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Union community gathers to pray for Greenlee family, friends

Union students Hope Lewis (left) and Tori Brooks read Scripture during the campus prayer service held Feb. 14 in memory of Union student Olivia Greenlee. (Photo by Morris Abernathy)
Union students Hope Lewis (left) and Tori Brooks read Scripture during the campus prayer service held Feb. 14 in memory of Union student Olivia Greenlee. (Photo by Morris Abernathy)

JACKSON, Tenn.Feb. 14, 2014 – Union University students, faculty and staff gathered for a special prayer service Feb. 14 in G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel as they mourned the loss of Union student Olivia Greenlee.

“Reeling, staggering, speechless, grieving: These are words that describe us this week,” said Todd Brady, vice president for university ministries, during the service. “We have not known what to pray for as we ought, and we have trusted that the Spirit has interceded for us with groanings that are too deep for words.”

Greenlee, a senior music major from Dyersburg, Tenn., was found dead in her car at Luther Hall Feb. 12 from an apparent gunshot wound.

In addition to comments from Brady and Union President David S. Dockery, Union students Hope Lewis and Tori Brooks read Scripture during the service and the Union University Singers, of which Greenlee was a member, sang “He Hideth My Soul.” Faculty and staff members led in prayer, responsive reading and congregational singing.

“Many of us are baffled, in disbelief, sad and grieving, yet grieving not without hope because of our faith and our confidence in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Dockery said. “The Bible tells us to weep with those who weep. And across campus this week, there have been plenty of tears.”

Brady said that tragedies result in God’s people turning to God and to each other, and that’s what has happened on the Union campus this week. Union’s Zeta Tau Alpha chapter, of which Greenlee was a member, gathered Wednesday to read Scripture, while the music department met Thursday to sing and share a meal.

“As we move into this weekend together, as we move into this semester together and as we move into the rest of our days, let us continue our turning to God and our turning to one another,” Brady said. “God has given us himself, and he has given us one another. In the midst of our grief, let us turn to these gifts from God.”

Counselors are available for students mourning the loss of Greenlee. In addition to four Union counselors, the Tennessee Baptist Convention’s disaster relief team has sent five counselors to help minister to the Union community.

Visitation for Greenlee will be Saturday from 5-8 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Dyersburg. The funeral will be held Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at the church.


Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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