On Tuesday, May 19, 2020, shortly after take off, a Snowbird jet crashed in the Brocklehurst neighbourhood of Kamloops, BC. Canadian Forces Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey, the aerobatic team’s public affairs officer, was killed and pilot Capt. Richard MacDougall suffered serious, but non-life threatening injuries. The crash occurred three blocks from Free Methodist Centennial Chapel, and within a day of the accident, someone from the neighbourhood reached out to ask lead pastor Shelley Utz what the community could do. “We prayed about it and decided to host a vigil. We partnered with Lighthouse Christian Fellowship, a Nazarene church, to pull everything together.”
The evening candlelight vigil, hosted in the parking lot of Free Methodist Centennial Chapel, included music, dancing, speaking, and prayer. The local Canadian Forces Chaplain spoke, a dance troupe performed interpretive dance to contemporary music, Reverend Annette Maione, a retired pastor and trauma counsellor also spoke, and the music included Amazing Grace and The Blessing. “We really saw this as an opportunity to minister to our neighbourhood, to express grief and sorrow, and to speak words of comfort and hope,” shares Shelley.
The evening turned out to be very cool and windy with about twenty people present in person, but the vigil was live streamed by over 1,000 people and can be viewed on FMCC’s Youtube channel.
By Alison McKinnon