Hundreds Gather at Funeral for Tornado Victims

Post a Comment » Written on February 12th, 2007     
Filed under: News
DELAND, FL (February 12, 2007) – More than 450 people packed a local church on Friday to remember Covenanters Michael and Melinda Sluss, who died February 2 when a tornado destroyed their home.

The memorial service was held at First Assembly of God Church in Deland because Community Covenant Church, a three-year-old congregation where the Slusses were members, does not have its own building.

“It was standing room only,” says family friend Jim Gathings.

Michael, 54, and Melinda, 49, were among 20 people killed by three tornadoes that cut through central Florida earlier this month.

Friends spoke of the couple’s strong faith. Many of the mourners wept as Carol Wickham shared the words of a prayer card she found while searching the rubble of the Sluss family home: “My presence shall go with thee and I shall give thee rest.”

The couple’s son, Aaron, 16, survived the storm and had been hospitalized with arm and wrist injuries until last Tuesday. He sat during the service with his youth group, several of whom shared Scripture.

Gathings addressed Aaron specifically and acknowledged the confusion that always surrounds tragedies.

“Aaron, I’m sorry. I don’t know why God chose to do things this way, and no one else does either, but you will know someday,” Gathings said. “If someone comes up to you and says they know why this happened, don’t believe them.”

“It’s OK to be angry with God,” he added.

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