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Powerful Prayer Service Held in Midtown for Newtown Victims

"They laid down their lives for the love of their children and that was right in the midst of a very wrong event.” - Retired teacher Dr. Mary K. Widener about the Sandy Hook Elementary School workers who died during this month's tragedy.

On Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, Midtown’s Peachtree Christian Church held a special Service of Prayer and Remembrance for Newtown, Conn., that began with bells tolling in tribute for the victims of the Dec. 14 tragedy.

The turnout in the church sanctuary was sparse with about 25 people attending the noon service on one of the final shopping days remaining before Christmas.

But the words were powerful as Peachtree Christian Church (PPC) Senior Minister Dr. Barry McCarty guided the 40-minute service that featured musical interludes from PPC organist Brad A. Hughley.

Said McCarty, “Father, we think about moms and dads and we think about kids. We think about all those touched by the events of last Friday and we pray for all the families of Newtown, Connecticut. We pray that You will administer Your special presence and peace and healing for these families."

Church members had invited anyone to come join as they remembered the families, teachers and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary, while also praying for the “safety and peace of mind of our Atlanta schools, first responders, and Midtown community.”

The Rev. Bob Tyler prayed for pastors, rabbis and social workers, while Midtown Blue Public Safety Manager Col. Wayne Mock spoke of and prayed for first responders everywhere.

And Dr. Mary K. Widener, a retired Cobb county elementary school principal, spoke of and prayed for educators. Specifically speaking of the “caring culture” that those school administrators at Sandy Hook delivered, Widener said, “They were about servant leadership and being advocates for those children. In New Testament scripture, we’re told greater love has no man than this, than to lay down their life for a friend.

“At Sandy Hook, the principal, the school psychologist, teacher (Vicki) Soto in shielding her children, and the other three adult staff members who lost their lives last Friday, that’s what they did. They laid down their lives for the love of their children and that was right in the midst of a very wrong event.”

Also, Martha Steed Bell sang a lovely rendition of “Away in a Manger” at the service and for more of McCarty’s thoughts from Fiday, see the accompanying video.

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