WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The members and staff of a Wichita church are grieving for an 11-year-old girl who drowned during a weekend lake party.
Pathway Church Executive Pastor Larry Wren called Shelby Cramb a ‘bright and intelligent young Christ follower’ who was loved by many.
“She especially enjoyed worshiping and we are thankful that today, she is worshiping the Lord Jesus in heaven,” Wren said.
Dozens of people attended a prayer vigil for Shelby, a 6th grader at Maize Middle School, at Pathway Church on Monday evening. Friends of Shelby’s family said she was adventurous, a lover of bugs and the outdoors, but most of all she was a bright light in what can be a somewhat dim world.
“We are broken-hearted and saddened by her loss, along with her parents, her brother, her extended family and her many friends here at Pathway and our community,” Wren said.
Shelby drowned at the church’s annual middle school lake party near 3200 block of North Ridgeport on Sunday afternoon.
“At around 4 p.m. the function was coming to a close and they realized that an 11-year-old female was missing,” said Wichita Police LT.Jason Stephens.
After several hours of searching for Shelby, police said they found her body a few feet off the lake’s shore.
“The female was located in the body of water that was near that address and was pronounced deceased,” Lt. Stephens said.
Police confirm there were about 100 kids at the party, and there was adult supervision. Pathway church officials said Shelby’s death has prompted them to review their safety procedures and guidelines, specifically regarding children’s activities.
Read the complete statement from Pastor Wren below.
All of us at Pathway Church, and in our surrounding community, are grieving the loss of one of our students, Shelby Cramb. Shelby, along with many other students, were at a Lake Party sponsored by our Middle School ministry yesterday and tragically, Shelby drowned. We are broken hearted and saddened by her loss, along with her parents, her brother, her extended family, and her many friends here at Pathway and in our community. Shelby was a bright and intelligent young Christ follower who loved Jesus and loved others. She especially enjoyed worshipping and we are thankful that today, she is worshipping the Lord Jesus in heaven.
Tonight, we are hosting a prayer gathering at our Westlink Campus at 6:30 p.m. to give family and friends a chance to come and pray, to grieve, and to walk alongside others who are hurting. In the coming days, we will be hosting a memorial service for Shelby and will continue to walk alongside her family, as well as the many other family members and friends who have been affected by this tragedy.
In the near future, we will be reviewing our safety procedures and guidelines for our student and children’s activities, to make sure that we are doing the best that we can to provide safe environments for all young people at Pathway Church. But at this time, our focus is bringing hope and healing to the Cramb family and so many others affected by Shelby’s tragic passing. We want to invite any of you who are people of prayer, to pray for this family in the coming days and weeks. In this way, you can join us in facilitating the healing process which God wants to bring in this difficult time.”