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  • Cool Spring Downtown District Partners with Fayetteville Area Communities of Faith to Ring Bells for Covid-19 Victims

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    February 19, 2021
    Cool Spring Downtown District Partners with Fayetteville Area Communities of
    Faith to Ring Bells for Covid-19 Victims

    Fayetteville, NC – On Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 11:00 AM, inter-denominational and cross-faith religious communities in Fayetteville will join together to ring their bells five hundred times in memorial of the 500,000 American lives lost due to the Covid-19 virus. According to the New York Times online reporting tool, as of February 17, the number of cases resulting in loss of life for the nation due to the Covid-19 virus was 490,000, a rapid ascent from January 18, when the nation surpassed 400,000 deaths. In North Carolina alone, as of February 17, there were a reported 831k Covid-19 cases, with an estimated 10,611 related deaths, 252 of those in Cumberland County.
    Though the recent rollout of a vaccine offers hope of a light at the end of the tunnel, the grim reality is that nearly half a billion American lives have been lost during this pandemic. As Pastor David Blackman of Hay Street United Methodist Church shared, “We look at the numbers – the statistics – and understand them in an abstract way, but these are real lives and real families that have been impacted. The number may seem surreal, but the grief is quite real.”
    To acknowledge that grief, as well as offer a moment of hope, Cool Spring Downtown District Chief Executive Officer Bianca Shoneman felt called to follow the example of other cities across the nation and invite the numerous communities of faith in the Fayetteville area to participate in a heartfelt memorial effort.
    “Back in January churches across the country, from Philadelphia to Seattle, rang their bells 400 times to honor the 400,000 lives lost to Covid-19. It was a tragic milestone, Shoneman the tolling of the bells offered a somber yet poignant way to pause and honor the lives of lost loved ones in a moment of collective grief that felt quite unifying.”
    Reverend Robert James, of First Baptist Church at 201 Anderson Street, agrees with Shoneman’s sentiments. “The virus is not choosing any one group over the other – this is a battle that the entire human family is facing. Communities of faith are poised to be harbingers of hope for the world, and we need it now more than ever.”
    Pastor Fredrick Culbreth, of First Baptist Church at 302 Moore Street, expressed the need to acknowledge the significant loss of life during a pandemic that has impacted nearly every facet of normal life. “When there are mass casualties of war, such as during World War II, bells ring out. This battle that we are in deserves the same honor and reflection,” Culbreth declared.
    All churches and places of worship are invited to participate in this memorial effort. In fact, Pastor Blackman encourages any institution that has a bell, including non-religious entities, to join in this memorial: “This is not meant to be an effort driven solely by churches of the Christian faith. I am not sure if our local temples or mosques have bells to ring; if so, I urge everyone to unite on Wednesday. Firehouses, the police department – anyone with a bell is welcome to participate.” If your church or institution wishes to participate, please click the following link: https://forms.gle/Gj9TRVt3ithXJqdBA
    The Cool Spring Downtown District, Inc. is a charitable, nonprofit corporation formed in 2017 to create and sustain an arts and entertainment district located in downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina, as a vibrant center of artistic, cultural, civic, and commercial activity. Learn more at VisitDowntownFayetteville.com.
    For all media inquiries and more information, contact Chief Executive Officer Bianca Shoneman at bianca@coolspringfay.org or (910) 223-1089.

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    Bianca Shoneman, CEO/President
    bianca@coolspringfay.org, 910-223-1089