Gaetz Memorial United Church Ministers Leila Currie (left), and Amy Mueller. (Advocate file photo).

Red Deer church to ring bell 49 times for shooting victims on Friday

“We believe God loves all — and all means all,” says minister

The bell at Red Deer’s Gaetz Memorial United Church will toll 49 times on Friday in honour of the victims of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shootings.

Minister Leila Currie says the church is continuing to honour the lives that were lost at the Pulse club in Orlando, Fla., because “we believe it is important that everyone know that they are beloved of God… We are saddened by every story of victimization.”

The shooting that left 49 people dead was a hate crime against gay people.

“It was a senseless tragedy based on prejudice, for a people who were simply celebrating their authentic selves in what they thought to be a safe place,” said Currie.

The church is continuing to take part in the global movement for a second year when it rings the bell once for every person killed at 6 p.m.

Gaetz United is participating with churches of all denominations, as well as temples, synagogues and mosques.

The places of worship are answering a plea made by mothers of the mass-shooting victims to show solidarity by tolling bells around the world.

The Red Deer church became fully affirming in 2017. 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.

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