Christian Heritage School students were deeply honored to contribute their talents to A Night of Hope & Healing held on January 15, in remembrance of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. CHS students from the 4th, 5th and 6th grades formed the Children's Choir that sang backup for Grammy award-winning Christian artist Chris Tomlin during his performance of "Amazing Grace." The students wore green, custom-made shirts bearing a heart containing each victim's name and age. Approximately 9,000 people attended the event at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, while tens of thousands world-wide viewed a live stream on-line.
The entire evening was filled with worship, prayer and music to bring a message of hope to the community. Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch gave introductory remarks, followed by a time of ecumenical prayer led by Rev. Jim Solomon of the New Hope Community Church in Newtown. Hosts Max Lucado, a best-selling Christian author and speaker, and Louie Giglio, pastor and founder of the Passion Movement, offered reassuring scriptures and messages throughout the night. Lucado gently urged everyone watching to hold on to the Bible's promise in Psalm 23 that "The Lord is my shepherd," while Giglio delivered a powerful and genuine sermon on how God can bring good out of something meant for evil. As each one of the victims' names and the words "We Remember" flashed on screens during a moment of silence, the arena was filled with the still raw emotion of the Sandy Hook tragedy.
A host of well-known Christian musicians gave of their time and talent to perform, including Grammy winners Casting Crowns, TobyMac, and Steven Curtis Chapman, along with Laura Story, Building 429 and American Idol's Mandisa. Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, made a particularly moving appearance, speaking about their struggles and faith in the wake of their own 5-year-old daughter's tragic death in 2008. All of the artists returned to the stage to close the evening with one final song for the community, encouraging us to unite together to work for hope, healing and above all, love.