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Adventist Pastors serve LGBT people in Orlando
Adventist Pastors Serve LGBT People in Orlando
The tragic loss of LGBT people at the club 'Pulse' in Orlando this last weekend is incomprehensible on so many levels. Yet in the midst of the carnage, grief, loss, and devastation, God used the arms of Seventh-day Adventist pastors to journey through the shadows of the valley of death with LGBT people and their families.
This special edition of Best Practices is meant to affirm these pastors who dropped everything to provide pastoral care to those who are suffering. Adventists pastors and chaplains were among the first responders to provide grief counseling. Adventist pastors initiated the prayer link chain. Adventist pastors offered their churches at no charge to those who needed a place to hold services. These spontaneous acts certainly qualify for 'best practices' in Adventist ministry.
For many pastors, ministering with LGBT people may be a new thought. We may not know what to do, what to say.  Florida Conference has given some tangible suggestions on ways we can help in the midst of this tragedy.
Also these tragedies bring to mind the question of what should we do in an active shooter situation? Adventist Risk Management has prepared a quick guide that can prepare congregations for this unlikely event. 
I encourage church communities across the NAD to pray for God to use our arms of comfort and hope to surround the LGBT community and families as we walk through this valley of the shadow of death together.
Adventist Churches Offer Services for Victims 
By Kimberly Luste Maran

Less than 36 hours after the June 12, 2016, Orlando, Florida, mass shooting, the Forest Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church in Apopka, Florida, announced via their Facebook page that they would host, free of charge, funeral services for those killed. The photo post indicated that the church "is extending their availability for FREE, funeral services for any LGBT victims of the #thePulse shooting." The church also offered to stream the services live on the Internet for family and friends who cannot attend.
"We see this as an opportunity for us to serve and show compassion in this time of crisis," said Geoff Patterson, senior pastor, Forest Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church. The need for a church venue for services became apparent after families expressed funeral concerns to area chaplains.
A short time after the Forest Lake announcement appeared, the Forest City Spanish church (Altamonte Springs), Florida Hospital Church (Orlando), and Orlando Central church (Orlando) stated that they too would host funeral services for free. One day later, Altamonte Springs Church (Altamonte Springs) joined the group. Read More 
Prayer Chain Ministry 
By Dave Gemmell
Angelo Grasso and Eddie Cornejo were near Orlando when they heard the news of the shooting. Although they had other commitments they felt drawn to the site of the tragedy. Angelo remembered the prayer chain that Adventists put together after the Boston bombing that served as an expression of grief for thousands. He thought this tool might be helpful in Orlando as well. Armed with construction paper, felt pens, and scotch tape, Angelo and Eddie set up camp near the epic center. Immediately they were surrounded by crowds. What happened next? Watch the Washington Post video and watch the reflection video as Angelo and Eddie drive away from Orlando.
What can we do?   
Florida Conference is compiling several ways you can become involved in expression compassion, love, and support to the survivors and victims' families from The Pulse night club shooting. These include giving blood, attending a prayer meeting or vigil, or supporting a funeral or memorial service. Florida Conference has set up a webpage that will be updated as more opportunities to serve become available.  
What To Do During an Active Shooter Situation  
Adventist Risk Managment
It's a moment that no one ever expects but should....what to do in an active shooter situation.  It's a stressful time as thoughts of escape, prayers, and reflections of your loved ones fill your head. There is no single response that fits all active shooter situations but knowing what to do can make a difference.  Read More...