Nashville Grieves: Chaplains Offer Comfort in the Wake of Unspeakable Tragedy

By Logan Ryan   •   March 29, 2023

On March 27, tragedy unfolded at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn., when a 28-year-old woman gunned down three students and three adults before she was killed by police. Many people have visited a memorial set up at the entrance to this private Christian school, which is part of Covenant Presbyterian Church. They've left stuffed animals, flowers, balloons, and other items to remember those who lost their lives.
Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG–RRT) chaplains arrived on-site the evening of the shooting to minister to this hurting community.
A vigil was held downtown in front of the Davidson County Public Building and Court House. Over the course of several days, chaplains prayed with hundreds of people, many of them coping with fear, anger, and sadness.
A sign by the road encourages anyone who needs to talk or pray to visit BG–RRT's Mobile Ministry Center. The center gives people a private place to share what's on their hearts.
Chaplain coordinator James Kilgore (not pictured) responded to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, last May where 19 children and two adults lost their lives. Kilgore told fellow chaplains in Nashville—like the one comforting this young woman—“People do not need to be fixed; they need to be listened to.” >>Watch as one chaplain shares more from Nashville in this 1-minute video.
The surrounding community in southeastern Nashville has offered support during this difficult time.
A chaplain speaks with a man just a short distance from the memorial.
All three children who died were 9 years old. Fellow classmates and other children have left prayers and messages in their memory.
Chaplains gather inside the Mobile Ministry Center to cover the day in prayer and ask for God's guidance as they talk to people who are hurting.
Chaplains pray with Nashville Police Chief John Drake who has been at the forefront of keeping the public informed on any new developments.
Even in the midst of overwhelming sadness, anger and confusion, the Bible tells us that God is a God of comfort. "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18, ESV).
The shooting happened two weeks before Easter. This season is a time to celebrate Jesus Christ rising from the dead and making a way to spend forever with Him in Heaven. "We mourn along with those who have lost their loved ones in this horrible tragedy," Franklin Graham said. "The Bible tells us that we do not grieve as those without hope—because our resurrected Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, has defeated death, sin, and Satan through the cross." >>Find hope in Christ today.
Before Police Chief John Drake spoke at a press conference Wednesday, chaplains had an opportunity to offer him words of encouragement and thank his department for their service.
“Families are just torn apart,” said chaplain coordinator James Kilgore (not pictured). “They’re hurting [and thinking], ‘This could be my child next, my school next. If this could happen [at Covenant], it could happen anywhere.’” Please pray for parents, students, and school staff in the wake of this unspeakable tragedy. Also pray for chaplains as they comfort the community during this difficult time.