Gaetz United Church Minister Leila Currie (left) prepares 49 candles during a special memorial, as Gwen Shatford comes to remember the 49 shooting victims. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

WATCH: Red Deer church bells ring out for 49 victims of Florida shooting

Gaetz Memorial United Church takes stand for inclusion

The bell tolled 49 times on Tuesday at Red Deer’s Gaetz Memorial United Church, in memory of the 49 victims of Florida’s 2016 nightclub shooting.

The large downtown church welcomes all people, including members of the LGBTQ community.

“We chose to do this because we believe it is important that everyone know that they are beloved of God… We are saddened by every story of victimization. In the case of Pulse, 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 the church’s co-Minister Leila Currie.

The special memorial was observed at religious institutions around the world on Tuesday.

“We hope that by opening our doors, ringing our bells, and communing in prayer, we can help make a difference, and create a more loving society and a culture of peace,” Currie added.

After the bell was rung at 4 p.m., several people of all ages and orientations, came to light a candle in the church, and to remember the lives lost two years ago during Orlando’s pride celebrations.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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