British Columbia

South Abbotsford Church holds first service since stabbing death of Letisha Reimer

"And the truth is there's not much of any deeper, darker valley that any church could walk through than where we find ourselves today," says Pastor Matt Ewart.

Other teen injured in random stabbing also a member of church which says, 'our world is broken'

Parishoners at South Abbotsford Church held its first Sunday service on Nov. 6, 2016 since a random stabbing in the city killed one of its youth parishoners and injured another. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

The Sunday service at the South Abbotsford Church tried hard to find some light in the darkness that has descended upon parishioners since two of its members were randomly stabbed, resulting in the death of Letisha Reimer.

"The truth is there's not much of any deeper, darker valley that any church could walk through than where we find ourselves today," said pastor Matt Ewart.

Reimer, 13, died after she was stabbed last Tuesday at Abbotsford Secondary School while another student, a 14-year-old girl whose identity is under a court-imposed publication ban, was wounded.

Gabriel Brandon Klein, 21, has been charged with second degree murder and aggravated assault.

In church Sunday, the congregation reflected on the violence and celebrated the Reimer's life.

"We all have a common connection and that connection is ... broken. Our world is broken," said senior pastor Steve Berg, who rushed to the hospital to support the families of the victims the day of the stabbings.

South Abbotsford Church pastor Matt Ewart along with other clergy at the church say it will take time to heal from the tragic death of Letisha Reimer. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

"I happened to walk into the hospital and was just horrified by the scene unfolding," he said,

"But in that moment I had to be with the family, not to feel about how I'm feeling but to be there for them."

It's the kind of the support those at South Abbotsford Church are trying to give one another now, knowing that they may never understand why the violence at the school happened.

Despite the tragic death of Letisha Reimer, parishioners at the South Abbotsford Church say they are turning to God to cope. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

"There's been a lot of introspection, where some are sitting there and thinking, 'Why?'" said parishioner Joel Feenstra. 

"We don't know why. It's going to take a lot of time to heal itself."

"My heart breaks for all these kids who lost a friend and for their family who are questioning a lot of things," added  parishioner Carly Penner.

The pastors at the church say they're there for the families, and several parishioners said they would begin providing meals for them as well.

'I'm standing in awe of how we are rallying around each other as a church family,' says Carly Penner. 'This week everyone is exhausted and has been so vulnerable. We hug each other and there are texts going around and meals being planned and we're feeding each other any way we know how." (Doug Kerr/CBC)

Those suffering also say that, despite the tragedy, they believe Letisha Reimer has gone to a better place.

"I don't know how people who don't have faith are dealing with this, that don't believe she's in a better place now," said youth pastor Mike Olynyk. "God's my rock, he's what I stand on when this stuff happens."

With files from Deborah Goble.