Thursday's news reports. read more
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