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CANAL WINCHESTER, Ohio (WCMH) – In response to Thursday’s incident at a Pickerington junior high school, C3 Church is opening its doors for the community to begin the healing process Friday.

After students were evacuated from Ridgeview Junior High School in the wake of an adult’s death by suicide at the school Thursday morning, C3’s lead pastor, Konan Stephens, told NBC4 the church will open its sanctuary Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. as a safe space for anyone to process the incident.

“People are hurting. Parents are hurting. Some of these kids have just went through a very traumatic event — probably the most, maybe the most traumatic event of their life,” Stephens said. “How are they going to walk through this and how are they going to process that?”

Pastors will be available at the church for counseling. But the church will also be open for prayer, quiet reflection, or just to sit in silence.

“People can come to think, to pray, to process. We’ll make ourselves available,” Stephens said.

Stephens said it’s important to give students who’ve experienced a traumatic event a place where they feel safe — to cry and work through their own feelings.

“From there, you know, just walking with them and helping them to find peace. We don’t want these students walking with this pain and baggage for the rest of their life,” Stephens said. “We want to help them walk through it.”

Stephens recognized the community has endured difficult experiences before, with other community members, sometimes students, dying by suicide over the years. He’s helped families before, he said, and he’s prepared to help more.

“We really do have people that care, that love you, that want to see people walk through this in a healthy way,” Stephens said. “We don’t have to walk through this alone.”

C3 Church is located at 6305 Waterloo Road NW in Canal Winchester.