Moving on from tragedy was the theme Wednesday at the New Life Church memorial service for Stephanie and Rachel Works, killed by a gunman two years ago in the church’s parking lot.

David and Marie Works and their two daughters, 18-year-old Laurie and 13-year-old Gracie, spoke to nearly 400 people gathered in the World Prayer Center about how they’ve come to terms with the shooting.

“Our dreams are coming back,” David Works told the audience, his voice breaking. “We’re letting God do it.”

After quoting a Bible passage about finding happiness in Christ, Marie Works said, “We are coming to you glad. We are not sorrowful today.” On Dec. 9, 2007, David, Marie and their four daughters were getting into their minivan in a New Life Church parking lot when gunman Matthew Murray began shooting. Murray killed Stephanie and Rachel and critically injured David, who was hospitalized for days.

Since the shooting, the Works family said they’ve received emotional healing through counsel from New Life senior pastor Brady Boyd, Christian psychologists, and participation in a trauma seminar at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va. David Works has also spoken at seminars about the power of forgiveness.

Gracie Works, who wore a ring of Rachel’s at the service, told the audience she’s thankful to her “grounded Christian friends” for helping her come to terms with the loss. Laurie Works, who got married Aug. 1, admitted she went through severe anger from August 2008 until March, before coming to grips with the tragedy.

The Workses credit their faith for helping them move forward in their lives. “God has done a really transformational thing this year,” Marie Works said.

Following a short photo montage of Stephanie and Rachel Works, Boyd led the closing prayer as those gathered held lighted candles.

“Even in the valley of the shadow of death,” Boyd said, “the light is always with us.”


Read the writer's interview with the Workses here, and find more religion news at his blog, The Pulpit.