Crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team are in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after a police-involved shooting triggered violent civil unrest in the community.
Looted, torched business, overturned cars and unpredictable gunfire have played a role in the uneasiness that seems to have settled in over the Sherman Park area in the aftermath of Saturday’s fatal shooting. Gov. Scott Walker has activated the National Guard and Mayor Tom Barrett has implemented a curfew in response to the unrest.
“Today my heart goes out to the people of Milwaukee who are caught in the middle of violence and unrest—the community is being described as a powder keg of volatility,” Franklin Graham posted on Facebook Monday.
A pair of Rapid Response Team chaplains arrived on Monday; they’re planning to meet with local churches and law enforcement officials. They also planned to attend a prayer event scheduled for Monday evening.
“Our purpose in going is to share God’s hope with the entire community involved,” said Jack Munday, international director of the Rapid Response Team. “God’s Word tells us that He offers peace and hope in the midst of suffering, and as we have experienced God’s faithfulness in Ferguson and Baltimore and other types of tragedies where shootings have been involved, we’ve seen that the presence of Christ makes a difference.”
The Milwaukee deployment marks the tenth time in the last 11 months the Rapid Response Team has sent chaplains into areas involved in shootings or terror attacks. Most recently, chaplains offered emotional and spiritual care in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Dallas, Texas, after deadly shootings in both cities.
The root of the malevolence worldwide, Munday noted, is a disregard for God.
“Without an anchor in their life, without a solid rock, people are leaning more on their own understanding than acknowledging Christ,” Munday said. “It seems to be a trend as we push God more and more out of the conversation, out of the marketplace, out of our schools.
“The message that we are offering is counter to the wave of despair that’s happening around the world. It’s knowing that all people are made in God’s image.”
Please continue to pray for all involved in this situation.