People have asked me about different ways to show mercy and help communities and people in crisis. This is from the Indiana District Newsletter and it is pretty cool.
The dogs and LCC staff traveled to Connecticut at the request of LCMS New England District President Rev. Timothy Yeadon, and part of their travel costs are being paid by LCMS Disaster Response. LCC is an LCMS Recognized Service Organization. The LCC team is working cooperatively with Christ the King Lutheran Church in Newtown and its pastor, the Rev. Robert H. Morris II, “to bring the mercy, compassion, presence and proclamation of Jesus to all those who have been traumatized by this horrific [school shooting],” according to a statement on the LCC website.
In a Dec. 17 phone interview with Reporter, Hetzner said the comfort dogs are so well-received because “they are like a furry counselor. We say they’re a bridge for ministry — the dogs show unconditional love, they’re not judgmental, they’re soft, they’re confidential and they don’t keep notes.” The response in Newtown, he said, has been “absolutely positive, all the way around.” Hetzner and several of the dogs and handlers had just spent the day (Dec. 17) at the local youth activity center with students from Sandy Hook Elementary School. The children approached the dogs “kind of sad,” Hetzner said, but walked away smiling. “That’s the rewarding part,” he said. “The parents said ‘thank you so much for coming.’ And I think a big part of it is [that] we come in giving, while most of the people in town are taking — they’re taking stories, they’re taking interviews, and the people are just tired of it.”
The dogs also have spent time at Christ the King Lutheran Church as well as at outdoor memorial sites in town. On Dec. 17 Christ the King held a funeral for one of the shooting victims, a boy, and was planning another for Wednesday, Dec. 19. That funeral is for a girl who had attended its Sunday school. Neither of the families are members of the LCMS congregation.