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A church gave Covenant home

Covenant School first grade teacher Kellie Reifenberger wiped away tears as she reflected on a year of trauma and healing. She’s struggled at times but said her faith in God has never been stronger thanks to one special church that has served as a temporary home for Covenant in the wake of the tragedy in Tennessee.

“In the darkest of days, we have to look for the light,” she said. “Our alma mater at Covenant says we’re a beacon on a hill, and these people have been a beacon in our valley.”

Wednesday marks one year since a mass shooter, armed with two assault-like rifles and a handgun, killed six people at the Nashville Christian elementary school on March 27, 2023.

The victims were head of school Katherine Koonce, 60; custodian Mike Hill, 61; substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61; and 9-year-old third-graders Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney and Hallie Scruggs, the Covenant Presbyterian Church pastor’s daughter.

Kellie Reifenberger, teacher at Covenant School, takes the elevator at her apartment in Nashville, Tenn., on her way to work at Brentwood Hills Church of Christ on March 6, 2024. Reifenberger described the church as being a light in their lives during their darkest hour.

Police killed the shooter 14 minutes after the initial 911 call.

In a building riddled with bullet holes and traumatic memories, Covenant staff scrambled to find a space where they could finish the school year and provide some version of a normal routine for students.

Five miles east of Covenant’s hilltop campus, leaders at Brentwood Hills Church of Christ sprung into action and offered their building.

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