WARETOWN, NJ - Bells will ring across the United States today at 5:30 pm today as communities join together for the National Moment of Unity and Remembrance. Waretown United Methodist Church has extended an invitation to Southern Ocean County residents of all denominations to join in honoring lives lost to COVID-19.

“I learned about the nation coming together for this from our church's music director,” shared Pastor Dawn Corlew. "I believe this is a wonderful time to offer a prayer and light a candle - to be mindful of what's been happening around us, and globally.”

The Presidential Inauguration Committee started the initiative with what it says is the “first-ever lighting around the Reflecting Pool to memorialize American lives lost."  The event is also scheduled for 5:30 pm. Communities around the country are expected to illuminate buildings and ring church bells as 5:30 hits their area.  

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According to Corlew, she considers bells as a very powerful reminder of God's presence and peace with us. The Waretown United Methodist Church decided to play clarion bells for a half hour every day when the pandemic began to gain local attention last March. 

“I think we need prayer in all areas right now,” Corlew said. "We need during this transition of power, for our incoming president, and for our outgoing president."

“We need prayer for those financially impacted as a result of the virus,” continued Corlew. “We need prayer for those who have lost their lives to COVID-19.”

The Waretown United Methodist Church distributed candles at Christmastime to remind the congregation of God's presence and light in the world. Corlew believes in the message of unity and remembrance and hopes people will join together at 5:30 pm to light a candle in the own homes. Of course, they should do so with safety in mind - even an electronic version suffices to share the message.