Our time in Lewiston, Maine, was a powerful and moving experience for the LCC's K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry teams. God guided us to the people who needed us most. We were blessed with opportunities to extend love and compassion not only to the individuals who knew the victims of the tragedy but also to the family members of the perpetrator. We're following in Jesus' footsteps, showing that compassion knows no boundaries.
BEING THERE with the Lewiston Community
During our visit, we had the privilege of reaching out to various corners of the community.
We visited schools where the presence of LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs helped children process their emotions and start the healing process. In healthcare facilities, we provided comfort to the staff who have been working tirelessly to tend to the wounded. We also spent time with the first responders who ran into danger to protect the Lewiston community.
The impact of your support has been felt at every turn, and we couldn't have done it without you. It's a testament to the power of love, compassion, and community coming together.
Helping the Community Heal
Lutheran Church Charities held a Community Healing Event on Thursday in downtown Lewiston.
LCC President/CEO Rev. Chris Singer was joined by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) New England District President Rev. Robert D Beinke and Rev. Timothy Sandeno (Redeemer - Gorham, Maine) at the event to offer spiritual support to the grieving community. The event also provided people with the opportunity to spend time with LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and sign the LCC Hearts of Mercy & Compassion (HMC).
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog teams were special guests at the Maine Nordiques hockey game and asked to do the puck drop to start the game. It was a blessing for the teams to be recognized by the Lewiston community in this special way.
Thank you to the following LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry teams for saying, "Here am I; send me!" and answering the call to serve: LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Caleb (Immanuel – Valparaiso, Indiana), Claudia (Trinity – Toledo, Ohio), Gideon (St. Michael's – Bloomington, Minnesota), Jared (Holy Cross – Fort Wayne, Indiana), Kezia (Emmanuel – Baltimore, Maryland), Lily (Good Shepherd – Old Bridge, New Jersey), Lydia (Messiah – Lynnfield, Massachusetts), and Magdalene (Cornerstone – Carmel, Indiana). We thank Bonnie Fear, LCC K-9 Response Coordinator for managing the teams on the ground, and Jody Lockwood for being the point person for the Hearts of Mercy & Compassion and crosses.
Thank you for BEING THERE by working through Lutheran Church Charities
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry Teams and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion Deploy to Lewiston, Maine, to BE THERE for the Community
Thank you for your response to our special appeal on Saturday. Thanks to your support, LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry teams immediately began their journey to BE THERE for the community in Lewiston, Maine; many traveling over 1,000 miles.
Getting Right to Work
The teams got right to work as soon as they arrived. On Sunday evening, they joined hundreds of people at the Basilica of Saint Peter and Paul for the 'One Lewiston' community vigil. Faith leaders, city officials, first responders, and more paid tribute to the 18 victims who lost their lives and offered words of hope and healing to the grieving community.
The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and their handlers have been spending time with people throughout the community - schools, hospitals, businesses - wherever there is a need, providing a safe and comforting place for people to cry, talk, or just be silent. People were surprised by the feelings they experienced when they started petting the Comfort Dogs and talking with the handlers. In those moments, where only love, comfort, and compassion are shared, the fear they had been carrying began to release. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” 1 John 4:18.
Hearts of Mercy & Compassion in Memory of Eighteen Lives Lost
The LCC K-9 Comfort Dog ministry teams set up the crosses and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion (HMC) for each of the 18 people whose lives were taken too soon. Each cross, with a Heart of Mercy & Compassion, represents a precious soul who was loved and mattered.
For the Comfort Dog teams, it was a very personal and emotional experience to be part of the process of assembling and placing the crosses and reading the names of each person killed on that tragic day. We pray that the HMCs will create a place for individuals to gather, reflect, and share their pain as they reflect on each name and write messages on the hearts.
Remembering a Dear Friend
As the teams were putting up the crosses, a gentleman drove by, saw them, and pulled over. He walked up to the group and asked if the name of Peyton Brewer-Ross was written on one of the Hearts. Peyton was a good friend of his, and he wanted to say goodbye. When the gentleman saw Peyton’s name and cross, his grief was evident in his tears. The crosses and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion give people a place to grieve and write messages of love.
HMCs for First Responders
The LCC K-9 Comfort Dog teams also delivered Hearts of Mercy & Compassion, signed with prayers and love, to the Lewiston Police Department, 911 Call Center, and Lewiston Fire Department.
These dedicated first responders are part of the Lewiston community who suffer from these losses, as it lays heavily on their hearts. For the Comfort Dog teams to BE THERE with them and to let them know they are not alone but seen, heard and loved is what God asks us to do.
Thank you for BEING THERE by working through Lutheran Church Charities
God’s love shared with others creates a ripple effect that keeps moving forward. Thank you for helping the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion BE THERE, sharing the love and hope of Jesus.
Because of your generous support, we are blessed to be able to provide comfort during this difficult time and offer hope and healing to those affected by the tragedy. We look forward to seeing where God leads us this week and thank you all for your continued support and prayers.
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Teams and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion Deploy to Lewiston, Maine, to BE THERE for the Community
In response to the devastating tragedy that occurred in Lewiston on Wednesday night, the network of LCC-affiliated churches across the nation mobilized to provide relief and comfort to those affected.
As soon as news of the tragedy broke, staff, congregants, and volunteers came together to make a plan to BE THERE for the community. Their actions were inspired by their faith and guided by an overwhelming desire to help those in need.
Several LCC K-9 Comfort Dog teams immediately started preparations to deploy when it was safe to do so.
We are ready to BE THERE!
Now that the shooter is no longer a threat to the community, Lutheran Church Charities has been invited by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod New England District President Rev. Robert D Beinke and Rev. Timothy Sandeno, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Gorham, Maine, to bring the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion to the shocked and hurting community that has been greatly impacted by this horrific event.
LCC President/CEO Rev. Chris Singer, Bonnie Fear, LCC K-9 Crisis Response Coordinator, Jody Lockwood, HMC Representative and the following LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry teams will be deploying to Lewiston this weekend to be with the families, survivors, and all of the first responders who serve them.
LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Caleb (Immanuel – Valparaiso, Indiana), Claudia (Trinity – Toledo, Ohio), Gideon (St. Michael's – Bloomington, Minnesota), Jared (Holy Cross – Fort Wayne, Indiana), Kezia (Emmanuel – Baltimore, Maryland), Lily (Good Shepherd – Old Bridge, New Jersey), Lydia (Messiah – Lynnfield, Massachusetts), and Magdalene (Cornerstone – Carmel, Indiana), and their handlers will be present to listen to those who are grieving, bringing them comfort, love, friendship, hope, and prayer.
LCC Hearts of Mercy & Compassion from Suburban Bethlehem (Fort Wayne, Indiana); Trinity (Toledo, Ohio); Cornerstone Lutheran (Carmel, Indiana); and LCC (Northbrook, Illinois) have joined hands to send Hearts of Mercy & Compassion to Lewiston along with K-9 Ministries Coloring Books and Mini Stuffed LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs.
Their selfless and compassionate efforts are aimed at providing comfort and hope to the people of Lewiston during these difficult times. We hope that these resources will serve as a reminder that people across the nation love and support them. We pray that the community finds solace in the presence of these comforting resources.
Please support us by prayer and if you are so moved, help us with travel expenses.
Thank you for being a part of the Mercy and Compassion Ministry of Lutheran Church Charities.
Serving Together in the Comfort of Jesus!
Rev. Chris Singer
Lutheran Church Charities