June 23, 1999

Crossover Atlanta
features Columbine crosses

___By Joe Westbury
___Georgia Christian Index
___ATLANTA--As dusk began to fall over downtown Atlanta June 13, Southern Baptists paused from a day of revelry in Centennial Olympic Park to remember the 13 victims of the shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.
___The tribute was part of a series of block parties, concerts and evangelistic encounters planned as a precursor to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
___Sandwiched between concerts by Smalltown Poets and Third Day, the 30-minute interlude cast a somber spell over nearly 8,000 youth and adults who had turned the massive park into one of the largest block parties ever conducted by the denomination. The day began at 11 a.m. with rides and entertainment for children and progressed toward the
YOUTH FROM SUGAR LAND hold 13 crosses before thousands of teens and adults who attended a "Gettin' Free" youth concert June 12 in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park, sponsored by the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists. The crosses, built by Greg Zanis of Aurora, Ill., commemorate the lives of the Columbine High School teens and a teacher killed by fellow students in Littleton, Colo. At right, Craig Scott testifies. (BP photos by Jim Yates)
youth and college venue as the day drew to its conclusion.
___But it was the words from the father and brother of one of the shooting victims that brought an eerie stillness to the gathering.
___As the Smalltown Poets concluded their high-energy concert, the crosses that had stood vigil over Littleton after the shootings--one for each of the victims--were carried to the front of the stage. The crosses had been on display since early morning on a grassy knoll near the park entrance.
___When the crowd caught sight of the nearly 5-foot-tall crosses being carried toward the stage, they rose to their feet and stood in silence as, one by one, the crosses were held in place by a youth.
___Evangelist Jerry Drace moderated the brief exchange between Craig Scott, younger brother of slain Rachel, and Darrell, her father, who spoke to the crowd about how the massacre strengthened their family's faith. As they spoke, Rachel's other brother, Mike, silently steadied her cross at the foot of the stage.
___Rachel Scott was one of at least two Columbine students who before being shot were asked by their assailants if they believed in God.
___When asked by Drace what he would do if he could change the past, Craig Scott said he wished he could go back in time "and put aside the petty things Rachel and I argued about and tell her how much I loved her." Then he urged the youth in the audience to do the same with their brothers and sisters.
___To put action to his words, Craig, choking back tears, said he wanted to begin by
CRAIG SCOTT (right) testifies at the Crossover event in Atlanta's Olympic Park.
putting aside differences with Mike and work on having a better relationship with his brother. Turning to his sibling at the foot of the stage, he said "Mike, I love you."
___Darrell Scott challenged those attending the concert to use the unique gifts God has given them.
___"Go back to your school or college this fall and make a difference for Christ," he urged.
___Scott, who has lost 15 pounds through grieving since Rachel's murder six weeks ago, said he sensed a peace and spiritual strength coming out of the tragedy.
___"My wife and I have five children. Losing a child is a parent's worst nightmare that no parent should have to endure. But we haven't had to frantically pray or read our Bible during these days because we were already committed to that before the shootings. Our source of strength is not hidden, it's not a secret; it's faith in Jesus Christ," he said.
___Scott urged the parents in the crowd not to take their children for granted.
___"Communicate with them. Love them. Treat each of them as the unique individual they are as created by God. You never know when you will lose a loved one. Treat each other as if it will be the last time you will ever see them."

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