La Cañada church mourns Connecticut shooting victims

Rev. Amy Pringle had trouble sleeping Friday night.

She woke up crying and thinking of the nearly 30 lives lost in the mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school earlier in the day.

"The more I thought about it, the more I realized we needed to do something," she said. "We needed to come together as a community."

Pringle, of St. George's Episcopal Church in La Cañada Flintridge, coordinated a prayer vigil Saturday afternoon with her husband, Rev. Bryan Jones of St. Luke's church in La Crescenta.

About 30 people attended the service, which included prayer readings and the ringing of 28 bells, one for each life lost on Friday. Many of them shed tears or hugged as candles were placed in the preschool playground behind the church and members sang "Amazing Grace."

Pringle said she wanted to offer something to the community behind the speeches seen on television. "We need ritualism and symbolism."

Placing the candles in the playground sand was a symbol of innocence, she said. Recently, her granddaughter had her first play date there.

Jessy Shelton, a 13-year-old acolyte with the church, said she passed out fliers Saturday to get the word out about the event. When the vigil ended, she cried and hugged friends.

The Crescenta Valley High student said she has relatives in Connecticut and "freaked out" when she first heard word of the incident.

None of her family members were involved, but the shooting left her in shock, she said. "It's extremely horrifying that someone would do this."

Twenty children and six adults were killed Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. The suspected shooter, Adam Lanza, allegedly killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, and took his own life.

Larry Stammer said he was deeply affected by the news as both a father and grandfather. The incident took place less than two weeks before Christmas, which is also hard to digest, he said.

"It's a time of hope and a season of joy," said the 71-year-old Glendale resident. "How do you reconcile those two?"

-- Tiffany Kelly, Times Community News

Follow Tiffany on Google+ or on Twitter: @LATiffanyKelly

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