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Prayer vigil brings tears for Cooper
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Sarah Grace Vinson fights back tears during Wednesday’s special prayer service for Cooper Swims. - photo by Bill Zechman

In a special prayer service Wednesday evening for one of its youngest members, 2-year-old Cooper Swims, Central Church of Christ leaders and some 200 members of the community called for heaven’s blessings on the toddler, who was rescued from a near-drowning accident Monday.

Central minister Ben Bailey acknowledged that people were asking why such a tragedy struck so deeply in a family and community of God-loving people.

“We are gathered here to pray, but there is the question of why?” the preacher began.

Overriding that question, Bailey affirmed, is the reassuring knowledge God is always in control.  

Our limited human vision, however, often obscures the Lord’s overall, long-term designs, Bailey observed, citing examples of Bible figures who suffered hardship and sorrow for a time but who were ultimately healed and exalted by the Creator.

 “We see in the immediacy of here and now. But in time we can see the hand of God,” Bailey said. “God is always in charge. It may be months or years before we can see it.”

In the present, there are things we can do to support and comfort Cooper’s family. His father, Mike Swims, is the youth and family minister at Central and his mother, Jennifer, is an active volunteer with the church.

“In this time of need, they need our love,” Bailey said, referring to Christ’s teaching in John 13. 

“We can pray for Cooper and his family.”

Well-wishers can also call and send text messages of encouragement, visit (Room 2513, third floor at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital), and donate to a special assistance fund established at the church. Contributors may write their checks to Central Church of Christ and note on the memo line the donation is directed to the Swims Family Fund.

Also, Warren Arts will hold an afternoon of music and a silent auction Sunday, Aug. 4, beginning at 3 p.m. at the nonprofit community theater on Manchester Highway in Smartt Station. Admission will be free but there will be an opportunity to make donations to the Swims Family Fund, which is designed to assist with expenses while Cooper is hospitalized in Nashville.  

Central’s vacation Bible school, previously scheduled for July 28-31, will be rescheduled, the elders announced.