Leader of Vestavia Hills church gives advice on healing after tragedy
VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (WBRC) - Just days after the deadly shooting at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, church members walked through the doors to worship and join each other in fellowship on June 19.
Many brought flowers to drop off at the makeshift memorial right in front of the St. Stephen’s sign.
As the congregation at St. Stephen’s starts the lengthy healing process, another congregation in the area knows all too well what they’re going through.
Just six months ago, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dealt with its own church shooting.
Shots were fired inside the gymnasium, injuring one of their missionaries.
“It was scary,” said Barry Sadler. “It was a very frightening event and a lot of our members were impacted.” Sadler is the Birmingham Stake President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It happened on Friday, December 3, 2021 during a basketball outreach event at the church.
“They played a game or two and then one of them went to a bag that he had and pulled out a pistol and shot one of our missionaries, Michael Fauber.”
Fortunately, the victim of this church shooting is still alive today.
“He’s still in the process of recovering,” said Sadler. “It’s a long recovery process but he’s progressing.”
He goes on to say things like this should never happen.
“Churches should be a place of security, sanctuaries of peace,” he added. “So when something like that happens, it is shocking and it is scary so a lot of our members reacted in the normal ways. They were worried, afraid.”
Even now, six months later, Sadler says they are still recovering from the frightful day.
He says there are a few things that can help with the process. One of them is security.
“We had some training for some of our leadership and we’ve talked about how to handle situations like that,” said Sadler. “Then we increased the lighting in our parking lot, tried to increase some visibility around the building.”
Being able to lean on each other is an important part of healing, according to Sadler.
“I think over time and being together are the biggest things, moving forward with faith and prayer,” he said. “Those things help us to move forward and move past those tragic and shocking events.”
Sadler says they gained strength through community support and knowing members of all different faiths were lifting them up.
Now, in the wake of the fatal shooting at St. Stephen’s, he’s urging the Birmingham-metro to give them the same support and love.
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