At least one Mount Airy-area church is planning an event Friday morning in observance of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, its pastor announced Wednesday.
Salem United Methodist Church at 2591 Wards Gap Road will open its doors to the Greater Mount Airy community from 9 to 10 a.m. Friday for prayer and meditation and the lighting of candles. The event also will include the ringing of the church bell at 9:30 a.m. in remembrance of the 26 victims of last week’s shooting.
No formal program is planned, according to the Rev. Bud Cameron, the church’s pastor, who said it will be a time for the public to simply join together to reflect on the magnitude of the shooting.
“It’s just such a senseless tragedy,” Cameron said Wednesday of the motivation behind Friday’s gathering, along with empathy for the families.
“We had a moment of silent prayer and meditation for the victims last week,” he said of Salem United Methodist’s service on Sunday. “But then we heard about the call for the ringing of the church bells this Friday — we wanted to do that, too.”
Churches around the country are urged to ring their bells Friday morning at 9:30, the time the rampage in Connecticut was under way by a lone gunman. It left 20 children, ages 6 and 7, and six adults dead, including the school’s principal and a counselor.
Cameron said he knows of no other local churches planning events similar to that at Salem United Methodist.
“It’s such a tragic loss and particularly at this time of year when we have our thoughts turned to Christmas joy.” Cameron, whose ministerial career spans more than 25 years, said he has not been involved in any similar event during that time.
Everyone is welcome to attend Friday’s observance. “The opportunity is there for all who will come,” Cameron said.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.