Friday, November 28, 2014

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Interfaith prayer service honors Newtown victims

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Interfaith prayer service honors Newtown victims
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Syracuse joined the rest of the country in a moment of silence for the Victims of the Newtown shooting. An interfaith prayer service was held at Temple Concord. Our Katie Gibas tells us how those in attendance say it helped them grieve and move towards healing.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It was a somber and tear-filled service as Reverend William Redfield read the names of each of the victims of the Newtown shooting.

"I had to work very hard to control myself. When I think of six and seven-year-olds and how tender those little lives are, it was very difficult," said Reverend William Redfield read of Fayetteville's Trinity Episcopal Church.

20 children's names were read, followed by the six adults at Sandy Hook, the shooter and his mother. For those with children, it has been an especially tough week.

"Everyone that night probably held onto their kids a little tighter because can this happen anywhere? Absolutely. It's so sad that it happened to those people in Newtown. It shouldn't happen to any," said Meenu Bajwa, a Jamesville resident and mother of two children.

Over the last week, everyone has been looking for answers, trying to make sense of last Friday's violence. It's been a particular challenge for those who work with children everyday.

"All I kept thinking is that if you're not safe in school, if you're not safe in first grade, where on God's planet are you safe?" said Sharon Contreras, the Syracuse City School District Superintendent.

Leaders from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths each read a prayer. And those who participated said it was important to come together regardless of creed to mourn.

"This is a great forum where different religions can come together in good times and in bad times, in situations like this tragedy to pray together, to know that right now we have this common pain that we want to share together," said Bajwa.

Contreras added, "It felt better to come together with others to just reflect on how fragile life is and to help us mourn."

"We're better together, and I think the more diverse a community can come together and share, the better off the community will share," said Ona Cohn Bregman, DeWitt resident and President A.C.T.S.

Many people at the service signed a card of support, hope and faith to send to Newtown.

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