By Tim Jimenez
PHILADELPHIA (CBS)– Saturday marks the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook mass shooting that shook up a quiet Connecticut town and stunned a nation. A Bucks County native, who is a pastor in the heart of the still reeling community, reflects on the past 12 months.
“There still is a lot of healing that needs to be done,” said Pastor Tim Kuhn, founder of Faith at Newtown Church in Sandy Hook. “I know some first responders, police officers that still are currently hurting. One, I am aware of, is even still out of work.”
A year ago, Faith at Newtown was located around one mile away from Sandy Hook Elementary. No one in the congregation was lost in the shooting, and the church has since moved to a different permanent location within town, but Kuhn said the nightmare of that day has been nearly impossible for them to escape.
“It’s been sad to just live it and relive it throughout the whole year,” Kuhn said. “A lot of that has occurred as the media has reported on various things that have followed. Whether it’s the destruction of the school, rebuilding of it, or various agendas, it just has been week after week kept in front of the community. I think that has been difficult for some to really bring healing.”
However, he thinks the positives have been able to shine in their darkest hour.
“It’s been wonderful to see how our nation, across the whole nation, they have rallied and supported families and this community,” he said. “Churches all over the nation – I heard (from), corresponded with – and to know their prayers and support have been with us has been very encouraging.”
Kuhn also believes there is a greater appreciation for first responders, an awareness for improving school safety and a strong unifying spirit.
“We all are in this together and it has brought a unity that, ‘We are Sandy Hook,'” he said.
Kuhn grew up in Dublin Borough, Bucks County and spent 30 years as an associate pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Sellersville. He decided to move to Connecticut six years ago to establish Faith at Newtown. In a time when faith could have been tested the most, in the wake of the loss of young and innocent lives, Kuhn said those in the community are strongly reaching out for what they believe in.
“It’s brought an awareness to a lot of people, who are questioning, that there is a need to seek spiritual truths in an evil world. People are searching for reasons and that’s the reason God brought me out of Bucks County to the Newtown area, to share those spiritual truths,” he said.
Kuhn also serves as a little league coach for Newtown Babe Ruth.
“My experience was, these boys just wanted to get back on the baseball field and do what they love and get back to life as they knew it,” he said. “Through that process I’ve been able to encourage and embrace them in the game and in life – teaching life lessons – and just be there as support for them.”
Members of Faith at Newtown plan to gather for a prayer service to pay tribute to the victims and the community they love. Kuhn said, while they have been overwhelmed by prayers from those around the country, they are still in need of that support.
“The town has asked that if you wish to do something, what they have asked is do an act of kindness in your community in remembrance of the Sandy Hook tragedy.”