Friends, families of bus crash victims pray together to heal pain

Heads bowed, eyes closed, hands clasped; they prayed for their devastated neighbours, opening with Psalm 23.

Six lives lost.

No one to blame.

As the community struggles to make sense of unthinkable tragedy, roughly 200 people, many with tears in their eyes, filed into the Cedarview Alliance Church in Barrhaven Sunday evening for a memorial service filled with song and moments of silence for each victim.

“This is an accident with accidental deaths,” said Pastor Robin Pifer.

“There was no one out to hurt anybody or harm anyone.”

A packed OC Transpo bus slammed into a Via train at Fallowfield station on Sept. 18. around 9 a.m.

The scene was catastrophic, injuring dozens and killing Michael Bleakney, Connor Boyd, Karen Krzyzewski, Rob More, Kyle Nash, and David Woodard.

A memorial continues growing at the train tracks.

Woodard’s widow Terry supported by family and friends gathered Sunday and placed a memorial cross at the site of the crash.

Mourners too know there’s a need for forgiveness and healing.

A handful of Barrhaven churches organized Sunday’s event.

Families of victims and passengers who survived the crash belong to their congregations.

“We wanted to help people understand that this is not a perfect world that we live in and accidents happen,” said Pifer.

Family members of each of the six victims attended the service.

Working through the cycle of grief is critical “so that you can get to that place where you have hope and you can move on,” said Sequoia Community Church Pastor Ryan Dawson.

Tears will flow again 15 hours later, when the church again fills with mourners.

The first funeral will be held for Boyd, a Carleton University student, on Monday at 11 a.m.

“Naturally, their hearts are wrecked and their lives have radically altered,” said Capt. Chris Rideout, co-pastor at the Salvation Army.

The Boyd family is receiving financial and emotional support, with members also dropping by with food.

“It’ll be a continuation all the way through,” said Rideout.

Cedarview will again host Nash’s funeral on Thursday, also at 11 a.m.

Transportation Safety Board officials continue their probe into the crash, focusing now on the bus.

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