Press Release on Colorado Springs Tragedy
November 3, 2015
On October 31, 2015, Noah Harpham shot and killed three people in Colorado Springs, CO, before being stopped by the police.
Noah’s father, Thomas Harpham, is a valued and loved part of Bethel Church in Redding, CA. Two days before Noah committed these crimes, he wrote in his personal blog about his own father, our church and our senior pastor, Bill Johnson. Because of this link, the news media has asked for our input in order to help tell the story. Our thoughts are with those truly and tragically affected in Colorado Springs and our own local family members who are in crisis. It feels unusual to draw any attention to ourselves, yet we understand the normal desire for information as we mourn and seek to understand.
Like everyone else, we are stunned, horrified, angry and deeply, deeply grieved for the victims, their loved ones, the police officers and emergency responders involved, and the city of Colorado Springs. We can’t even begin to understand what they are going through.
As well, we love Thomas and his family, who are devastated by this event. Like any parent whose child commits a serious crime or hurts people, Thomas is dismayed by the behavior of his adult son and grieved by his death.
As a church family we are in uncharted waters. To be linked in any way to such a crime is a complete surprise and is painful and confusing. We are just now beginning to process this as a church while trying to minister to Thomas and his family.
As for Noah, we didn’t know him. He had visited Redding at least once in February of 2014 to celebrate his father’s 50th birthday. A few of our team met Noah on that occasion but had no continuing relationship. We are unaware if he had any grievances during or after that visit. We don’t know if he ever attended church, as it is a large congregation with several meetings a weekend, and we have no recollection of his attendance.
We continue to pray for all those involved in this tragedy as we grieve and move forward.
Additional Q & A
About Bethel Church Redding
For those unfamiliar with Bethel Church in Redding, CA, we are a large local church that has grown in the last 15 years. About 8000 people call Bethel their church home. Our statement of faith is consistent with Charismatic/Evangelical churches.
We appreciate and value all that God is doing through His larger, worldwide church and enjoy fellowship with the many great churches in Redding. All churches have an emphasis in their ministry. In addition to the good news of Christ’s love, we emphasize that Jesus promised signs would follow believers and that they would do even greater works than He did. So we believe all Christians can partner with God to do the same sorts of miracles today as He did in the New Testament. We often use the term “supernatural” to describe God’s active involvement in our lives. We believe God can heal supernaturally, but we also deeply value and access medical professionals, who have dedicated themselves to helping others and alleviating suffering.
How is Thomas connected to Bethel?
Tom and Rachel Harpham attended the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry between the years of 2011–2014. Thomas was a student for three years and Rachel for two years. Thomas interned with Bethel from 2013–2014 as a third-year student. The Harphams are an active and valued part of our church family, and we look forward to their continued involvement. To our knowledge, we have no connection to Noah’s biological mother.
Are we in contact with the family?
We have staff members who are in contact with and will continue to meet with the Harphams to support them during this difficult time.
Do you have ongoing security concerns?
Long before this incident, we put in place a trained and certified security team on campus 24 hours a day 7 days a week and we regularly review our security policies and procedures.