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Minister Who Has Private Contact with Mourning Amish Available for Comment During Funerals

Amish Funerals Opportunity to Demonstrate Power of Forgiveness


Contact: Dane Rose of the National Clergy Council, 202-546-8329, ext 106, 703-447-1072 cell; Rev. Rob Schenck on site at 703-447-7686


MEDIA ADVISORY, Oct. 5 /Standard Newswire/ -- National Clergy Council president Rev. Rob Schenck traveled from Washington, DC, this week to minister to families of Amish school shooting victims as well as the family of shooter Charles Roberts. The Evangelical minister was one of only two non-Amish invited to the very private mourning ritual for one victim and watched as her mother prepared her daughter's body for burial. He said the funerals which will occur today and tomorrow are opportunities to understand what is at the heart of Amish culture.


Rev. Schenck said, "It was while the family and community stood watching this mother tenderly care for her little girl's brutally damaged body that they spoke to me at length of forgiving the shooter. It was the most moving thing I've seen or heard in my 25 years as a minister of the Gospel. It was a living sermon on the power of God's mercy."


One Amish religious leader explained to Schenck, "We forgive because God has forgiven us. God extends his forgiveness to us in Christ, then, we must receive it. Once we do, we must share it with others."


Schenck said the Amish base their ethic of forgiveness on the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus said, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you."


Schenck said one of the most impressive parts of his visit with Shooter Charles Roberts' family was their reception of forgiveness from the families of their son's victims.


"Out of guilt and shame, the Roberts family could have rejected that generous offer of forgiveness, but they instead accepted it. I don't think there's a better illustration of the Christian message in the Gospel. As the Amish say, God extends his forgiveness to us for our sins, but we must receive it. That's the essence of salvation. Only then can we pass that forgiveness on."


Schenck, who returned to Washington last night, will return to Lancaster today to visit with more families during funerals today and tomorrow. He is available for further comment.


Schenck, who served as a chaplain at Ground Zero in New York after 9/11 and visited New Orleans church leaders in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, said this experience was for him on the same level of emotional trauma of those two tragedies.