“We’ve really felt cared for.”
Doug Kendig, an elder at the Salmon Arm Church of Christ, expresses his gratitude for the way the community has stepped forward to support the church congregation, still reeling from the inexplicable shooting on Sunday, April 14.
Church elder Gordon Parmenter was killed by a gunman who entered the church and began shooting, also wounding Paul Derkach, who was trying to help him.
“We’ve been very encouraged by some of the things that have happened in the community,” said a shaken Kendig Wednesday morning. “One of the things that we learned last night, we’ll be able to rent the Salmar Classic downtown for the next eight weeks for Sunday morning services.”
He says it could be two months before the building on Fifth Avenue SW will be ready for use.
“We weren’t aware of how much had to be done in the building, because of the death and the blood,” he said, his voice unsteady with emotion, “but the restoration company basically said all the flooring has to be taken out, the chairs have been moved around and they’re not sure which ones, all of the chairs will have to be taken out, the tables, and the baptistery, bullet holes, so it’s going to be six to eight weeks before we can even get back in the building… And of course it’s a little bit hard for many of the members just to go right back in, because this all happened during the service itself.”
Kendig was in Calgary on Sunday morning, but his wife Linda and their two adopted grandchildren were in the Salmon Arm church during the shooting.
“We have two little boys, and there was a third boy. Basically the three children were somewhat shielded from what happened, they didn’t see these things, they were in a separate class. So that was good.
“We really appreciate the things from Victim Services; our two boys were able to talk with a counsellor there yesterday. I appreciate very much the community services and support that’s available.”
Kendig speaks of working with Gordon Parmenter for several years and how they complemented each others abilities.
“As well as losing a close personal friend, it’s going to leave a big hole…
“He was very skillful in working with people, which was good. And one of the things about him, he brought just a real strength in, I hate to use the word maintenance as that’s like sweeping floors, but he was able to do so many mechanical, construction and carpentry things, just taking care of things – not only for the building but for so many members of the congregation. He was a very skillful man in many ways.”
Not only did he help people, but he didn’t charge.
“He did an awful lot of things for free. He did. He really ministered to people.”
Kendig noted he was also a foster parent.
“He has an awful lot of young people who owe a lot to him.”
Kendig has met Matrix Gathergood on several occasions, both at the Parmenters’ home and at the church. Gathergood, who at one time lived in Silver Creek not far from the Parmenters, has been charged with first degree murder in the killing; the allegations have not been proven in court.
“He had been in Gordon and Peggy’s home many times as a teenager. He found it a very welcoming and safe place.”
Gathergood was also welcome and liked at the church, he adds.
Kendig says the shooting has not shaken his faith. He speaks at length about the message he is preparing to present at church.
“Look ahead, God is still in charge. Things will be right at the end, that’s the Christian message.”
He said people come through for others in wonderful ways.
“God helps us in areas where we can’t fill in, we don’t have to carry the whole load.”
Through the pain, Kendig says the church congregation remains loving and forgiving.
“I have been so pleased and impressed by everyone in the congregation. The attitude of pulling together, of real sorrow but also of hope, and a concern for Matrix.
“We’re still processing; it will be a while to get over the worst of this.”