Steven Curtis Chapman Shares About His Friend, Covenant School Shooting Victim, Katherine Koonce

Steven Curtis Chapman knows first hand the tragedy of deep loss. His daughter Maria Sue died in 2008, at the age of 5, after being hit by an SUV driven by one of her teenage brothers in the driveway of their family home. Steven’s experience gives him a more personal understanding with the families of the victims of the shooting at The Covenant School in his hometown of Nashville.

The March 27th event, claimed the lives of three 9 year old children and three educators. The head of school, Katherine Koonce – who lost her life in the shooting, was a long time friend of Steven Curtis Chapman’s family.


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The Chapman family says Katherine was instrumental in helping their family through the season of grief after losing Maria. Steven said this about the profound influence she had in their lives:

“Katherine Koonce is one of the people who helped save our son’s life.”

Steven’s son Will Franklin Chapman posted this message upon hearing about her death.

Will Franklin Chapman on the death of Katherine Koonce

Steven’s son Caleb expressed this message for Katherine:

“I will be a student of your kindness forever.”

Katherine’s care for her students and love for God is evident in the Chapman family. This is only one testimony of the many children she poured her life into and ultimately gave her life for. Steven believes that this is not the end of her story. The legacy that she leaves will allow her story to bring purpose that long outlives her 60 years on Earth.

As stories continue to emerge about Katherine, Mike, Cynthia, Evelyn, William, and Hallie, we will see more and more examples of God’s faithfulness in the middle of heartbreak and tragedy. Pray with me that God will take what was intended for evil and use it for good and his glory.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” | Romans 8:28

The school shooting reminded Steven of a song he wrote during his families loss of Maria. The song beautifully expresses his thoughts about finding hope in the questions and unbelief.

How To Show Up for a Grieving Friend | TobyMac’s Story
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