I Saw a Man Die…in Church

Church pews.

What I am about to tell you is based on actual events that happened a few years ago.

One Sunday morning I was attending church with my family. It was just a normal, ordinary, and often predictable church service. Hymns were sung, the children received their Bible story, and the Offering plate had been passed around. Now in typical Presbyterian fashion, the congregation rose to bless the Offering by singing the Doxology.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Only except we never made it to the first line of the song. As the organ played the opening, a loud THUD shook the church floors. Looking over to see the commotion, I saw a man lying on the ground.

Had he fallen? I thought to myself.

I was expecting him to pop back up. He didn’t. In fact, he wasn’t moving at all.

I finally realized that he was unconscious and darted toward the church telephone. Going back to my EMT-Basic training, the earlier Advanced Life Support (e.g. Paramedics, Doctors) arrive, the greater the chances of survival. Despite volunteering a year for the North Fork Ambulance Association, this was my first time calling 911. I explained the situation to the dispatcher and she informed me that someone had already called it in.

I returned to the sanctuary to see two members of the congregation performing CPR.

Soon EMTs arrived and began to defibrillate. After two shocks from the defibrillator, the man’s pulse returned. His heart was not beating prior to this moment. This man had literally died in front of us and was brought back to life before our eyes!

Although we had witnessed a miracle, no one felt like continuing the service. We silently exited the building with our prayers and thoughts for his recovery.

Ironically, the two men performing CPR were a doctor and a former coroner. From that day forward, I made sure that I attended a church that had at least one member of either profession in attendance. Because, you never know.