On Friday, April 24, 2020 at six p.m., the Kirk’s bell will toll in remembrance of the victims of the deadly shooting rampage that took place in Nova Scotia’s Colchester County this past weekend. The massacre claimed the lives of twenty-two people, and also an unborn baby, making this tragedy the most deadly mass killing in Canadian history.
Churches across Canada are being asked to participate in this memorial tribute by the organizers of a virtual vigil for the victims, Colchester Supporting our Communities Facebook group. It will take place in conjunction with hours of planned on-line activities, being hosted in lieu of mass in-person vigils or group funerals, which are impossible given current COVID-19 social distancing regulations.
The victims of the shootings include: RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson, Greg & Jamie Blair, Lisa McCully, Heather O’Brien, Alanna Jenkins & Sean McLeod, Jolene Oliver, Emily Tuck & Aaron (Friar) Tuck, Frank Gulenchyn & Dawn Madsen, Gina Goulet, Lillian Hyslop, Tom Bagley, Kristen Beaton and her baby, John Zahl & Elizabeth Joanne Thomas, Corrie Ellison, Joey Webber, and Joy & Peter Bond.
Elder Ian Scott has kindly agreed to toll the Kirk bell in honour of these victims. He notes that “the community around Portapique was next door to the villages my dad served during his early pastorages. He served the areas of Economy and Lower Five Islands before joining the Navy in WW II and prior to moving there was directly across the water on the Hants County south side of that bay. I am sure it will be an especially challenging time for the clergy in all the affected areas during these unusual times of restricted contact and such tragic loss.”
Rev. Amanda Henderson-Bolton will have candles lit from the Christ candle for each of the victims during her on-line Sunday worship service on April 26. Soloist and Kirk choral scholar Ian Solomon will also sing a special musical selection in honour of the victims during the April 26 service.
The Kirk of St. James extends its deepest condolences to all of the families and friends of the victims, and all of those who have been affected by this senseless tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all, and for them all. May they find peace in the midst of such unspeakable violence.