The Church of the Brethren requests prayer for college communities in Kansas and Virginia following three separate and unrelated tragedies: McPherson (Kan.) College and Bridgewater (Va.) College, both Church of the Brethren-related schools, and Tabor College in central Kansas, which is related to the Mennonite Brethren denomination.
“Hold our colleges in prayer as they deal with the loss of life and tragedy,” requested Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger. “Any of these events are enough to send a community reeling. This is where the church really has a role to play, holding all in prayer without judgment, asking for the Spirit of God to be present.” He added that the church has an opportunity and responsibility as people of faith to be in partnership with the colleges at this time to support students, faculty, and staff who are in mourning.
The community at McPherson College has been hit hard by the death of nineteen-year-old Paul Ziegler from Elizabethtown, Pa., a sophomore business major, who was killed Sunday afternoon when his bicycle was hit by a car (find a release, “McPherson College Mourns Death of Beloved Student,” at http://www.mcpherson.edu/news/index.php?action=fullnews&id=2282).
Also this past weekend McPherson student Alton Franklin was arrested in connection with the death of Tabor student Brandon Brown, and has been charged with “aiding and abetting murder in the second degree,” according to a report in the “McPherson Sentinel” newspaper. Brown died Saturday in a Wichita hospital, about a week after he was found injured outside a house in McPherson after an altercation at a party (see below for a statement issued by McPherson College president Michael Schneider).
Bridgewater College is mourning the death of senior Rasheda Alestock, 22, a business administration major who attended Bridgewater as a commuter student. She was killed on Sunday, Sept. 16, in a shooting at her home. The Carter Center Stone Prayer Chapel was open the day after the death for members of the college community to pray and light a candle for her, and the school held a service of prayer and remembrance last Tuesday. The college also is offering counseling and spiritual services to students, faculty, and staff. (Find the release, “BC Mourns Loss of Student” at http://www.bridgewater.edu/news-and-media/releases/1084-bc-mourns-loss-of-student).
Sept. 25, 2012