STURBRIDGE — More than 50 people from around the area gathered on a cold and snowy Sunday night to pray for peace and call for an end to violence.

The Prayers for Peace candlelit vigil on the Sturbridge Town Common, originally postponed due to weather on Feb. 17, was organized by Kelly Jean Yap and Rev. Kirsten Nelson Roenfeldt, pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Sturbridge. The vigil was put together in response to the tragic shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, when 17 students and staff were murdered on school grounds.

Aside from the organizers, speakers included Rev. Kathy Light of Elm Street Congregational Church in Southbridge, Rev. Peter Precourt of Saint Anne and Saint Patrick Parish in Sturbridge, and Rev. Janet Leighninger or New Hope United Church of Christ in Sturbridge. There was also live music led by Boyd Wood, Bethlehem Lutheran Church’s Music Minister. Additionally, vigil-goers shared how gun violence had affected them, left prayers on notecards attached to a net, and enjoyed “Pops for Peace.” Pastor Janet had encouraged those in attendance to think about how one can take action against gun violence in the amount of time it takes to eat a pop.

Brimfield residents Sonja and Klaus Tittel take part in the Prayers for Peace vigil on the Sturbridge Town Common on Sunday night.
The Reverend Janet Leighninger of New Hope United Church of Christ in Sturbridge speaks from the gazebo on the Sturbridge Town Common as part of Prayers for Peace.
Illuminated by a candle, Aiden Yap reflects in prayer on Sunday night’s Prayers for Peace vigil in response to the tragic school shootings in Parkland, Fla.
Dozens of people came out on a snowy night in memory of the lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and to call for an end to gun violence.
Tom and Kathy Lapriore of Southbridge with “Pops for Peace” during the candlelit Prayers for Peace vigil on Sunday night.
Thoughts and prayers were posted by vigil-goers on this net.
Thoughts and prayers were posted by vigil-goers on this net.
Boyd Wood, music minister at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, performed live music as part of the Prayers for Peace vigil on the Sturbridge Town Common on Sunday night.

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