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Archive for Monday, January 12, 2009

Service offers prayers for missing man, family

Pastor Rick Burcham speaks to his congregation at the Williamstown Assembly of God during a prayer vigl Sunday night for Shawn Fowler. Fowler, 44, has been missing since Dec. 10, 2008.

Pastor Rick Burcham speaks to his congregation at the Williamstown Assembly of God during a prayer vigl Sunday night for Shawn Fowler. Fowler, 44, has been missing since Dec. 10, 2008.

January 12, 2009

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Community gathers for Shawn Fowler vigil

Community members gathered at the Williamstown Assembly of God in Perry for a vigil for Shawn Fowler, who went missing on December 10. Enlarge video

Becky Dunavin, left, and her husband, Rod, sing a hymn with other congregants of the Williamstown Assembly of God during a prayer vigil Sunday night for Shawn Fowler. Fowler, 44, has been missing since Dec. 10, 2008.

Becky Dunavin, left, and her husband, Rod, sing a hymn with other congregants of the Williamstown Assembly of God during a prayer vigil Sunday night for Shawn Fowler. Fowler, 44, has been missing since Dec. 10, 2008.

Dale Fowler, left, accepts words of kindness from Pat Mulvihill and other congregation members of the Williamstown Assembly of God, where a prayer vigil was held Sunday night for Fowler's son, Shawn Fowler. Shawn Fowler, 44, has been missing since Dec. 10, 2008.

Dale Fowler, left, accepts words of kindness from Pat Mulvihill and other congregation members of the Williamstown Assembly of God, where a prayer vigil was held Sunday night for Fowler's son, Shawn Fowler. Shawn Fowler, 44, has been missing since Dec. 10, 2008.


Judy Fowler, right, accepts a hug from a congregation member of the Williamstown Assembly of God, where a prayer vigil service was held Sunday night for Fowler's son, Shawn Fowler. Shawn Fowler, 44, has been missing since Dec. 10, 2008.

Judy Fowler, right, accepts a hug from a congregation member of the Williamstown Assembly of God, where a prayer vigil service was held Sunday night for Fowler's son, Shawn Fowler. Shawn Fowler, 44, has been missing since Dec. 10, 2008.

The Rev. Rick Burcham stands in front of more than 170 bowed heads at the Williamstown Assembly of God. He offers sanguine messages to family and friends of Shawn Fowler.

Fowler went missing more than a month ago and his whereabouts remain unknown. So, Burcham helped organize a vigil in support of the 44-year-old Perry man’s family. Many fear the worst for the Fowler, including that he possibly fell over a steep bank into the nearby Delaware River.

“It’s human nature to speculate,” Burcham says to the congregation. “Shawn’s parents have heard everything – he’s been kidnapped, he’s been murdered, that he’s been taken to some distant rehab center, but we just don’t know.”

Officials say that Fowler, who went missing on Dec. 10, has a medical condition that could cause him to become confused or disoriented.

Both Fowler and his parents, Dale and Judy, are longtime members of the Williamstown Assembly of God. After the vigil, his parents and older brother Eric, who now lives in Wellsville, offered thanks, hugs and handshakes to friends and family as they exited.

Eric said that such a vigil helped instill optimism about his brother’s location and status.

“Until you know something definitely, you gotta have hope,” he said. “Otherwise, what’s the point?”

One member of the church, Paul Juedes, said he had known the Fowlers since he was just a kid. The 33-year-old, who plays drums in the church’s worship band, said that this Sunday’s service was different than most.

“This service was geared toward Shawn and the family,” he said. “It was hard for me sometimes to keep going without tears in the eyes as we were playing.”

In spite of fears about Fowler, Juedes said the sentiment is similar among many members: hope for a positive outcome until a definitive answer presents itself.

A train blows its whistle as it rolls by the church during Burcham’s sermon.

“Lord, we play for resolution,” he says. “We pray for hope, but we play for closure for Dale and Judy.”

The congregation replies, “Amen.”

Fowler is 6 feet tall and weights about 180 pounds. He has long brown hair and a beard. Anybody with information about Fowler should contact Jefferson County emergency officials at (785) 863-2351.

Comments

Debbie Guy Spreer 5 years, 11 months ago

What a beautiful service! I grew up in that church with the Fowler's and they are genuine Christians. I was at the prayer vigil and you could feel all the love and support for the family. I was so happy to see all the people from the Perry/Williamstown community come together for the prayer vigil for Shawn. That's why I love small communities. It wasn't just the members of that church; I saw Catholics, those from the Christian Church, Baptists, and some who never go to church; but they all gathered together to pray for Shawn and his family. It breaks my heart to see Dale and Judy going through this. I just pray for Shawn, and for some kind of closure for this family.

Angel Gillaspie 5 years, 11 months ago

I think the LJ-W should post his picture with this story. He's missing, he may turn up somewhere, what does he look like?

Debbie Guy Spreer 5 years, 11 months ago

His picture has been posted many times in the LJ-W. If you watch the video related to this article, it shows his picture at the end. :)

vargasamor 5 years, 11 months ago

Thank you to the Journal World for keeping up with the Fowlers' story. Everyone keep praying. Thanks, -member of Williamstown Assembly of God

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