CLYMER The overcast weather matched the mood Wednesday evening, as a community came together to pray following the murder of Clymer superintendent Keith Reed Jr.
Hundreds of Reed's colleagues, students and community members gathered at Clymer United Methodist Church for a candlelight ceremony.
"We originally were having the open house for Clymer Central School this evening, and our pastor had thought it would be a good idea to have the prayer service in lieu of the event being canceled," said Chassity Neckers, communications coordinator for the Clymer United Methodist Church.
Friends, family and co-workers enter Clymer United Methodist Church Wednesday evening to attend a candlelight vigil for Clymer superintendent Keith Reed Jr.
P-J photos by Liz Skoczylas
During the service, pastors Carolyn Stowe, Erin Beckerink, Tim Phelps and Roy Miller led the mourners through several readings and prayers. Cassandra Treacle sang "Amazing Grace" and "Precious Lord, Take My Hand." Additionally, several community members spoke of their memories of Reed.
"Today is not a memorial service. There will not be a sermon or a eulogy. This is a prayer service. This is an opportunity to hear from God and to be heard by God, to lift one another up and to be lifted up by the Holy Spirit," Stow said. "What I'm really seeking is that the community has an opportunity to hear from God, to bring God into this tragic situation."
Aside from praying for Reed, the community prayed for the faculty and staff of Clymer Central School, as well as the students. Beckerink encouraged the staff to stand, and thanked them for doing their best to stay strong and to be courageous during the tough time.
"God, please help those that are standing right now, for they are suffering a huge loss," Beckerink said. "They're losing a friend, a dad, a brother, someone they could turn to, someone who puts a smile on their face."
COMMUNITY IN MOURNING
As the people in Clymer came together to share memories of Reed, it became evident how much he will be missed.
"I think it's definitely a sad, sad loss. We can ask ourselves why a million times and never know. He was a great man and he did very wonderful things. He left a great legacy here," Neckers said.
Cathy Stornes spent three years as an assistant principal at Clymer Central School. Although she only met Reed a couple times, she said he was a great person.
"I realized the impact that this has on the community. So, I came to support the fellow teachers, the students and the community in general," Stornes said. "In this community, the students and the staff, everybody will be affected by this. I think (it's best) just to be there for them, to support them, and just try to help however you can."
Because Clymer has a population of less than 2,000, Neckers said she and her family have heard many comments at Neckers Company General Store.
"We've heard various things. We've definitely heard very positive things from Keith being such a wonderful person," Neckers said. "A lot of the things (we have heard) is, 'how could you?' and 'why could you?' He was a wonderful person, everyone around here just really loved him."
There will be a funeral for Reed at United Congregational Methodist Church in Salamanca on Friday. Additionally, there will be a memorial service at 7 p.m. Oct. 1 at Clymer Central School.