Since the beginning of the Tim Bosma trial in Hamilton this month, over 350,000 people have visited the Christian Courier website and social media to read an article about his faith and his friends within the Christian Reformed community.
Hundreds of Facebook readers are sharing “The Ripple Effect: Tim Bosma and the Gift of Community” and leaving messages for his widow Sharlene Bosma to say they are praying for her. The article is a powerful testament to Christian friendship and community.
In May 2013, Bosma’s murder became international news. Like thousands of others, the young father had put an advertisement online to sell his pickup truck. When he took two potential buyers for a test drive near his home in Ancaster, Ont., he never returned. Dellen Millard of Toronto and Mark Smich of Oakville, Ont., have both pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in Bosma’s death. Their trial is expected to take months.
Ancaster Christian Reformed Church in Ontario is posting a scripture verse at 10 a.m. each day during the trial.
“Please join us wherever you are with a prayer to support the Bosma family, the crown attorney, judge and jurors and all those who are part of Tim’s trial,” asks Krista Dam-VandeKuyt who co-wrote the CC article now going viral online.
As soon as the article appeared on CC’s website on Thursday, Feb. 4, the site was overrun by visitors and crashed several times due to extremely high volumes. The paper then decided to also post the feature on Facebook so readers could continue to access it. The story appears on the front page of the Feb. 8 print edition.
“We published this article,” CC Editor Angela Reitsma Bick says, “because both Tim’s life and his death happened within this church community we’re in, and which CC comes from. The mainstream media will cover every aspect of the trial, but there’s more to a person’s life than the details of death. We wanted to print something meaningful.”
The huge surge in visits to CC’s website and social media suggests many from across Canada and beyond are eager to learn more about Bosma and his Christian community.
In the article, author Dam-VandeKuyt writes that Bosma was part of an active youth group at Ancaster Christian Reformed Church. “We weren’t model teenagers, but what we lacked in piety, we made up with heart – a genuine caring for our friends and family. A heart for God and a desire to do better.”
She continues to explain how the friends who remained close since youth group staged a huge search campaign after Bosma’s sudden disappearance in May 2013. “At first, we thought the phone call that morning was a prank,” she said. Soon it became clear their friend had become the completely random victim of a horrible crime.
Now, several years later as court proceedings get on their way, the author writes in CC how the Ancaster church met in prayer to commit the trial’s outcome to God. “We cannot fully express our gratitude to our community in Christ,” writes Dam-VandeKuyt on behalf of her friends.