In the days and weeks following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Rev. Debby Bartley thought about how she could support local schools in St. Charles.
The children in St. Charles were on the minds of other members of First United Methodist Church during a recent planning retreat. The church members brainstormed ways to impact the community right around the church.
"Children kept coming up as being very important," Bartley said. "Someone said we've got Lincoln Elementary and so my lightbulb went off."
On Monday, the night before school started up again, about 45 members of the church drove to Lincoln Elementary School to pray for the students, faculty and staff. The school is located just a few blocks from the church.
The parishioners, which included two students at Lincoln Elementary, lined Sixth Street and wrapped around the school.
They sang a hymn of blessing and said a simple prayer over the school while holding candles.
"It was just amazing," Bartley said.
"The Sandy Hook tragedy was on everyone's hearts," she said. "We prayed for safety."
Bartley says she hopes that this is the first step toward a closer relationship between Lincoln Elementary and the church. She wants to find ways to volunteer and partner with the school.