By Michael J. ARVIZU
At precisely 9:35 a.m. on Saturday, the tolling of the wrought-iron bell at St. George’s Episcopal Church in La Cañada pierced the morning silence.
It took only a few moments for the bell to toll 26 times, once for every victim of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which had taken place exactly one year before.
On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza, for reasons that remain unclear to this day, blasted his way through the elementary school, killing 20 students and six adults. Lanza later took his own life.
The request to ring the bell was made by Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop Jon Bruno. Bruno asked churches around the diocese to participate.
“It’s to be in solidarity with the families back in Newtown for whom, obviously before the Christmas season, it’s going to be a tough year,” said Rev. Anthony Keller, St. George deacon and parish administrator.
Saturday’s remembrance came on the heels of a new school shooting on Friday at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo. where 17-year-old senior Claire Davis was shot by gunman Karl Pierson, 18, a senior at the high school. Davis remains in critical condition.
On Saturday, Keller had not been updated on Davis’ condition, and hoped that he would not have to toll the church bell 27 times instead. In the time it took to ring the bell 26 times, Keller later realized, someone with as much firepower as Lanza could have killed twice as many people.
“We should give thanks for a community of faith that is here together and is here to comfort one another and to watch out for one another,” Keller said. “A true community looks out for one another.”
For now, Keller said, the church will pray and offer help in any way it can, even though it may not have all of the answers to the big questions, such as “Why?”
“You try to have answers, but you realize you’re being feeble,” Keller said.