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Adventists share hope, donate blood in wake of school shooting

Rare attack leaves Brazilian community reeling; church's response an encouragement

Adventists share hope, donate blood in wake of school shooting

An Adventist pastor delivers a street-side message just outside a Rio de Janeiro school where an April 7 shooting left 12 students dead. The message was part of an outreach effort in which church members donated blood to recovering victims and distributed encouraging books to neighbors. [photo: Eduardo Teixeira]

Seventh-day Adventists in Rio de Janeiro are sharing a message of hope with their grieving neighbors after a school shooting last week left the community reeling.

Church members distributed 1 million copies of Ainda Existe Esperança (Hope Still Exists), and Adventist young people donated blood at Rio de Janeiro's Blood Center specifically for children injured in the attack.

In Brazil's first such school shooting, a gunman opened fire on students inside a classroom at Tasso da Silveira Public School in the west Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Realengo on April 7, killing 12 children and injuring at least 11 more before turning the gun on himself.

Authorities have since arrested two men in Brazil for allegedly selling a weapon to the gunman, CNN reported this week. Brazil's Ministry of Justice has responded by launching a voluntary disarmament campaign to take guns off the street, Forbes reported.

The school is expected to reopen next Monday, school officials told CNN.

The region is not accustomed to school violence and security concerns are being raised, officials said.

In the days following the incident, Adventists joined their neighbors in prayer, leading songs and offering a message of hope delivered street-side by a local Adventist pastor. Church members report that their neighbors left bolstered by the show of support.

Family members and friends of the victims who attended their funerals over the weekend also each received a copy of Ainda Existe Esperança. The book is the Adventist Church's missionary sharing book for 2011.