Minister: Newtown church service to 'mend hearts'

Associated Press
A young woman wears a green and white bow, the colors of Sandy Hook Elementary School, in her hair with the initials of the victims names from the Dec. 14, 2012 shooting during an interfaith a sermon at Newtown Congregational Church in Newtown, Conn., Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013.  The Rev. James A. Forbes, Jr., who led one of the country’s most prominent liberal Protestant churches, is speaking at the church to honor the victims of last month’s school shooting and the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

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NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — Town residents have a long journey ahead of them after last month's deadly elementary school shooting, but destiny lies in their ability to be united, a local minister said Sunday at a church service honoring the victims.

The gathering served "to heal and mend hearts" broken when a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, said the Rev. Matt Crebbin, senior minister of the Newtown Congregational Church.

"We are all interconnected," he said.

The church service, attended by about 300 people, also honored the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. the day before his national holiday, organizers said.

"It is fitting, on this weekend, when our nation honors the service and sacrifice of Dr. King, that we gather in worship to honor the service and sacrifice of the persons who died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy," Crebbin said before the service.

The gunman had killed his mother at home before going to the school on Dec. 14 and shooting the students and educators and committing suicide in one of the deadliest school massacres in U.S history.

The Rev. James A. Forbes Jr., who led one of the country's most prominent liberal Protestant churches, planned to speak at Sunday night's service.

Forbes, senior minister emeritus of New York's historic Riverside Church, said he wished to offer words of hope and healing, reminding people that the body knows how to grieve. He said he would talk about the power of community and faith.

Forbes was the first black minister to lead the Riverside Church. He retired from there in 2007.

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