Over the years, I’ve served in various ministries as a teacher or principal. I’ve recently accepted a call to serve as a K-8 principal. As with any call, it takes a while to get to know the new community. I was suddenly made aware of what a caring church and school environment there is at St. Paul Lutheran Church and School in Millington, Mich. On Sunday, August 14, at 10:08 p.m., a woman raced her car through our parking lot, crashed through a wall, and landed in the middle of our computer lab.
Throughout the crisis, there were two questions that I heard over and over: “Was anyone hurt?” and “How can I help?” Thankfully, none of our staff or families were hurt, and the driver had minor injuries. Within days, we had crews in the building clearing debris and rescuing the few usable items. We had volunteers that helped us to set up a temporary computer lab in a classroom at the other end of our building. Other area Lutheran schools offered equipment to help us start our school year.
We’ve had news media trying to dig up “dirt” during this situation. Fortunately, the only dirt has been the dust that this incident caused. The driver didn’t have a connection with our church or school or any vendetta that she was acting out. She was trying to harm herself, and we had a long driveway and empty section of wall. After this invasion, how did our church and school respond? With love. We held a prayer service where we praised God for the safety of our students and staff. We prayed for the driver and others who suffer through depression. We asked the Holy Spirit to work through us to minister to those who are hurting. We thanked God that we are able to start our school year on time.
It’s not unusual for a congregation to have a potluck to welcome a new principal. However, this situation better fed my soul. I was able to see Christ’s love in action through the depth of care shown by parents, students, staff, congregation members, and the community at large. An unusual car wreck quickly taught me about this strong, vibrant body of believers, and I’m humbled to be a part of it.
Photos courtesy of Barb Riley and St. Paul, Millington