Gaetz Memorial United Church Ministers Leila Currie (left), and Amy Mueller prepare to ring the bell 49 times on June 12. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Gaetz United Church bell to toll for 49 shooting victims on June 12

Global movement to affirm inclusion, “spreading love”

The bell of Red Deer’s Gaetz Memorial United Church will ring out 49 times at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 12.

The bell will toll once for each of the 49 people killed in Florida’s Pulse gay nightclub on the same date in 2016.

Gaetz United is taking part in a global movement involving churches of all denominations, as well as temples, synagogues and mosques. These places of worship are answering a plea made by the mothers of the mass-shooting victims to show solidarity by tolling bells around the world.

Red Deer church officials decided to join the Orlando-based movement — which also involves acts of love and kindness in the 49 days leading up to June 12 — because their local church became fully affirming last fall.

Members voted in favour of welcoming everyone into their fold: “People of all ages, gender identities, sexual orientations, racial identities…”

“We believe God loves all — and all means all,” said Minister Amy Mueller.

“For too long, certain groups of people have felt that ‘all’ doesn’t apply to them, that their lives are less valuable… but we wanted to make a statement that we are a safe place for all members, including (those who are) LBGTQ.”

Fellow Minister Leila Mueller feels that ringing the bell will express support for “mutuality and equal rights.”

The Pulse nightclub killer, who was shot by police, was thought to have mental health problems and political and/or homophobic reasons for carrying out the terror attack.

Last year, on the first anniversary of the shooting, mothers of the victims tried to find 49 churches willing to toll their bells 49 times. “As parents, we don’t want our children to be forgotten,” said Mayra Alvear, who lost her daughter, Amanda Alvear, 25. She also wanted to endorse spreading love, not hate, as an important message for humankind.

In response, 323 churches in nine countries agreed to ring their bells on June 12, 2017.

More church bells are expected to toll on Tuesday.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Gaetz Memorial United Church Ministers Leila Currie (left), and Amy Mueller. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Just Posted

BILD says not the time for higher permit fees in Red Deer

Construction industry is hard hit by slow economy

Bighorn Country telephone town hall for Red Deer area set for Wednesday

Residents can phone in from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to hear about the project or ask questions

Central Alberta real estate sales follow a familiar pattern

2018 house sale numbers mirror 2017 in central Alberta

Red Deer hospital settles dispute, welcomes neonatal nurse

A dispute over nursing levels at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s emergency… Continue reading

Drumheller-Stettler MLA quits UCP

Rick Strankman to sit as Independent

Lucic, Kassian each score twice to power Oilers in 7-2 win over Sabres

EDMONTON — Milan Lucic and Zack Kassian each scored a pair of… Continue reading

Big Valley family gives back to community

Donates $24,560 to Stettler Health Foundation and Edmonton Stollery Children’s Hospital

Giordano notches three points to lead Flames in 7-1 blowout of Coyotes

CALGARY — Flames captain Mark Giordano celebrated his 800th NHL game in… Continue reading

All-female team out to prove women racers aren’t a gimmick

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Every racing series in the world is full… Continue reading

‘Game of Thrones’ final season to debut on April 14

NEW YORK — “Game of Thrones” fans, get ready. HBO announced Sunday… Continue reading

Kylie Jenner loses record for most-liked Instagram post

NEW YORK — Kylie Jenner’s birth announcement is no longer the most-liked… Continue reading

Study shows black bears need a variety of salmon species to be healthy

VANCOUVER — Black bears need access to different species of salmon rather… Continue reading

Trade war’s wounded: Companies improvise to dodge cost hikes

WASHINGTON — In Rochester, New York, a maker of furnaces for semiconductor… Continue reading

Most Read