With heads bowed and eyes closed, more than 35 people stood silent today as the church bell tolled at First Presbyterian Church in Columbus to remember 20 children and six adults killed a week ago in Newtown Conn.
Similar gatherings were recognized across the nation as area residents stood in front of the First Avenue church for prayer and a moment of silence for the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
You are not alone, the Rev. Chuck Hasty Jr., pastor of the church said after the last church bell sounded.
Hasty said he thinks some peace was spread at the gathering. Its important when a loss like this occurs and this one seems rather disconnected from us that there is a tangible way people can express their grief and that helps us heal, he said. I think coming away from this there is a sense of peace people will have, a feeling of hope that this is not hopeless, that we are not alone.
Bringing people together fills a need to do something tangible to acknowledge what has happened, to be with other people and to garner some strength to move on, Hasty said.
For Marydell Borneman of Cataula, the brief service offered a sense of encouragement and of who is in control. Our Lord is in control, said the mother of four grown children ages 19-30. It made you feel better to come together with other people that have a heart for God.