In a group email Friday to his Interfaith colleagues, Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Ronald Brown said: "We had on our schedule at First Congregational Church a contemplative worship service for Sunday night at 6:00 pm. "We are going to turn that into a special prayer service in response to the tragedy today (at Sandy Hook Elementary School), in Newtown. It will be a very simple service including, prayer, quiet music, candle lighting, sacred readings and silence." He proceeded to invite all who wished to participate to do so.
Members of the interfaith community responded in swift support of the proposed prayer service.
As of the time of this writing, pastors Rev. James Debner of Zion Lutheran Church, Rev. Carol Downs of Grace United Methodist Church, Fr. Ronald May of St. Dominic Church, Rev. Richard "Sandy" Koenig of Plantsville Congregational Church, Rev. Jerrie Matney of First Baptist Church, Rev. Suzannah Rohmann of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Rev. Victoria Triano, chaplain of Southington Care Center, Mr. Kanwaljit Singh representing the Sikh community of Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar and Rev. Emilio Alier of Cuarta Alpha y Omega Asambleas de Dios of Southington have all indicated their support and/or participation in the special town-wide service which all citizens are invited to join in this solemn moment of mourning and spiritual unity.
Pastor of St. Dominic Church, Fr. Ronald May, also announced that they would add a brief prayer service to the previously planned Reconciliation service in response to the Newtown tragedy on Monday evening at 7:00 pm. He also indicated that brief announcements of both the Sunday and Monday evening services have been posted on the website of St. Dominic Church.
People of all faith traditions are warmly welcome to both services and those who cannot arrange to be present at one service might have the option of attending the other.
Rev. Victoria Triano announced that Rachel Wache, a well-known volunteer worker and leader in community services in Southington has decided to organize a community-wide cause to comfort the families of Newtown as they face the heavy burden of grief that has been visited on them. Wache contacted a colleague of hers in Newtown as to how she might help in the healing process. Thinking of the children who have survived, Wache suggested we might collect new stuffed animals for the children for when they return to school. Her associate in Newtown was elated. Keeping in mind that the Sandy Hook Elemntary School is only up to 4th grade, the goal is to collect new, age appropriate, stuffed animals from anyone who wishes to help.
This morning, I spoke to Wache who is committed to making this happen and has begun making simple logistical arrangements to handle the collection and delivery.
Wache spoke about reaching out to the entire town, churches and faith congregations of all denominations, charitable, as well as civic, fraternal and service groups, with the hopeful spirit that Southington might once again show its generosity, compassion and caring character, with a truck load, or more, of comforting stuffed animals, marked "for the children of Newtown, from Southington, with love."
To help or for more information, you may call Rachel Wache at 860-621-0890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject "Stuffed Animals for Newtown".