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Articles in Category: The Woburn Trilogy

This three-part series of posts tells the story of how Twitter enabled me to connect with and then minister to members of our community when tragedy occured. This experience crystalized for me the importance of having a ministry presence in social media. Its where people are, how they connect, where they turn for news and, connection, and comfort. It also demonstrates the relational, networked, and incarnation of what Elizabeth Drescher and I call digital ministry in our book, Click2Save: The Digital Ministry Bible.


#WoburnUnites Candlelight Vigil: Social Media and Community Healing

#WoburnUnites

My town was hurting.

The shooting of a Woburn police officer and the subsequent manhunt through the neighborhoods of West Woburn had left everyone shaken.

What you need to know is that just nine months prior, the day after Christmas, a Woburn police officer, Jack Maguire, was shot and killed under very similar circumstances - while intercepting suspects from a jewelry robbery. We were also just days away from the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The robbery and shooting had brought back the painful memories of Jack’s death to our collective consciousness. The memory of 9/11 loomed as images of that day were continuously replayed in the media. We were emotionally raw.

I was up early the next morning, wondering how, as a pastor and neighbor, to support the community in the wake of our shock and grief.

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Praying the Manhunt on Twitter

A "Why Twitter?" Ministry Story

police

A police officer was shot in my city yesterday. He was responding to a robbery at a local jewelry store.

Twitter immediately lit up and tweets started flying about the incident from news outlets, community leaders, and residents. Most people used the hashtag #woburn - the general hashtag we use here for community information - to tag their posts. For the rest of the day, Woburn was trending on Twitter.

Twitter is one of the ways I've become more engaged with our local community and so I recognized many of the people who were tweeting.

I jumped in and started retweeting information. One suspect had been apprehended. Three other suspects were on the loose, considered armed and dangerous. It was a manhunt. Local and state police, SWAT teams, helicopters all on scene. Road blocks. Door to door searches. Schools and the YMCA were in lock down. Residents were urged to stay inside with their doors locked. The officer had been shot several times but was in stable condition.

It was chilling.

bethany tweet

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