SOUTHINGTON, Conn — St. Paul’s Episcopal Church members gathered at the Southington church Saturday to pray for the victims and families of the Uvalde, Texas elementary school shooting last Tuesday that took the lives of 21 people.
21 church bells rang to start the service to honor the 19 students and two teachers killed. Each name was read followed by the ring of a handbell during the service Saturday.
“We are living in a time of trauma like humanity has never seen before,” Rev. Helena Martin said. “A gunman took two assault rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition into an elementary school. That sentence I just said is unfathomable.”
The reverends were wearing orange for Bishops United Against Gun Violence.
Rev. Martin said it’s almost becoming ordinary for these to occur and that is not what the Lord wants. She said praying can only do so much.
“Praying is something that we do to strengthen us for the actions that we take in the world,” she said. “I want people to take away that this is not part of God’s plan.”
Those in attendance said they felt the need to be here including Genifer Herman.
“Those are people and children and it’s over and over and over again and I reached my personal breaking point,” the Southington resident said. “We need some gun control laws. We need to address the ease of which our young people can get guns.”
Carol Langston said the news of shootings after shootings have become exhausting. She’s active with the Sandy Hook Promise and said more needs to be done.
“We can’t just throw our hands up and give up,” she said. “I just want to try to find a way to move forward in a positive way and try to make a change.”
The Southington resident referred to gun reform as well as mental health as areas that need to be addressed. She said the community has become more isolated.
Rev. Martin said during her speech having guns seems to be more loved than children.
“It might break my heart except my heart is maybe too covered in scar tissue from all the times it’s been broken like this before,” she said.
Nearly a decade since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown took the lives of 26 people, the reverend said it still remains a part of Connecticut.
Martin said there’s the option to pray and then act to make real change as praying is not enough and is not action.
Herman wants people to know the power they have and elect those who are supposed to represent what the public wants.
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