0

Peachtree Corners community holds children's peace service

PEACHTREE CORNERS -- When Jen Januzelli woke up on Saturday morning, she said there was something her community needed to do in response to the tragedy last week at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.

So Januzelli, who has three children, organized a children's peace service on Thursday evening to give children of the community a safe place to grieve together. About 30 children and more than 100 adults took part in the service, where many people wore white shirts, and children read letters they wrote to their friends in Connecticut.

Januzelli said she plans to send a video of the service to the Sandy Hook Elementary community.

"I said, if the five in my family are here, that would be enough," Januzelli said. "The families needed some place they could let their children come and safely grieve without worrying about exposing them to extra violence, and unecessary violence they get already in television media."

At the end of the service, attendees sung "Silent Night," while adults lit candles and children blew bubbles.

"Whatever I asked for, I got double or triple," Januzelli said. "Everyone said 'yes.' Every phone call, every email. Everyone has put forth a tremendous effort."

The original plan was to be outside at Jones Bridge Park, but rainy weather caused the event to be moved inside at Simpsonwood United Methodist Church.

The non-denominational event featured vocalist Kate Ireland and guitarist Brett Moore, who Januzelli taught in Sunday School at Pleasant Hill Presbyterian, she said.

One elementary-aged boy read a letter he wrote to Sandy Hook students that said, "I have a 7-year-old sister that I pester a lot, but I would be sad a ton if that happened to her."

During a prayer, Januzelli said, "only love as large as yours has any hope to restore our faith."

Another elementary student read a letter to Sandy Hook students that said his family has lit a candle outside the front door of their home every night, and that his hope for the Sandy Hook community is that "you will be happy for a few minutes each day."