Ladysmith’s Oceanview Community Church joined churches across in the country in a vigil to honour the lives of the 23 victims killed in the Nova Scotia shooting.
Ruth Duerksen and Shirley Reid are originally from the Nova Scotia community of Springhill, which is an hour outside of Portapique where the shootings occurred. Duerksen said the COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for grieving residents.
“A lot of people aren’t going outside of their house. They can’t even go and give a hug to somebody, and that is making it harder for them,” Duerksen said.
Duerksen and Reid never knew any of the shooting victims personally, but some of their friends and family have.
“We do have relatives that normally take a walk Sunday morning. They changed their mind and went a different way. They heard gunshots minutes later, and one of their friends was killed,” Reid said.
Duerksen asked Oceanview Church pastor, Darin Phillips if the church would participate in the nationwide vigil. In response, Phillips organized a small bell-ringing ceremony, and purchased a Nova Scotia flag for the event.
“Here we are at the most western part of the country in solidarity with them,” he said.
The names of the 23 victims were read aloud, and the church bell rang 23 times in their honour.