A group of Island clergy gathered Thursday morning in Owen Park, to march and stand in vigil on the fifth anniversary of the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

Twenty children and six school employees died in the shooting at the hands of a 20-year-old man who lived near the school.

As the clergy organized to march down a snowy Main street in Vineyard Haven, the Rev. Bill Clark of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Martha’s Vineyard said the vigil was part of a nationwide effort by religious leaders.

Remembering the students and teachers. — Alison L. Mead

“We’re standing in solidarity,” Reverend Clark said. “We never forget what happened in Newtown. I’m here because enough is enough.”

Many of the clergy, including community Rabbi Lori Shaller, called for common sense gun laws.

“I’m really aware that we are at a crossroads about the personal right to bear arms,” Rabbi Shaller said. “I don’t want to see people die because of other people’s mistakes. I would like to see a society that helps those who are desperate.”

The group marched silently carrying signs with scripture verses through town to Five Corners, where about 20 other people joined the vigil. The clergy solemnly read the names of the teachers and the children who died on the morning of Dec. 14, 2012. After each group of names was read, the clergy offered a personal prayer.

“They were taken away,” said the Rev. Vincent G. (Chip) Seadale of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. “Their cherished teachers loved and protected them to the end.”

Father Seadale called for continued vigilance in the face of the Sandy Hook tragedy.

“Is it possible to try, and fail, and try again and never, ever, give up?” he asked. “Is there a chance for peace? Yes, I say. The darkness can never overcome the light.”

Among the names read at the vigil was Grace Audrey McDonnell, a seven-year-old who died in the mass shooting. Grace and her family have long ties to the Vineyard, a place she loved. Her name is engraved on one of the cobblestones at the Edgartown Lighthouse children’s memorial.