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Interfaith Memorial Service On 12/14 Anniversary Among Opportunities To Reflect, Continue Healing



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Readers have many options to reflect on the events of 12/14 and the aftermath of the past decade. As the tenth anniversary of that day approaches, many local organizations have shared their plans to help honor those who died and offer places and times for peaceful reflection.

The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial, at 32 Riverside Road, is open. The memorial opened on Sunday, November 20, and honors the six female educators and 20 boys and girls who died on Friday, December 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

In season, it is open daily from dawn to dusk. It will be closed during the winter months.

Interfaith Service Planned

Newtown Interfaith Council will present a service of remembrance on Wednesday, December 14. The evening gathering will remember and honor those killed on 12/14, the survivors and all affected by that day’s events, and offer prayers for the community at large.

Trinity Episcopal Church, at 36 Main Street, will host the service, which is scheduled to begin at 7 pm. All are welcome.

The Reverend Andrea Castner Wyatt, pastor of Trinity Church, said on December 1 that she and other members of Newtown Interfaith Council will carry on the theme of light that was introduced during the recent interfaith Thanksgiving service. Plans for the memorial service was the sole item on the informal agenda of the meeting that afternoon.

Wyatt, who welcomed other members of the Newtown Interfaith Council to the library of her church, had additionally asked Trinity Minister of Music Jennifer Sisco to join the meeting.

“There is a theme of light that is emerging,” Wyatt told Sisco while asking her to select music for the service. “Pieces can be of your own selection, with the idea that they are reflective and inclusive.

“Ten years is a big amount of time,” Castner Wyatt added. “This is a good time for reflection.”

The service will include music, readings of sacred texts from various faiths, and the reading of the names of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.

The format, Reverend Matt Crebbin of Newtown Congregational Church said last week, “will be very similar to what we’ve done in the past.”

All are invited to attend the service. The evening will be livestreamed through Trinity’s website (trinitynewtownCT.org), with the Prelude/Gathering Music to begin at 6:45.

Houses Of Worship

Christ the King Lutheran Church, at 85 Mt Pleasant Road, will include a special time of remembrance during the prayers of its Advent Vespers Service on December 14, Pastor Rob Morris said this week.

The church has been hosting weekly Wednesday evening services at 7 pm this Advent season.

On Saturday, December 10, Congregation Adath Israel will hold its annual memorial service during the Saturday morning Shabbat service. The service will be held from 11:30 am to 12:45 pm at the synagogue, 115 Huntingtown Road.

Adath Israel is inviting members of its community along with residents of neighboring communities to join them as they join to mourn the terrible loss and to remember this day that etched an indelible mark on this community forever.

The service will also be streamed through Adath Israel’s Facebook page. You do not have to be a member of Facebook to stream the service.

The service will include the chanting of “El Malei” (The Mourner’s Prayer) and other memorial readings. In addition, the names of all who lost their lives that day will be read.

As a community, attendees will all stand and recite the Mourners Kaddish together.

A traditional Oneg, with refreshments, will follow the service, which honors the Sabbath.

Adath Israel remains concerned about the safety of all those attending in-person services. Although masking and vaccination are still optional, members strongly recommend both for everyone’s protection against COVID-19.

The synagogue’s leaders also ask guests to try to continue maintaining social distance when possible and be aware of and sensitive to others who may not be as comfortable with close social contact. Anyone with any symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, a cold, or any cold, respiratory or gastrointestinal symptom is asked to view the service virtually.

For additional information visit www.congadathisrael.org or contact the office at office@congadathisrael.org or 203-426-5188.

The sanctuary of Newtown Congregational Church, 14 West Street, will be open on Wednesday from 9 am until 5 pm for anyone who would like to pray and/or spend some time in reflection.

Newtown United Methodist Church, 92 Church Hill Road, will also be open on Wednesday, from 9 am to 9 pm, for individual prayer.

Pastor Lori Miller also told The Newtown Bee this week that she will be present herself from 9 am to 5 pm for prayer or conversation.

Love Has A Home Here/Sticks and Stones Farm, 197 Huntingtown Road, will be highlighting its stone labyrinth located along the Pootatuck River just downstream from the stone barn on Wednesday. There will be extra signage to mark the trail and instructions at the labyrinth for those who have not walked it before. The path and labyrinth will be lit by candles from dusk until 7 pm.

In addition, from 7 to 8:30 pm in the stone barn there will be a free community sound and vibrational healing offered by Aureliaslight. Reservations are encouraged through sticksandstonesfarm.com/events.

For additional information contact Rev Bill Donaldson at 203-915-0718 or bill@lovehasahome.org.

St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, 46 Church Hill Road, will host a Sandy Hook Memorial Concert on Monday, December 12, beginning at 7:30 pm. The free performance will feature a string quartet with the musicians Rebecca Patterson (New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Principal Cello), Solomiya Ivakhiv (University of Connecticut Associate Professor of Violin), Ashleigh Gordon (Castle of Our Skins, Boston, Director and viola) and Philip Kates (Philadelphia Orchestra, violin).

The program will include works of Schubert, Florence Price, and Charles Ives. The quartet will also be joined by members of St Rose Adult Choir for a performance of Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus.”

Call 203-426-1014 for additional information.

St Rose Church will offer its annual Sandy Hook Memorial Mass on Wednesday, December 14, at 7 pm. Bishop Caggiano will be the Celebrant.

Trinity Episcopal Church, at 36 Main Street, has planned additional opportunities for reflection and remembrance on and around the approaching anniversary.

Reverend Andrea Castner Wyatt reminds readers that the church’s Outdoor Labyrinth, near the gazebo and Memorial Garden, is always open to the community.

“We invite you to walk our outdoor Labyrinth, created in memory of the events of 12/14 as an enduring resource for prayer and healing. The labyrinth is always available for personal meditation and reflection,” she said.

On Wednesday, December 14, the sanctuary of the historic church will be open for personal reflection from 9 am until 3 pm.

As mentioned above, the town’s Interfaith Service of Remembrance will be hosted at Trinity at 7 pm.

“All are invited and welcome, from all or no faith traditions,” said Castner Wyatt. “Let us be community, together.”

A “Blue Christmas” service will be presented Saturday, December 19, at 5 pm. This service will offer “a quiet space for those who are not feeling jolly; a safe place for those who are grieving or in pain,” Castner Wyatt explained. The service will include Christian seasonal readings, Advent Candle-Lighting, and confidential Healing Prayer with clergy.

The following evening, a Solstice Indoor Labyrinth Walk and Prayer will take place beginning at 6 pm in the Glover Community Room. This annual event offers an opportunity for reflection while approaching the longest night of the year.

Castner Wyatt reminds readers that all are also welcome to regular and approaching holiday services, including the Children’s Christmas Pageant, Sunday, December 18, at 9:30 am; Festive Christmas Eve Service, Saturday, December 24, at 5 pm; and Christmas Day Service, Sunday, December 25, at 10 am.

Abundant parking is available behind the church, with access through the driveway at 12 Church Hill Road (adjacent to the Hook & Ladder firehouse). For additional information contact the church office at 203) 426-9070 or trinity@trinitynewtownct.org, or visit trinitynewtownCT.org.

Resiliency Center Of Newtown

The Resiliency Center of Newtown (RCN), within the SCB building at 153 South Main Street, will be open on Wednesday, December 14, from 9 am until 5 pm, for anyone who needs additional support or is looking for a quiet place to reflect.

RCN will have therapists on staff throughout the day. Appointments are available upon request.

Ten-minute chair massages will be offered from 9 am until noon.

Reiki sessions will be offered throughout the day; appointments are requested.

For an appointment or additional information, call RCN at 203-364-9750.

All services and clinicians are being generously sponsored by the Beylouni family and Colonial Automotive Group.

‘Still Newtown’

On December 5, WSHU Public Radio with media partner The Newtown Bee launched an 11-part podcast series called “Still Newtown,” chronicling the life of the community a decade after 12/14.

The podcast reveals a community’s strength and resilience since the shootings that took the lives of 20 children and 6 educators. It can be listened to at wshu.org/podcast/still-newtown.

All episodes are available for download, and are also accessible on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and all major streaming platforms.

Luminarias were on display at and around Ram Pasture for the December 2 tree lighting event, including this row of 26 in honor of 12/14. —Bee Photo, Hutchison
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