As the state grieves in response to the tragic massacre in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown today, First Church 1652 will open its doors for prayer tonight at 7 p.m. Rev. Steven Savides, senior pastor at the church at 75 Main Street in Farmington, will hold a brief prayer service at 7:15 p.m., followed by open prayer.
Saturday morning, Dec. 15, at 9 a.m., St. James Episcopal Church (3 Mountain Road, Farmington) will hold a brief prayer service for those who died in Newtown today. All are welcome to come together to pray, to share silence, to make lamentation, and to love. Father George Roberts will remain after for those who may need counsel or private prayer.
Teddy bears and stuffed animals will be collected at Macy's at Westfarms mall Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to be donated to the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School. The collection will be on the second floor of Macy's and also at Winterfest in Bushnell Park Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Huffington Post has an article naming the Newtown Youth and Family Services, Newtown Parent Connection and the American Red Cross as places to donate in the wake of the tragedy. For details, click here.
Farmington Schools Superintendent Kathleen Greider sent a letter to parents Friday afternoon, reassuring them that the district had been in constant communication with police throughout the day monitoring any possible threat.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and families of this tragic shooting as well as the many students, families, faculty and administration of the Newtown Public Schools. Please know that the Farmington school district will offer support to the Newtown Public Schools in the coming days," Greider wrote.
"Police Chief Melanson gathered information and provided up-to-date information to the school district. All decisions were made in conjunction with the Superintendent’s Office, Police Chief Melanson and the Farmington Police Department. In addition, Police Chief Melanson asked police officers to have a heightened presence around school zones throughout the day."
In addition, Greider offered resources on how to talk to children about the tragedy. From her email:
What Can We Say to Our Children in the Aftermath of a Tragedy?
Some general advice from experts includes:
- Assume that most of them have heard or will soon hear something about the tragedy. Be ready to listen carefully and correct any misinformation they may have.
- Reassure your children that you will help to keep them safe. You may need to say this repeatedly.
- Try to stay calm yourself. When you are calm, it gives children a greater sense of security. Express your own feelings with a calm demeanor and in a way that is appropriate for the age of your child.
- Turn off the TV. Younger children should probably not watch the news and the replaying of the traumatic event. Older children should watch with an adult.
- Listen and let them ask questions. You don’t need to have answers. Allow them to talk about what happened and express feelings about it.
- The age of your child may affect his or her response.
- Adolescents may be harder hit by this type of news. Obtaining counseling sooner rather than later may reduce long term effects. Spend time with them.
- Younger children may need you to spend more time with them playing, giving them time and attention.
- Keep regular schedules for eating, activities and sleeping. Routines help to restore a sense of security and normalcy.
- Consider how you and your child might help. We all are better able to regain our sense of power and security if we feel we can help in some way.
Some helpful websites: