Ministering to Others in Midst of Tragedy

Post a Comment » Written on September 16th, 2008     
Filed under: News
SIMI VALLEY, CA (September 16, 2008) – Simi Valley police chaplain Kurt Fredrickson walked to the front door with an officer to deliver the tragic news. On Saturday morning, he was letting a local family know that one of their members had died in Friday’s commuter train wreck that claimed the lives of 25 people.

The family had tried all night to find out what happened to the man, who they had not heard from and who regularly rode the commuter train involved in the accident. When the family saw the two uniformed men, they knew.

“You’re confirming their worst fears,” says Fredrickson, an ordained Evangelical Covenant Church minister who is the director of the Doctor of Ministry program and assistant professor of pastoral ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena.

Fredrickson began serving as a chaplain 15 years ago while he was pastor of Simi Covenant Church. He has continued to serve after assuming the academic position.

As a police chaplain, Fredrickson often accompanies officers to deliver the sad news that a family member has died. “It’s a privilege” to minister to the families as well as the officers, he says.

Fredrickson has not needed to make any other notices related to the train wreck, but he consulted with city leaders who were concerned about how to continue with Simi Valley Days, a large annual community festival that had been scheduled for Saturday.

The decision was made to hold the festival, but local dignitaries draped black sashes across their parade cars. Cub Scouts, Brownies, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts observed a moment of silence to honor the people who had been injured and killed.

Fredrickson also serves as the “unofficial” chaplain of the Rotary Club to which he belongs. That most recently has included praying with a 24-year-old woman from Zambia who was seriously injured in the train wreck. He also prayed with her host family.

The Rotary Club is sponsoring the woman. She has been taking classes and plans to return to her country to help people establish micro-enterprise businesses.

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