Winter 2001/2002

"I think the most significant thing we saw happening in New York was the fact that God called His church to respond with love in this situation. There was no discussion of doctrine, methods or condemnation, just a deployment of love, and we were humbled to be a part of it."

- Pastor Brad Richadson, LFC Artist




LFC's 9-11 Deployment of Love Yields Multiple Blessings

In the wake of the September 11th attacks, LFC launched a special mission outreach to the city of New York this past fall through a donation of its music and a team of eighteen people who went there to bring some support and healing from the Columbine community. The event was the single most significant outreach of the project since its participation in last year’s "The Gathering" where Columbine families met survivors from cities who also experienced school violence.

LFC founder, Michael Tamburello, was encouraged to put together the outreach after hearing pastor Bruce Porter, who had just returned from Ground Zero, speak firsthand of his experiences there as an assisting chaplain to the New York Fire Department who lost chaplain Father Michael Judge in the tragedy of September 11. Porter, a pastor of Celebration Church in Littleton and author of the bestseller, "The Martyr’s Torch", a writing about the faith of Columbine victim, Rachel Scott, is also a member of the Colorado’s Inter-Canyon Fire/Rescue serving two major canyons along Denver’s front range. Like many in the fire/rescue field across the country, Porter headed to New York to help out in the search and rescue efforts that immediately followed the collapse of the twin towers at the World Trade Center. Upon his return from a stay that lasted over a week amidst the rubble and human anguish, he spoke of his encounters with many of the firemen who lost their comrades in the tragedy.

What particularly struck me about Porter’s presentation," LFC founder Michael Tamburello reflects, "was a poignant story Bruce had told of a fireman he was ministering to who asked him where he was from. When Bruce answered he was from Littleton area, the man began to cry and embrace him making a connection with Columbine and our community’s pain and grief. After already having debated with myself earlier on what LFC might be able to do in the wake of the September 11th tragedy, I was profoundly inspired after Bruce’s story to put together a delegation from our community to bring as much support as possible."

Once a consultant in New York ten years ago, Tamburello was moved to return to offer support to a city that provided him with so memorable experiences and whose people he fell in love with. Board member, Erin McNamara, who also works for Frontier Airlines, accentuated the inspiration by offering to make arrangements for as many people as possible to fly at no cost through the use of the airline’s "buddy pass" program for employees, families and friends.

With additional assistance from the International Health Service Foundation, a Christian mission group based in Colorado Springs who provided copies of the book, "Crisis Evangelism" and other essential items, LFC’s team departed Denver on November 3rd and arrived in New York City where they spent a week serving the people of New York in various outreach opportunities and speaking engagements.

The team consisted of a unique blend of individuals including LFC founder Michael Tamburello and his daughter, Nina; board members Erin McNamara and Linda Arnold; artist and producer Loren Johnson and his wife Christine; and Church in the City pastors Michael Walker, Jude DelHierro and Brad Richardson, an LFC artist, and their wives Brenda, Cindy and Laura. Joining the team also was Todd Antons, Branden Reck, a CU student, and LFC’s Aaron Delay also joined the team to provided technical and logistical assistance. Gregg Gargan, an award-winning photographer for the Colorado Department of Transportation, came on board as LFC’s media person covering many of the mission’s events with still photography and video.


Singer and songwriter, Shauna Chanda and Author and lecturer, Beth Nimmo were the highlight of the coffeehouse event at the State University of New York at Stony Brook held November 6th

The mission also hosted two special guests, singer Shauna Chanda, who performed at the State University of New York at Stony Brook (SUNY), and Columbine mother, Beth Nimmo, mother of Columbine victim Rachel Scott, who spoke at SUNY and at a primary school in Harlem.

Among the several songs she performed, Shauna sang a new tune written by Taylor Mesplé recorded especially for the victims of the September 11th tragedy titled "Can You Hear the Voices". Shauna had about three hundred CD’s made with the song on it along with two others, one of which she wrote for her late husband who was tragically killed in an auto accident about a month before the terrorist attack. She brought them with her to New York and gave them away at the college and at several New York fire stations.

Beth Nimmo delivered a powerful address on the life of her daughter that captivated everyone at SUNY and in Harlem as students learned firsthand of her daughter’s deep faith in God and the impact she has made in the world.

President and founder Michael Tamburello recalls the how attentive the young students were in Harlem when Beth spoke. "The youth’s team leader told me afterwards that his kids are usually difficult to control and are easily distracted. But when Beth spoke, he had never seen them so focused. God only knows what impact Beth had on these kids who are exposed to violence daily in one of New York’s roughest neighborhoods."

LFC’s visit to New York left a memorable impact on Jennifer Olivella, a senior at SUNY who organized the coffeehouse style event, shared her heartfelt thanks and appreciation. "…The Columbine Call was a God's send placed strategically along my path for such a time as this. The feedback regarding everything has been positive and everyone enjoyed Beth tremendously. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It's a wonderful thing to know, that through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we are all family, and you and your team have demonstrated that."

The booklet created by features an inspiring story written by Darrell Scott on the Columbine tragedy and the faith of his daughter, Rachel, who was slain there. You can download a .PDF of the booklet by clicking on the above graphic.

With the additional assistance of The King’s College of New York, Campus Crusade for Christ and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, members of the team were also involved in street ministry at Ground Zero and other areas of the city distributing a beautifully designed booklet prepared by a Christian organization named formed shortly after the tragedy to bring healing through discipleship. Team members utilized their downtime between activities to explore the city, which for many of them, was their first time.

Board member, Linda Arnold brought a beautiful watercolor she painted especially for the victims of September 11th, which was signed by the many of the Columbine families and members of the Columbine Call. The framed artwork was presented to a firehouse in midtown Manhattan where it was graciously received by the department.

Board member Erin McNamara recalled how the outreach affected her. "It was an incredibly painful, yet hopeful time to be amongst friends and strangers alike, getting through the agony of yesterday, the perseverance of today, and the challenge of tomorrow. Through this tragedy, we had been privileged to witness true heroes. No, not rap stars, Hollywood Celebrities or over-priced athletes, but the men and women who put their lives on the line everyday without a thought to royalties, paparazzi or endorsements. Men and woman whose blood, sweat and everyday dedication and courage are the foundation of all that makes this country great. It was humbling to be among such at Ground Zero".

Another unique blessing from the outreach was that it provided LFC an obvious opportunity to redistribute its overstock of CDs, which after a two-year effort of a national fundraising with modest success, resulted in over 20,000 returned units from merchants unable to sell their complete inventory of the CD, which became available for donation to a worthy cause.

  "Earlier this year," Tamburello recalls, "I was very concerned, even confused, why we would be provided the opportunity to help the Columbine victims with nearly a quarter of a million dollars worth of CDs through the kind generosity of USA Interactive, who covered much of their manufacturing costs, and then only sell about a fifth of them. All of us were stunned at our marginal sales but, beyond all of the marketing analyses, questions of a more spiritual nature began to enter my heart as time passed. When September 11th happened, it brought things into perspective again and it was then that I realized that we reached a reasonable point in time in our mission where were finished with selling most our remaining inventory. There is a part of me that truly believes that God already had other things planned for them all along. It’s funny how things sometimes turn out. Interestingly, the generosity of USA Video Interactive, located in Mystic, Connecticut, only about a three hour drive north of New York, resulted in benefiting a neighboring community."

LFC’s board of directors unanimously agreed that donating the CDs was in everyone’s best interest and thought they would be especially beneficial in the New York’s healing at such a critical time as they were for the Columbine community. With the kind assistance of the generous people at Acme Distribution were the CDs have remained in storage for over six months, pallets of the CDs immediately began their journey across the U.S. to several ministries located at strategic points within the city for distribution. To date, nearly twenty thousand CDs have been shipped to New York City, including a full pallet that went to New York’s Fire Department. The CD’s are being provided at no cost to each person that receives one. LFC is also exploring the best options for getting a remaining inventory of around 5,000 units to the families of the WTC victims directly.

The Columbine Call response to the September 11th tragedy was a mission of the heart that reached out to meet New York’s needs on several fronts. Everyone who joined the team took time off from their personal schedules and jobs, and with an exception to LFC’s guests, covered their own expenses associated with their stay in New York. There was personal commitment and sacrifice in it for everyone that became involved.

LFC looks forward to again to possibly returning to New York next year to follow up on their mission of healing to America’s greatest city that, with God’s help, like the Phoenix, will rise again from its ashes. With the threat of Anthrax, the devastating crash in Queens, which happened the morning after the last part of the team arrived back in Denver, and the recent fire at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York has had its unimaginable share of loss and grief. But a nation that can continue to prayerfully pull itself together and come to its aid will play a major role, not only in its economic recovery, but more importantly, its spiritual and emotional well-being.

LFC artist, Pastor Brad Richardson, who also performed at SUNY and played a leadership role in providing pastoral counsel to the team, summed up the Columbine Call best in his reflection of the mission trip. "I think the most significant thing we saw happening in New York was the fact that God called His church to respond with love in this situation. There was no discussion of doctrine, methods or condemnation, just a deployment of love, and we were humbled to be a part of it."

Story by LFCNews Staff - Photos: Gregg Gargan


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