Maine Conference holds vigil to pray for those affected by gun violence
The Maine Conference of the United Church of Christ held an online vigil Thursday, Nov. 2 to pray for the healing of those affected by the recent gun violence in Lewiston, Maine. UCC General Minister and President, the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, joined to offer words of comfort.
This followed a statement and prayer from Thompson, and a call to end gun violence, shortly after the tragedy unfolded.
Comfort in wake of tragedy
Led by Maine Conference Minister the Rev. Marisa Laviola, the evening vigil started with music and candles were lit by participants. Thompson began by reading from her poem entitled “unshed”:
healing is coming, they say from the heart break from the pain of loss I will remember you beyond the unshed tears.
She also reminded everyone to hold each other close, and comfort each other in the wake of the tragedy.
The names of those who lost their lives in the October shooting were spoken and remembered. Thompson also asked those gathered to be advocates for change in gun laws in our country so that others don’t find themselves in this place of grief.
Remembering lives lost
Posted on the Maine Conference Facebook page is a list of those who lost their lives:
“The waiting is over. Physical safety has returned to Maine, as the shooter is no more. A collective sigh of relief is heard rustling over the leaves of the forests; across the waters of lakes, rivers, and streams — all the way to the ocean; in towns and cities, especially in Lewiston. And now we mourn, we grieve, we beat our breasts and cry out to our God. We lament and hold one another close. We pray deeper than we have ever prayed and hold one another even closer.
“And we remember: Tricia C. Asselin, 53; Peyton Brewer-Ross, 40; William Frank Brackett, 48; Thomas Ryan Conrad, 34; Michael R. Deslauriers II, 51; Maxx A. Hathaway, 35; Bryan M. MacFarlane, 41; Keith D. Macneir, 64; Ronald G. Morin, 55; Joshua A. Seal, 36; Arthur Fred Strout, 42; Stephen M. Vozzella, 45; Lucille M. Violette, 73; Robert E. Violette, 76; Joseph Lawrence Walker, 57; Jason Adam Walker, 51; William A. Young, 44; and Aaron Young, 14.”
A message from neighbors
During the vigil, Laviola also shared a letter from three regional councils of the United Church of Canada across the border from Maine, which is also posted on the Conference Facebook page. Condolences were expressed by the UCC’s neighbors and partners. Laviola then shared a prayer to calm the hearts of those gathered in the virtual space.
There were some readings from Scripture, and Thompson reminded those gathered of the words of the Apostle Paul: “The spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. Deep sighs, deep breaths, a love that sighs and breathes in and through us,” she added. “Every breath we take, a gift of grace.”
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