After the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., many people's hearts broke for the victims and their families.
The clergy from many local churches gathered together to hold a non-denominational prayer service for everyone affected by the tragic event.
"This is a special prayer service for a special cause," said Pastor E. G. Waller of the Friendship Baptist Church, where the service was held.
OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
From left: (front row) Pastor Theresa Kime of the Unitarian Universalist Church, President of Temple Bethel Linda Dunn; (second row) Pastor Cheni Khonje of the First United Presbyterian Church, Minister Trevor Hahn of the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church and (back row) Pastor E. G. Waller of the Friendship Baptist Church listen during a prayer service held for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting Wednesday.
The song "Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross" was sung and a verse of scripture read.
Minister Trevor Hahn of the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church said a prayer asking for comfort and peace for the victims, their families and all those affected.
Cheni Khonje of the First United Presbyterian Church read the names of the dead and prayed not only for the mourners but also for the shooter Adam Lanza and his mother.
"Hold those who mourn in your arms. Though they are lost in a deep sense of grief may they find comfort in you. Lord Jesus, you've taught us to pray for those whom we think of as enemies. It is hard for us to do so when so many lives have been taken from us by senseless violence. However as we bring our wounded hearts for healing to you we also grieve the life of Adam Lanza and his mother Nancy," she prayed.
President of Temple Bethel Linda Dunn spoke next to address the question: How could God let this happen? She said people are not puppets and there are lessons to learn from tragedy, such as heroism and compassion.
"We need to fill the world with goodness because there is evil in the world. Our hearts are broken for the families in Connecticut and we are a compassionate nation and to have everyone here today, sharing in the grief is proof we are a compassionate nation," she said.
Pastor Theresa Kime of the Unitarian Universalist Church spoke of how God shows Himself as love even in times of grief.
"Tonight we are the witnesses to love. We are here because our hearts are broken, we are here because we feel compassion which is a sign of love. That brings us here, to be in solidarity with those folks and to be in solidarity with anyone whose had a loss," she said.
Several members of the public spoke of their experience in learning of the tragedy and how they were touched by the loss of the children, teachers and others lost in the shooting.