Wayland Responds to Sutherland Springs Shooting

November 8, 2017

Religion Faculty Teaching Future Church Leaders to Function in a Broken World

Wayland LogoSAN ANTONIO -- Wayland Baptist University San Antonio is responding to the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, lending a helping hand through volunteer efforts.

Wayland Assistant Executive Director Dr. Ben Craver reached out to pastor Mark Collins, former associate pastor of the Sutherland Springs church, who is well connected with those directly involved in the shooting. Collins, who has been on the scene in Sutherland to help with recovery efforts, has requested specific aid for those involved.

“Other than prayer, they need food,” said Dr. Jim Antenen, executive director of WBU San Antonio. “We are mustering a group to make various food items that can be frozen. We will then collect them and take them down there next week.”

Antenen said he and Craver plan to remain in close contact with the church to help meet any long-term needs that will arise as time passes.

“As you probably know, most help comes on the front end then dwindles,” he said. “We will look for ways to stay supportive of them for a long time.”

Antenen said this topic of church safety will also be addressed at the university’s Advice for New Pastors conference that is scheduled for Thursday.

Dr. Clinton Lowin, dean of the School of Religion and Philosophy, said these are issues that are addressed within the scope of educating students at Wayland. While not a specific class, Lowin, who teaches at the Plainview campus, said in the course of educating students about church leadership, they discuss issues such as forming specific policies and procedures within their churches that address safety and security.

“We talk to students about forming committees to address safety,” Lowin said. “In these committees, you are talking about who is going to serve on your front line as greeters. Then, who will serve as preventative measures should an active shooter situation occur.”

Lowin said there is no way to completely prohibit something like this from occurring, but it is important to understand and address the root of the problem.

“We teach students that this is a broken world and in a broken world are broken people,” he said. “You are going to face situations where you may not be able to explain why somebody comes in and does what this shooter did, but you can understand that the source of the problem is sin and everyone has that problem.”