Worship & Celebrations
Welcome to those Gathered
Day of Remembrance for Those Lost to Gun Violence
December 14, 2013
On behalf of the clergy team and the congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Cherry Hill I welcome you this morning. May our religious home provide each of you shelter and peace as we gather this day to honor lives lost to gun violence. With deep sadness I am reminded that as we gather to honor the 26 lives lost in one school shooting a year ago, we must also remember the many others who are lost daily to gun violence. Yesterday, we were again told of more lives lost in yet another school shooting.
Ministering to those who have been impacted by gun violence has been a reality for me since I began to serve my first congregation in Kent Ohio. Many know Kent because of the shooting of students which occurred on the campus in 1970. When I arrived in that community 22 years later I was unprepared for the depth of the emotional trauma and scarring that had been inflicted on that community and that still remained as a constant reminder of the deaths that had occurred in their town.
While in Kent I heard of the first school shooting in Scotland. That shooting was in the small town of Dunblane. During college I had spent a year at a University in Scotland and had a host family that I spent time with each week in the small town of Dunblane . My host family and I attended church each Sunday down the street from that elementary school, the school my host brother had attended. I had never thought anyone would ever hear of my little Scottish world and yet here I was half a world away listening to the news of a shooting in my home away from home. The shooting in Dunblane took the lives of 16 Kindergarten students and their teacher.
My second ministry took me to Connecticut where my husband worked just a short distance from the Newtown School where the 26 people lost their lives exactly one year ago. I am tired of hearing these stories of people losing their lives to gun violence. I am sad that one life has ever been lost to gun violence and yet time and again, day after day we each hear tell of additional lives sacrificed to guns.
I hope our gathering today and gatherings like it will speak loudly to our lawmakers, telling them that we are tired of sacrificing human lives every day. I hope our voices will be joined by thousands of other voices, voices loud enough to change the votes of our politicians and take guns off the market.
Thank you each and every one of you for being here today to show your outrage at the lives lost to gun violence in Newtown and every where else.