From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Lutherans Eulogize Nightclub Victims in West Warwick

From News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Date Tue, 25 Feb 2003 15:33:28 -0600


February 25, 2003


     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Family and friends will gather for a memorial
service at Emanuel Lutheran Church, West Warwick, R.I., today at 7:30
p.m. (Eastern Time) for those who died at a nightclub fire last week in
West Warwick.  Emanuel is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America.
     "Emanuel Lutheran Church is just a few blocks away from the
nightclub," said the Rev. Dennis P. Kohl, Pilgrim Lutheran Church,
Warwick, R.I.  "No family members of the church died in the nightclub
fire, but some members had friends who did," said Kohl.
     "As bodies are being identified, counseling is being provided for
family members," Kohl said.  The families and friends of the fire's
victims are gathering at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Warwick.  A family
center has been organized there, he said.
     There is also strong support from the ecumenical community, as "we
are working together with families to assess their spiritual needs," he
     Along with other ministers, Kohl and the Rev. Dana K. Izzo, St.
Paul Lutheran Church, Warwick, have been providing pastoral counseling
for the West Warwick community.
     "What was the most incredible to me was the way people pulled
together when there was need," said Izzo.
     "The Red Cross was turning away volunteers because there were too
many.  There were cell phones donated so families could keep in touch.
There were teddy bears for everyone.  There was an incredible amount of
food and drink, although you had to remind some dazed people to drink,"
she said.
     "People have asked how you cope with such tragedy," Izzo said.
"You cope by finding a way to help.  And, that is what so many people
have done.  I have seen a level of caring and compassion in the past few
days that has really impressed me.  You cope by praying.  You cope by
mourning with those who mourn," she said.
     On Feb. 20, 97 people died and 187 were injured when fire broke
out at The Station nightclub in West Warwick.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG

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