Baptists Dispatched to Help After Florida Bridge Collapse

Classes resumed Monday (March 19) after the collapse of a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University in Miami left six people dead.

The 950-ton structure was undergoing final safety testing and repairs when it plummeted to the ground, crushing cars that were traveling busy SW 8th Street, also known locally as Calle Ocho. One FIU student and a construction worker were among the dead.

The $14.2 million bridge was to connect the campus with the neighboring Sweetwater community, home to thousands of FIU students. One student was struck last year and killed crossing the street.

Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, noted the important role Baptist Collegiate Ministry on college campuses can play when tragedy strikes.

“Our Miami-area BCM director Ricky Bailey was contacted to serve as a chaplain to hurting and grieving families,” Green said. “He is a trusted spiritual voice on campus through consistent demonstrated ministry to the students.”

As part of his ministry role at FIU, Bailey currently is president of the university’s multi-faith council, a body encompassing representatives of various denominations and faiths represented on campus. After the bridge collapsed, Bailey was asked to bring together a group of chaplains from as many faiths as were available to respond to the scene.

Bailey said that within two hours of the collapse, chaplains were there to pray with and comfort injured victims and witnesses.

Bailey also enlisted the help of area Florida Baptist pastors, one of whom was Tommy Parke, pastor of City Church in Miami, a church plant set to launch later this spring.

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Source: Baptist Press