Law Enforcement Retreat Encourages Public Servants

By Todd Sumlin   •   October 27, 2020

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) has ministered to law enforcement through Law Enforcement Appreciation events since 2014. During these events, hosted by the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT), law enforcement officials and their spouses get a chance to take a break from the relentless grind and spiritually recharge.
Franklin Graham, president of the BGEA, recently announced the team will be expanding its law enforcement initiative, taking it to bigger cities hit by civil unrest in recent months. Some of those cities, like Minneapolis, Minnesota, are places where RRT chaplains deployed in the midst of man-made disaster.
“Whether you believe it or not, this is a calling from God. Do not abdicate that calling because of today’s environment or the discouragement you may feel,” David Rutledge, manager of the Rapid Response Team’s law enforcement ministry, told officers. “It is spiritual warfare, and we are called to be warriors.”
The Bible declares, "He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to Him." (Proverbs 2:8)
Edward Graham, the youngest son of Franklin Graham, opened the three-day event with a powerful message. Graham, who now works in Samaritan's Purse leadership, served 16 years in the U.S. Army, completing multiple combat deployments.
These events afford law enforcement families an opportunity to reconnect. The most recent retreat was held October 25-28 at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, North Carolina.
The theme for this year’s retreat centered around John 10:10, where Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Every speaker brought a real-life message that centered on the glory of God. >>Do you want peace and joy? Find it here.
In police marriages, the job sometimes comes first, and that can be hard. Law Enforcement Appreciation events recognize the role both the officer and the spouse play in helping keep communities safe.
Denise Molatch, a Biblical marriage and individual counselor, spoke during the Law Enforcement Appreciation Retreat and also held a question-and-answer session with law enforcement spouses. This ministry is dear to the heart of Molatch, widow of Andy Molatch, a 30-year veteran of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (North Carolina) Police Department.
Jack Munday is international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, a nationwide network of crisis-trained chaplains who are prepared to deploy to disasters and minister to the emotional and spiritual needs of survivors.
Rapid Response Team chaplains Tim and Yvonne Denmark shared their personal story of struggle that resonated with Brad and Amanda Richardson, first-time retreat attendees. “We went through some really tough times when I went astray from the Lord, and just hearing their story, how God restored their marriage and healed them—that was probably our favorite session,” said Brad, an officer with the Winston-Salem (North Carolina) Police Department. “We’ve walked a lot of the same things that they have walked so we appreciate just the honesty and courage it takes for them to share their story.”
Pastor Terry Bratton talked candidly with law enforcement officials about his relationship with God during his 39-year career with the Houston Police Department. "It's not about me," Bratton said. "It's about Him."
The Tommy Coomes Band led worship during the retreat. Between songs on Tuesday, singer Marsha Skidmore (far left) told attendees, "God often won't change our circumstances. ... But He'll tell us the truth about who He is."
Kevin Williams, emergency response logistics manager with the Rapid Response Team, shares the message "God loves you" even while following Centers for Disease Control's COVID-19 protocols.
RRT's Kelly Burke is a 25-year veteran of the Tallahassee (Florida) Police Department. As a retired captain, he knows the stress officers face on a daily basis.
North Carolina State Trooper Kirk Hensley, who has spoken before at retreats, once said the military and law enforcement are the only profession where those who serve train daily to die. As of October 27, line of duty deaths total 234 so far this year. Nearly 130 of those officers died after contracting COVID-19 while on the job.
Pastor Chris Amos served 27 years with the Norfolk, Virginia, police department. On Monday evening, he showed the items that were in his pocket the night he was shot in the line of duty.
The Cove, nestled in the mountains of Western North Carolina, is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stress-filled 2020. Consider booking your spiritual retreat today.