By Tim Jimenez
NEWTOWN, Conn. (CBS) – Many residents of Newtown, Connecticut have been looking to their faith in the days after last week’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. One resident, a Bucks County native, has been doing his part to help them heal.
Faith at Newtown Church is a mile away from Sandy Hook Elementary, site of the massacre that claimed the life of 26 people, 20 of whom were six and 7-year-old children. Its pastor and founder is Tim Kuhn, who grew up in Dublin Borough, Bucks County. For nearly 30 years, Kuhn was an associate pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Sellersville. He left our area five-and-a-half years ago, bringing his life’s work to Newtown.
“I always tell people God brought me to Newtown. I did bible study with a man who attended our church in Sellersville. He was relocated through work to the Newtown community and God placed that burden on my heart to come to the area and begin Faith at Newtown,” Kuhn explained.
He says the tight-knit community embraced him as he also spends time as a baseball coach. But now, during the town’s biggest time of need, he says he is doing his best to offer comfort to those who seek it.
“It’s been stressful. You feel helpless and the community is coming together, which it always has, yet it’s very heart-wrenching,” he said.
None of the victims were members of his church, but his congregation has been affected deeply.
“We have people in our church who know of families and know the children who were lost. I talked with two parents whose children are waking up with nightmares. There are students in our church who babysat some of the children who were taken,” Kuhn explained. “Those to whom I’m ministering to, it’s been a traumatic experience. Children are having a very difficult time.”
The tragedy at Sandy Hook hit Kuhn close to his heart just thinking about his family. His daughter is an elementary school assistant principal and his son just had his first child with his wife.
“To think that the innocence of a child whom you love, walking into a school situation, which should be a haven for safety, and you’re just unable to seek the security that you would expect at a school setting,” he said.
He is grateful for the prayers and support he has received from his hometown in the Delaware Valley and those across the world who have reached out.
“E-mails from Australia and England. Those who know the Lord have reached out to my home,” he said.
His church has hosted two vigils so far. The first was the night of the tragedy, the other taking place Wednesday night.
“I don’t know that the town or any of us as individuals are ever going to be the same. I think there’s always going to be a part of this that lives with us,” Kuhn said.
But he expressed confidence the people of Newtown will not be defined by this tragedy, “but as a community that fought back, is healing and loves one another. That’s my prayer.”