Sorrow and remembrance, but also hope, will be themes at a vigil planned by religious leaders in the Farmington Valley for Thursday in Avon to mark the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook School shootings.
The upcoming vigil is the work of the Farmington Valley League of Light, an interfaith group started earlier this year in response to what organizers say is a rising level of bigotry, intolerance and violence. It has held a couple of events since then. Organizers include Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders, and people of all faiths are welcome on Thursday.
“We want opportunities for people of various faiths to get together,” said Rabbi Rebekah Goldman of the Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation. “We have an obligation to get together with people of faith and stand against the violence that is hitting this country, and Sandy Hook hits close to home.”
The vigil is at 6:30 p.m. in the Avon Congregational Church. Goldman said there will be brief remarks area religious leaders and a reading of the names of the 26 children and adults killed in the shooting.
Goldman said she and other league organizers anticipated from the beginning that the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings, on Dec. 14, 2012, would be important to recognize.
“I think people are desperate for something like this right now,” Goldman said.
Betsy Van Loon, a member of the Avon Congregational Church, said she is hoping speakers at the vigil can offer encouragement for the future.
“Each of our faiths teaches us to be hopeful,” Van Loon said.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation that would let people with a concealed-carry gun license issued by one state carry a concealed firearm in other states. Because of that, Van Loon said she anticipates the issue of gun control will come up on Thursday.
“I think there will be remembrance, sorrow and encouragement along with an underlying political statement,” Van Loon said. “Increasing the use of guns is not consistent with my religious traditions.”
Speakers will include Christian clergy, leaders of the area’s Jewish community and the president of the Farmington Valley American Muslim Center in Avon.
This will be the league’s third event. The group started with a well-attended vigil in June at the Farmington Valley American Muslim Center. Violence in August, including protests in Charlottesville, Va., prompted another event at the Avon Congregational Church that month that about 100 people attended.