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“Now we need each other.”

“Now we need each other.”

While the bells at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown, Connecticut tolled 26 times, the work of faith communities and clergy continues to evolve six months after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. reports on the six-month anniversary today of the tragedy:

As the storm clouds cleared Friday, church bells tolled 26 times this morning, once for each of the young children and educators killed six months ago today at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Relatives of those slain, politicians and religious leaders all gathered for the moment of silence at 9:30 a.m. Friday in front of the Edmond Town Hall.

The crowd fell quiet as the bells slowly rang out over about four minutes. Carlee Soto, the sister of slain teacher Victoria Soto, wiped a tear from her cheek after asking participants to observe a moment of silence.

Meanwhile, looks at how the response to the shootings has transformed the religious community in Newtown:

While [Christ the King Lutheran Church Pastor Rob] Morris said it would be out of place for congregation members to hug everyone they see in church for the rest of their lives, the closeness — forced by tragedy — that developed six months ago continues to be a part of Newtown’s reality.

On the night of Dec. 14, Trinity Episcopal Church, located next to Newtown’s iconic flagpole, was packed.

The Rev. Kathleen Adams-Shepherd said the church came together to worship, especially because first-grader Ben Wheeler, 6, a member of the church, was killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“Trinity lost a child, and we are constantly aware of his absence among us,’ she said.

Before the tradgedy, interfaith cooperation has been perfunctory and occaisional. The relationships have deepened considerably since.

For both Praver and McIlrath, the tragedy has widened their ministries. Praver said he became active in his teachings around the state and nationwide and McIlrath said he has been asked to be part of many panels statewide.

However, the biggest result of the tragedy was the unification of the town’s clergy, starting with the interfaith vigil attended by President Obama on Dec. 16.

Before, the different houses of worship came together for a few events, such as the interfaith Thanksgiving, Praver said. After Dec. 14, their bonds became stronger, as many now meet once a month for a prayer.

“The interfaith activities that we did were a nice idea, but it didn’t have the urgency it does now,’ he said. “Now we really need each other, it’s not theoretical.’


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