Colo. shooting victims remembered during Phoenixville vigil

Photo by Barry Taglieber A group of area residents remember victims of the Aurora, Colo. shooting outside of the Colonial Theatre during a vigil in Phoenixville on Friday.

The sound of live music filled the streets in Phoenixville, but the mood was somber in front of the Colonial Theater as a candlelight vigil was held Friday night to pay tribute to those lost in the shooting in Aurora, Colo.

'We wanted to put front and center the lives of the people lost,' said the Rev. Ken Beldon, the lead minister at WellSprings Congregation and one of the coordinators of the vigil. 'I reached out to my friend, Chaplain Annalie Korengel Lorgus, so that we could honor our common humanity and the strength of our different spiritual traditions to promote healing and peace.'

The group that gathered was made up of young and old and grew to 20 people before it ended.

Beldon said he had no expectations of the size and was just happy people showed up whom they knew as colleagues or in their congregations and some passers-by who joined in off the street.

'The guitarist popped up off the street,' said Lorgus of the Unionville Presbyterian Church and the other coordinator. 'He said he was here doing Christmas in July. He gave me a hug and thanked me for the opportunity to come by and join in.'

Those in attendance were given the opportunity to read a short bio of one of the 12 people killed a week ago. A couple struggled through their readings as tears choked them.

Though they didn't know any of the victims personally, some felt an emotional connection.

'I was married 26 years to a Navy commander,' said Kathleen Higgins, a resident of Hockessin, Del. 'He was killed not in active duty, but in a home invasion and the sorrow that these family members, of the people in Aurora, is something I wish I could take away from them.'

For another who participated, she may not have known anyone in Aurora, but she does have an understanding of the grief being felt by the citizens of the town.

'A friend of mine was a victim of the Sylvia Seegrist shooting,' said Suzane Molyneux of Douglassville, Pa. 'She did survive, but always bring it up.' Sylvia Seegrist opened fire at a Springfield shopping mall in October 1985, killing three people before she was subdued.

Beldon said the Colonial Theater was a fitting place to hold the vigil, which lasted half an hour.

'It's almost like movie theaters were transformed into unexpected and unwanted holy ground because something terrible happened that made us pay attention,' Belson said. 'The Colonial really understands its place as a community hub. It literally is a beacon on Bridge Street.'

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