Local Pastor Provided Counseling

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Knoxville (WVLT) -- It's been nearly two weeks since the Virginia Tech shooting that took the lives of 32 students and faculty.

Shortly after the tragedy, an East Tennessee pastor went up to the campus to help some students grieve. He has now returned, and he shared his experience with the Church Street United Methodist Church congregation this morning.

"When trauma occurs, the human soul is torn," Pastor Bill Fowler told his members at Church Street.

Reverend Fowler went to help put souls back together at Virginia Tech two days after the shooting. His connection to the tragedy was through his nephew, Scott McCrickard, who is a professor there.

"He said, why don't you come up and speak to some of my graduate students and talk with us about dealing with the trauma," Rev. Fowler said.

So he sat down with five students and faced the challenge of multiple religions.

"One was Korean and he was a proclaimed Atheist, another was Anglo-Saxton, she was Atheist," Rev. Fowler said. "Another was Islamic, he was Egyptian, and two more were Christians."

All five were numb with pain and confusion.

"They didn't have much to say at any point in time," Rev. Fowler said. "One of the young women, who happens to be an Atheist, she also lost two friends."

The biggest question posed to the Reverend was why the shooting occurred.

"It happened because evil is very much alive and well in this realm and we have to see that," Rev. Fowler said

With God's guidance, Fowler says he began to talk with the students about how to overcome this life-changing obstacle.

"I said, in order to help yourself, you need to categorize the different parts of your soul, so that you can help God put them back together," Rev. Fowler said, "Catch the feelings, talk with somebody, journal."

Fowler believes he planted a seed in these students, and prays they'll grow into God's healing heart.

"No matter what evil comes around us, we've got to find ways to make it better," Rev. Fowler said. "That's why I had to go to Blacksburg."

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