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Church Impacts Community in the Midst of Tragedy

Hamilton Hills Church, Fishers, Ind., sets up a memorial wall for a murder victim in its community.

by Jaimee Thomason

FISHERS, Ind.—“God showed up in a way that was quite unimaginable and beyond comprehension.” When someone begins a conversation with this simple but powerful statement, I know to expect a story full of God’s grace and mercy. This is precisely how many conversations have begun in Hamilton County, Indiana, over the past few weeks.

A murder/suicide recently took place involving two very vested teachers in the Hamilton Southeastern school system. The murder victim’s school requested that our ministry at Hamilton Hills Church lead a prayer vigil at the campus where the teacher taught. A multitude of staff, students, and community leaders attended this vigil.

The following week, I was contacted by the administration of the school, who requested our help in conducting a memorial service for that beloved staff member. This began a series of conversations that eventually led to a request for our church to host and conduct this special service. Both my team and I were greatly honored and humbled! Some of the best conversations result from God truly showing up in an unimaginable way. For months, even years, the staff team at our church has desperately cried out to God to provide a way for us to make an impact in the Hamilton Southeastern school district. We just never imagined He would do it like this.

The staff came together along with our volunteers, both seasoned and new, to truly come alongside this hurting community and show the love of Jesus. The memorial was a precious time honoring the teacher and her family and was followed by an opportunity for each person to participate in the creation of a memorial wall. Friends and family were able to write notes, write prayers of encouragement, or simply draw a picture.

Out of this humbling experience grew new relationships, and existing ones were strengthened as we have never seen. Through the church’s willingness and readiness to serve came an opportunity that no one could have planned. The church was able to shine a light in a dark time, showing God’s love for those who did not know him.

I know God answers prayer. I truly do. However, I am learning to wait, both patiently and actively so that when He does, I don’t miss it.

Jaimee Thomason is a staff member at Hamilton Hills Church, Fishers, Ind.