Crisis-trained Chaplains Respond After Terrorism Strikes Brussels

By   •   March 23, 2016

People mourn the tragic loss of life after acts of terrorism impacted the international airport and city metro station in Brussels, Belgium.

In the aftermath of last week’s terrorist attacks in Belgium, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team sent chaplains to provide emotional and spiritual care to those affected by the tragedies.

“The entire city has been traumatized,” Jack Munday, international director of the Rapid Response Team, said the day after the attacks. “They are suffering grief, and our mission would be to work alongside the churches of Brussels, to follow the model of Christ where He went to the people.”

Two chaplains talk to people on a street in Brussels.

The goal is to share the hope of Jesus with an area that experienced utter tragedy on March 22 when terrorists detonated bombs in the Brussels international airport and nearby metro station. At least 30 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded.

This is the Rapid Response Team’s first deployment to the capital of Belgium, and it is a joint deployment with the international Rapid Response Team offices from Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Jeff Naber and Rey Garcia, two United States chaplains who previously served in deployments to Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, are in Brussels now. In addition to working alongside the local churches, the chaplains initially will focus on being available for prayer at memorial sites.

Munday said his team is looking forward to working with churches in Brussels as the Rapid Response Team did with churches in Paris following terrorist attacks there in November 2015. Then, French-speaking chaplains offered a ministry of presence after the France capital suffered a series of coordinated deadly bombings all linked to terrorism.

“[The Paris churches] were willing to gather and meet,” Munday said. “When chaplains met with them and encouraged them as to what they could do, they got excited about that. They developed prayer teams, went with the chaplains. We would hope that this would be the response of the church in Brussels as well. We recognize that not everyone would feel comfortable ministering on the streets, but we would hope there would be strong prayer support.”

A Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplain (center) stands with people who came to pay their respects at a memorial in Brussels, Belgium.