Salmon Arm  

Love rises from sorrow

Out of the horror of what was supposed to be a typical Sunday service, Kristie Mattenley hopes some good can come.

Mattenley was in the Church of Christ in Salmon Arm Sunday when a man burst in and shot Gordon Parmenter to death.

Mattenley said the Parmenter family is already showing Christian love toward the shooter, an example she wants to follow.

“We are trying to focus on the positive because there is so much negativity in the world,” she said. “All of his family, his children, his grandchildren, all of them are all praying for the man who shot their husband and father and grandfather. They are all about forgiveness,” she said. “I want to follow in their footsteps and focus on the good things.”
Mattenley said the situation could have been much worse.

“If he wanted to kill more people he could have, but he came there for one person,” said Mattenley, who is still in shock over the event.

“Thankfully the littlest kids were spared from seeing the horror. They escaped out a side room. The lady leading Sunday School quickly escorted them out. Everyone in the church responded in such a way...people were helping other escape, going over fences. It was awful, but it could have been much worse, much worse.”

The Parmenter's home was damaged in a fire three weeks ago, but Mattenley said Gordon held no ill will toward whoever set the fire and he set an example for his fellow believers to follow.

“We think about Jesus and we want to honour Gord's life because he did not speak ill of the person who burned house. He did not know who the person was, but he was forgiving of that person and we all were just amazed at his faith. He is just a mighty man of God. His whole family is like that, they are all banding together.”
Mattenley said there are only 25 people in the congregation and they are all coming together, noting the members gathered at a member's home to pray and share their experience.

Mattenley is hesitant to talk about the incident out of respect for the Parmenter family, but she posted some thoughts on Facebook about one red shoe:

“This shoe will forever serve as a visual reminder of fleeing the church for safety. I ended up losing one in the process of running, and it is now part of the crime scene. So as I look at this remaining shoe, many thoughts race in my mind. I remember the awful moments, but I cling to and dwell on the beautiful ones. The people in my church are strong. So strong. The people in my church are loving and forgiving. They are beautiful Christian people. Everyone worked together and helped each other out. Selfless, brave, and full of love. The world wants to focus on the evil. I want to focus on the good. The goodness of those who survived, those who helped the wounded, those who prayed for the broken hearted, those who have encouraged and listened to the retelling of the day many times over. I have been comforted by many. It will take time to heal, grieve, and work through this tragedy. It will be hard, but I'm so thankful that I have friends and family that love and support me. Thank you all for your prayers. We need them. I will look at this shoe and be grateful that it wasn't worse, that many people were spared, and that I get to walk in this shoe today.”

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