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Virginia Tech campus minister trying to account for students


Leaders of the Blacksburg, Va., church scrambled to account for student members in the wake of a deadly shooting rampage at Virginia Tech University. The death toll in the nation’s worst shoothing rampage stood at 33    including the gunman    at press time.
More than 60 students involved in the Blacksburg church’s Ambassadors for Christ program at Virginia Tech were among those on campus when the gunman opened fire April 16, church leaders said.
The day of the shooting, campus minister Seth Terrell spoke with The Christian Chronicle while monitoring e-mail and answering his cell phone. Terrell said he had heard directly from or at least received some information about half of his group.
“We’re all still very much in a state of disbelief, including myself,” Terrell said.
Asked what advice he might offer those affected by the shootings, Terrell said: “It’s kind of one of those situations where at this point you just don’t have the right words. But I guess if I could tell everyone anything it’s just to continue to pray and just pray that people can maybe be brought closer to God in the midst of this tragedy.”
At least one student member from the Blacksburg church lives in the West Ambler Johnston dormitory, where shots rang out at 7:15 a.m., Terrell said. That student later was reported safe.
Several campus ministry students are engineering majors at the university and attend classes inside Norris Hall, where the individual opened fire two hours later. Terrell was still working to contact those students.
Terrell was hopeful based on early information that his students aresafe. He and other church leaders are planning a prayer vigil tonightso that students may see each other and counsel with those at thechurch.
“We also want to offer any help to the campus that we can,” he said.”The students are very scared, judging from the phone calls I’vegotten.”
Lisa Leichner, a member of the Blacksburg church, is posting updates onher blog. Leichner said the interstate runs behind her house, andshe heard sirens all morning.
“I am very worried about my friends!” she wrote on her blog. “This is a very scary thing!!”
Two young people from the Laurel, Md., church are students at VirginiaTech, minister Michael Ray said. “Both of our students have been intouch with their parents and are safe,” Ray said Monday afternoon.
Blacksburg is in the Blue Ridge Mountains area of southwestern Virginia. The church has about 120 members.

Filed under: Staff Reports Top Stories

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