On a cold, black night in Apple Valley, a group of somber-faced people huddled together at the foot of a driveway on Ember Way, clutching flickering candles. It was a small gesture, but it was still a light in the dark, however dim.
The small prayer circle came together in the wake of one of the worst mass murders in recent memory, still a fresh memory from Friday afternoon: The slaughter of 26 people at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, most of them children 6 to 8 years old. Shooter Adam Lanza killed himself as police closed in.
"People felt a lot of sorrow, and a sort of stunned, numb response," said Bruce Bentley, pastor at City on a Hill, a church in Rosemount. "There's a general sense of helplessness."
One of his church members decided to act.
"I wanted to do something. This is my leap of faith," said vigil organizer Kristine Flies, herself a mother of a 6-year-old child. "I didn't care if we had 10 people or 200. We wanted to show the people of Connecticut that we're here for them, even if it's just this tiny little cul-de-sac."
Bentley and Flies said their goals for the vigil were modest: To help themselves and others in attendance begin to cope and perhaps help raise a little money for the funerals in Connecticut. Small, yes, but something nonetheless.