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      Local Sandy Hook vigils give community a place to share grief

      Central New Yorkers light candles to remember victims of Newtown shooting

      Community members at Bethany Baptist Church sang "This Little Light of Mine." 20 minutes away, at Christ Community Methodist Church on Stiles Road, they sang "Amazing Grace." Each prayer vigil was miles away from the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut, but each individual here in Central New York needed a place to share their grief and compassion.

      Judy Antoine sang with the Bethany Baptist Church group, and brought a different perspective than most. Like several others, she is a mother, a grandmother and a teacher, so the school shooting already hit home. But, Antoine was born in South America, and she says she saw the United States as a great country her entire life. After Friday's shooting, her heart was broken.

      "It's a very profound hurt...pain...and I have to say in some ways, anger...anger that something like this could happen in this country," Antoine says.

      Antoine says that tonight's vigil made her feel better, and gave her hope about the good in the world.

      "All day I' ve been crying," she says. "...all day I've been crying, and here I came, and I was able to be with people, and feel compassion, and that has given me an inner strength that I needed for today...it really did."

      Across the city, at Christ Community United Methodist Church on Stiles Road, in a similar way, community members were able to share their grief and compassion. They left the vigil giving hugs and extinguishing candles that represented the victims of the shooting.

      "I think to come some place, and be with other people who may articulate your exact feelings..maybe you can't get them out, but somebody else will sing a song or lift a prayer, they might say just the right thing that really captures what you yourself is feeling," Rev. Adrienne Phillips says.

      At each vigil, the community paused to remember the victims, with the hope their prayers would reach the families in Connecticut.