Surrounded by church and community members, Bishop Nealon Guthrie of the Greater Christ Temple Rapture Preparation Holiness Cathedral prayed for those who were lost in the tragedy that struck Newtown, Conn., last Friday.
“Even though they are 1,000 miles away we know that the vibrations of our prayers will be felt by those who were affected by these events,” Guthrie said. “We know that prayer changes things.”
More than 30 people gathered in front of the Rome church with thoughts of the families dealing with the loss of 20 children and six adults who were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Greater Christ Temple elder Lindsey Mims joined the crowd in singing songs of faith and hope and hearing the names of the victims read aloud.
Mims said they look at the heartache and aftermath of the brutal rampage as a sign that they need to become more involved in the community.
“It’s time for the church to do its job and witness to the people,” he said. “There is sympathy for the parents who lost a child and it is a calling to us to do our job and spread the gospel to every soul.”
Starla Weatherby attended the vigil with her two sons — Adam, 11, and Austin, 12 — as well as friend Crystal Clark.
“We came out here to pay our respects,” Weatherby said. “I wish I could drive to Connecticut right now.”
Both Adam and Austin said they were sad to hear the news about the shootings and said that it was terrible that they were killed so close to Christmas.
“It’s disturbing that someone would do this,” Clark said. “They were little kids, and I have two kids of my own. I can’t imagine what the parents there are going through.”
Weatherby said she had been following the events of Newtown since the first reports came on Friday morning, including watching video of the victims’ funerals online. “I have been reading about it and watching news reports since it happened and I just couldn’t imagine losing my kids,” she said. “I know it’s hard.”
Guthrie said he hoped people would take the tragedy in Connecticut as a wake up call and find the love of God again. “Jesus said, ‘Let not your heart be troubled,’” Guthrie said. “We have all been troubled by this.”