LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. — For three minutes, members of the Waverly United Methodist Church took turns ringing their church bell to remember and pay tribute to lives lost throughout the last year by the coronavirus.
Our Lady of the Snows and other churches that are part of the Abington Ecumenical Ministerium rang bells to comfort those coping with loss, letting them know they are not alone.
"I think this day just brings us a sense of community, a sense of togetherness, knowing that not only this church but many churches and other communities are celebrating this very same way," said Kathleen Wood of Dalton.
"It's just nice of them to think about that and keep in mind at all times because you never know when it might happen to you," said Ken Kostelnik of Dalton.
The Kostelnik family knows firsthand what the virus can do. In June, the family lost their mother, Faye, to COVID-19 at the age of 73.
"My hope for 2021 is that other families don't have to go through the same thing that we did," Wood said. "My hope is that we have a future in these vaccines that are coming out and the scientist that are bringing them to us and just to ask everyone if you have the opportunity to get vaccinated."
Members of the church read a prayer to remember the more than 500,000 people who died from the virus.
Members of the church say it's important for everyone to remain diligent.
"No matter how tired we are of restrictions or mandates or whatever rules are coming up next. We have to remember that the reason these things have been put in place is that we're trying desperately to save lives," said Beth Kostelnik, a member of Waverly United Methodist Church.