Many faith communities in Newtown are offering services and support for residents this weekend, to mark and honor the first anniversary of 12/14. The media is being asked to respect the privacy of those attending any of these services. Many houses of worship have posted signs on their grounds asking all media to stay back while residents, friends, and families gather to remember those who were killed at Sandy Hook School, and to reflect on the past year. “One of the challenges for us is that when the media is present, some of the people that are most vulnerable, who need the most support, won’t come,” the Reverend Matt Crebbin, senior pastor of Newtown Congregational Church, said. “We don’t want our people to feel and become isolated,” he added. It is important that those who have a need to be with others at this time feel comfortable leaving their homes, he continued.
The Reverend Leo McIlrath, the host and producer of "Unity In Diversity," has made a change for the sequence of programs that will be aired this month. On December 16 and 18, Rev McIlrath will be presenting The Interfaith Memorial Service for Sandy Hook, rebroadcasting the event that took place on Sunday, December 16, at Newtown High School. This will replace the previously announced plan to air an interview with Dr Paul Hines, director of The Dorothy Day House of Hospitality in Danbury, on those dates.
On Sunday, November 24, Rabbi Shaul Praver was awarded the Samaritan Peace Medal. This award was presented to Rabbi Praver, of Congregation Adath Israel, by Samaritan Chancellor Benyamim Tsedaka, editor of AB — The Samaritan News and a tireless world advocate of the Samaritan people and their rich historical traditions.
The Samaritan Medal for Peace and Humanitarian Achievement is awarded by the Samaritan people of the Holy Land for peace efforts, humanitarian service and Samaritan studies demonstrated through their lives and actions in the spirit of the Good Samaritan. Its purpose is to recognize and reward service to humanity, especially in the cause of peace. Although many organizations offer “Samaritan Medals,” the one presented to Rabbi Praver is the only Samaritan Medal actually awarded by the original and authentic Samaritan people themselves.
Angels of Hope Inc.’s website says their angel statues “serve as beacons of hope for those suffering from the emotional and physical absence of a child.” In October an Angel of Hope statue was delivered to Newtown. The angel has a face of a The angel has a face of a child and stands 4’ 3” with a wingspan of 5’ 2”. The word Hope is inscribed inside its wing. Lisa Brown says she remembers waking up shortly after 12/14 and thinking she had to get Newtown an angel. The first person the Waterbury resident called was best-selling author Richard Paul Evans, who wrote "The Christmas Box." The book created the basis for the statues. Donations for from around the world helped cover the cost of creating and installing the statue, which will be formally dedicated on the evening of December 14.
Members of Newtown Clergy Association have announced plans for the town’s faith communities to offer services and support for residents in upcoming weeks, as the first anniversary of 12/14 approaches. The town's faith communities are diverse in faith and practice, but are united in common compassion and a commitment to minister faithfully to all residents. “Because any single event on the Anniversary of December 14th would create challenges on multiple levels, we have decided that it would be best to offer a variety of opportunities for our beloved Newtown community to come together: to remember and honor those we have lost, to support all who are grieving, and to steady one another on our journey together. We pray that one or some may provide a way for many of you to come together for comfort, support and encouragement," the group announced on December 4.
Faith at Newtown has a new place of worship: 4 Riverside Road in Sandy Hook. Entry is from the lower parking lot, below The Villa Restaurant. The church, led by Pastor Tim Kuhn, studies the Bible verse by verse and applies it to everyday living. All are welcome for Sunday worship services, which begin at 10 am.
"Unity in Diversity," a weekly television program, can be seen on Mondays and Wednesdays on Charter Communications Channel 21. Each week, viewers may experience leaders and representatives of a variety of local faith communities, sharing their message in a nonthreatening manner. The scheduled for December has been announced.
Once each year the stable behind the Religious Education Office of St Rose Church comes alive following the tradition started by St Francis of Assisi. St Rose members acting as shepherds, angels, and wise men and live animals reenact the greeting of the weary Mary and Joseph on the evening that Jesus was born. St Rose will host its annual Live Nativity presentation on Saturday, December 14, immediately following the 5:30 Mass. The rain/snow date is Sunday, December 15, with the scene to be presented following the noon Mass.
The next Monthly Interfaith Gathering for Prayer is scheduled for Sunday, December 1. The brief service will begin at 4 pm and will take place in the lower meeting room of Edmond Town Hall, 45 Main Street. Sponsored by the Newtown Interfaith Clergy Association, this month the gathering will have as its theme “Prayers for the Holidays.”
Newtown’s clergy gathered, along with two choirs and nearly 200 residents, for a Newtown Interfaith Thanksgiving Gathering at Trinity Church on Sunday evening. The November 24 program featured readings by young adults, as well as short essays by other young adults on what they are thankful for this holiday season.
A children’s choir performed “Simple Gifts” and “Rejoice and Be Glad,” which charmed those in attendance at the historic Main Street church. They were followed by the adult choir, who sang “We Are Marching in The Light of God.”
The evening, said co-organizer Margo Deselin Woodall, was meant to focus on the hope and promise of youth.