About 30 people gathered near Lacey Thursday afternoon to bring peace to a place that was the site of tragedy this month.
The location was outside the home of Christina Belcher and her husband, David, both of whom died last Friday in a domestic violence homicide-suicide. Christina was a well-known administrator at St. Mike’s Tikes, a preschool in Olympia.
“We bring hope to this place where violence was committed,” said Selena Kilmoyer on Thursday, as she led the gathering, which was organized by Interfaith Works, the multifaith organization that has held “moments of blessing” after acts of violence in Thurston County since 2005.
The moments of blessing bring peace to places of violence and healing to places of despair, Kilmoyer said.
After some introductory comments, the sounding of a chime, and a prayer read aloud by those in attendance, Kilmoyer invited others to speak.
Valarie Ripley recalled how St. Mike’s Tikes and Christina helped her with her special needs son.
Ripley said that during a monthlong hospitalization, Christina helped take care of the child. Ripley’s husband also was assaulted a few years ago and Christina rallied the St. Mike’s Tikes community to help.
“For me, it has been a week of shock,” Ripley said. “And it didn’t hit me until yesterday that she is gone.”
Neighbor Ben Tesoro said he had come to know Christina because they each walked their dogs every morning.
“I came to see her every morning for about 18 months,” he said, adding that they always had a short conversation.
“That is something I will miss,” Tesoro said.
He later added about the ceremony: “I needed this.”
Before the ceremony began, Joanne Snarski, whose son attended St. Mike’s Tikes, said Christina was a “spot of sunshine every morning.”
“She had such a positive attitude that it made me feel good about leaving my son there,” she said.
St. Mike’s Tikes is a program of Catholic Community Services. Christina had worked for CCS for nearly 13 years, said Denny Hunthausen, an agency director, in an email shared with The Olympian.
“She was a staunch advocate for many developmentally delayed adults employed at the center over the years, serving as their supervisor, mentor and champion,” he said.
The Belchers are survived by a 24-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter.