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Newman Congregational Church starts COVID-19 Memorial

Ribbons will be placed on its front lawn

Photos by Rich Dionne
Posted 6/1/20

EAST PROVIDENCE — Inspired by The New York Times’ May 24 front page listing of the names of 1,000 people who have died due to COVID-19, Newman UCC presents a local opportunity to remember …

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Please support local news coverage –

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Newman Congregational Church starts COVID-19 Memorial

Ribbons will be placed on its front lawn

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — Inspired by The New York Times’ May 24 front page listing of the names of 1,000 people who have died due to COVID-19, Newman UCC presents a local opportunity to remember our Rhode Island neighbors.

Newman UCC has created a memorial on its front lawn to honor our Rhode Island neighbors who have died. Individual ribbons have been placed on the church’s fence line, each signifying a life lost. As the numbers change daily, additional ribbons are added.

Newman UCC now invites the community to assist with the installation. If you have lost a friend or a loved one to COVID-19, you are invited to stop by the church and write their name on a ribbon. Park in the church’s parking lot and walk to the Memorial where you will find over 600 ribbons currently and a bench for quiet reflection.

“The memorial is an attempt to honor those who have died in Rhode Island, visibly representing that they are more than just a number... they are our neighbors, our family, our friends,” said Reverend Timoth Sylvia, Newman UCC pastor. “We chose to invite the community to assist in co-creating the memorial as a way of personalizing it.”

In a statement announcing the project, the church said it hopes the community can come together to name those loved ones lost, remembering that they are more than part of a daily statistic. They deserve to be remembered for who they were as people and what they meant to those they left behind.

“As the news comes of additional deaths from COVID-19, locally and nationwide, we want people to know that we see them and that we acknowledge the deep grief they are experiencing,” Rev. Sylvia added. “And we don't want their experiences to be lost in the shuffle of numbers as the days go by.”

Newman Congregational Church is located at 100 Newman Ave., Rumford. For more information contact Rev. Sylvia at 401-434-4742. ext. 11. Unable to get to the church? Call Pastor Sylvia and a volunteer will write the name for you.

East Providence Post and eastbayri.com staff photographer Rich Dionne shot the accompanying gallery of photos.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.