From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 13:05:03


                          OKLAHOMA CITY 
                          by Alexa Smith 
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--According to the Presbytery of Indian Nations, five people 
with ties to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are now presumed dead and two 
other Presbyterians sustained serious injury. 
     "There is just no one untouched," said the Rev. Pat Kennedy of St. 
Andrews Presbyterian Church.  "It's a big city ... but it's like a small 
     Kennedy said three of the five deaths are confirmed: 
     * Susan Jane Ferrell, 37, of Oklahoma City, daughter of Don and Sally 
Ferrell of First Presbyterian Church of Chandler, Okla. 
     * Gene Hodges Jr., 54, of Memorial Presbyterian Church in Norman, 
Okla., husband of Deb Hodges, and son of retired minister the Rev. Gene 
Hodges, also of Norman 
     * David Walker, 54, of Edmond, Okla., son-in-law of William and 
Cordelia Boseman of First Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City.    
     The granddaughter of another member of Memorial Presbyterian Church -- 
a United Parcel Service worker who was delivering a package to the federal 
building -- is still missing and presumed dead, Kennedy said, and the niece 
of a member of the Calvin Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City is also 
missing and presumed dead. 
     "There is still a slender strand of hope that a miracle may happen and 
they will find more survivors," Kennedy said, while acknowledging that, as 
rescue workers sift through debris in the basement of the Federal Building, 
many consider that unlikely. 
     "It seems every church has some connection with the disaster," said 
Carolyn Stephens, new executive of Indian Nations Presbytery, who began 
work May 1 in the midst of relief work.  "I had hoped my first few weeks 
could be spent getting to know people. ... 
     "Now it's going to have to be sharing in people's pain." 
     Westminster Church and First Church in Oklahoma City each have one 
member still hospitalized with injuries. 
     Kennedy said people impacted by the blast are not limited to those who 
grieve the missing and injured.  "I can't even begin to think of the number 
of people in our congregations who work in the downtown area," Kennedy 
said, speculating that 200-300 Presbyterians were employed by downtown 
     "It's remarkable," said Stephens of those reaching out now to Oklahoma 
City.  She reported receiving an Internet message assuring the presbytery 
of prayers in the Iglesia Presbiteriana-Reformada en Cuba -- one of many 
messages of condolence pouring in.  Letters, offerings and prayers are 
coming into the city from presbyteries and from ecumenical bodies all over 
the world. 
     "It's sad, and yet I see a lot of strength, God-given strength, 
helping people focus on the future and on healing," said Stephens after her 
first few days on the job. 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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