The Falcon   |   Volume 83, Issue 53

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Finding hope in time of tragedy, grief

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SPU community holds memorial for two students

By , Staff Reporter

Published: January 9 2013

<>Friends and family members shared words of hope and comfort at Friday’s Service of Lamentation and Hope for the lives of Seattle Pacific University students Drake Edwards and Richard Sohn.

Students, faculty and staff of SPU joined with the families of the deceased in remembrance and prayer. The service, held at First Free Methodist Church, opened with an invitation to mourn as a community.

Speakers reminded the audience that in the midst of grief, hope could be found.

Speakers were followed by the Litany of Remembrance, a candle lighting made up of six prayers to help people remember loved ones who have passed away. The candles were lit to represent the desire for healing in the time of grief.

Following this was a homily on the hope of resurrection. Audience members were reminded of the story of Jesus and Lazarus. The speaker used this message to convey that it is natural to mourn in the midst of this tragedy, but to rest in the fact that we grieve with faith and purpose.

After scripture reading and hymns, the service moved to a silent time of prayer. Each person was instructed to take out a small piece of paper tucked inside the bulletin and write a personal lamentation or hope. They were then encouraged to bring it to the front of the room and place it in a basket to be prayed over later.

With heads bowed and hands closed, fellow Hill Hall resident freshman Alex Russo reflected on his friendship with Edwards and recalled the last conversation he had with him before leaving for winter break.

Russo remembers the enthusiasm with which Edwards invited him to go snowboarding with him over the break and the goofy grin he wore on his face as he waved to goodbye to Russo from his car.

Unclasping his hands, Russo

unfolded his sheet of paper and wrote down his hope for unification across the campus as a result of Edwards’ death.“He was someone you aspired to be,” Russo said.

“I never saw him angry or rude to anybody … he was always loving and accepting.”

Hill Hall president Samuel Ernest, when asked about how these deaths might affect the campus, said, “It takes every person in a residence hall to make it what it is … Just like any family, if you remove one member, it changes the hall,” he said.

Eugene Olmsted, one of Sohn’s roommates, wrote in the bulletin, “I believe this is his legacy – to carry on in joy and laughter, caring for others and placing them before one’s self.”

He went on to write that Sohn spared no expense in making sure that those around him were happy, cheerful and living life with a smile on their faces.

Pam Edwards, Drake Edward’s half sister, wrote, “... I loved you from the moment you arrived … your sweet soul has split into ten thousand bright stars that will each shine brighter as they are passed on and on. I love you, Drake.”

Vexum Supply Company, a local grass-roots clothing brand with a focus on snowboarding and skiing, created a shirt to honor Edwards and his enthusiasm for snowboarding. The shirts display a graphic on the front of a snowboard with the words “We stand sideways. We stand as one.” inscribed on top of the board. Richard Rosenfeld, the shirt’s designer, said that all money raised would be covering the costs to make the shirt.

On Vexum’s website, Rosenfeld wrote about Edwards, “There will be many turns to be had through our lives, and from here out each one of those turns will be made in the honor of Drake.”

No other official services to honor Edwards and Sohn are currently planned, although some residence halls and floors are collaborating to create possible prayer events.

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