Ky. teens reach out to Toronto murder victim’s loved ones

Originally published at Western Recorder –

The Kentucky Derby week murder of a coffee shop owner from Toronto caused Westport Road Baptist’s youth group from Louisville to reach out to the victim’s friends, family and colleagues on their Canadian mission trip.

Scott Hunter, co-owner of Gerrard Street East’s Grinders, was fatally shot on May 2, while fulfilling his dream of attending the Kentucky Derby. Three teens were charged for the murder.

“We just asked ourselves the question, ‘What can we do?’” Josh Miles, Westport Road’s minister to students, said. “We just wanted to see if there was any way that we could help bring light to a dark situation.”

Miles continued, “I think in an age in which society and culture is increasingly becoming either apathetic toward the church or has a negative view of the church, the church has to ask itself the question, ‘In what ways can we come into broken situations and help be a light and a presence that speaks to the grace of who Jesus is.’”

“Especially in Toronto, which in some ways is perhaps further along in its post Christian age, it made us think even more how we can just be seed planters for the grace of Jesus in the midst of broken situations like these,” he added.

“It really was an organic process that just birthed out of asking that question,” he said.

The group of approximately 20 stopped by Grinder’s Coffee and presented the owner, Joelle Murray with a painting depicting Toronto’s skyline, Louisville’s skyline and the word “hope.”

The church had contacted Murray before visiting, and she had posted about it on the coffee shop’s Facebook page, inviting friends and family to participate. Local media picked up on the significance of this event, and CBC Toronto covered it as well as a local newspaper and WLKY, Miles said.

“We want this man’s friends and co-workers to know that the people of Louisville are behind them and the people of Louisville are remembering him,” Abby Johnston, the artist behind the piece presented, told Wave3 news.

She continued, “Spread hope. Spread love and show everyone around the nation and around the world Louisville is more than its crime rates. It’s a city where we can all come together. We can love and we can hope even through the bad situations.”

“I was really touched. I thought it was a really sweet gesture,” Murray told Inside Toronto. “It was a great step for healing.”

Murray continued, “They were a very amazing, well-spoken group of young people. It was just incredibly kind of them to do this.”

This stop was just a part of the group’s trip that was being planned before the murder took place. Additionally, they traveled throughout various parts of Canada, sharing Christs love by serving others. The theme of their annual outreach trip was “stories.” The group shared their own and encouraged those they came in contact with to do the same. (WR)