On Thursday, June 18th, Bishop Ely issued a statement inviting the people of the Episcopal Church in Vermont to ring our church bells at 12:00pm on Friday, June 19th. “We suggest ringing the bells one minute for each victim and one minute for the soul of the individual who committed the crime. I ask that all Episcopal Churches in Vermont join in this witness to peace and hope for healing.”
Below are some stories from some of the many parishes who took part in this moving public witness:
From Lew Watters of St. Luke’s, Chester: “In response to Bishop Ely’s request for parishes to honor the dead in the shooting of worshipers in Charleston, South Carolina, there were a dozen who came, prayed and rang. A photo is below. The Rev. Heidi Edson is on the left, her husband Doug standing tall in the back row, along with vestry members, parents, and children. The Prayer attributed to Saint Francis was read aloud by everyone. Bell ringing has become a tradition at St. Luke’s including 2009 for the International Day of Climate Change, the anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene in 2012, and following the tragic New Hope, CT school shooting in December 2012.
From Penny Thomas of St. Mark’s, Newport: “Claude Comtois off St. Marks Episcopal Church, Newport, rings the bell in the steeple for 10 minutes, starting at noon on Friday, June 19, at Bishop Ely’s request. One minute each for the nine people killed in the Charleston church. And one minute for the soul of the person who took their lives.
Passers-by asked why the bell tolled and nodded as they went on their way.”
From Holy Trinity, Swanton: “Holy Trinity bell ringers working to promote peace and healing in reference to recent events in Charleston, South Carolina.”
From Church of our Savior, Mission Farm, Killington: “The Bell tolled for ten minutes at noon today.” (Pictured: The Rev. Canon Lee Crawford, Vicar)
From Bishop Ely: “With Rock Point Summer Camp Staff. We rang the chapel bell and offered prayers for those murdered at Emanuel AME Church.”
From the Rev. Regina Christianson (Rector, Calvary Church, Underhill): “We rang the bells on Friday for the murdered and the murderer of Charleston. I found it overwhelmingly poignant, because I had read something about each one of them. We rang the bells at 10 AM because the choir practice had just finished, so I could include choir members, and I didn’t want to interrupt our grief support group that takes place around noon . I also read their names during the intercessions on Sunday, and we remembered their families and wounded community. I posted on Front Porch Forum that that is what we did and why. I have received messages of thanks from member of our community. I also shared Bishop Ely’s message on Facebook, and received several positive responses. There is awareness throughout our land that is growing and maturing. I have a reasonable hope that this tragedy may be a catalyst for a healthier dialogue on racism, anger, the rebel flag, and guns. “