Vigils for Orlando Victims Held Across the Region

By Joan Van Becelaere

Central East Region UUA Logo

By now, we all know the story of Orlando – it is the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history, the deadliest incident of violence against LGBTQ people in the history of the U.S., and the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. since 9/11 in 2001.

It is overwhelming in so many ways. And so many members of our Unitarian Universalist congregations were directly and indirectly impacted by this horrific event. There is now and will be grieving and trauma counseling work needed for years to come.

Our Central East congregations responded immediately and meaningfully, providing sacred space for deep grief work along with tender vigils of solidarity and memorial rituals that help people come to an emotional and spiritual understanding of how this event has impacted all of us.

And the work of our congregations is also enabling people to stand up for the creation of Beloved Community and organize in new ways to prevent future gun violence.

There are stories of congregational action from throughout our Central East region.

Some of these stories been told in newspapers, television stories and websites. And we have links to some of these stories listed below. These are now our collective stories.

And some of these stories are only known among the members of the congregations who participated. But they will be remembered for generations in those churches.

All of these stories are important. All of these stories are now part of our lives as we work to shape the future of our world, creating the Beloved Community, here in the Central East and far beyond.

Rev. Joan Van Becelaere, Regional Lead

From Oneonta, NY:

From Buffalo, NY:

Plattsburgh, NY

Binghamton, NY

Canton, NY

Sterling, VA:

Northumberland, PA:

State College, PA:

Columbus, OH

Youngstown, OH

Cherry Hill, NJ

Newark, DE

West Hartford, CT

If your congregation needs assistance in helping those who are trying to work through their grief over this trauma, please see the UUA website for resources.

About the Author

Joan Van Becelaere

Rev. Joan Van Becelaere is the Executive Director of UU Justice Ohio. She served as a Congregational Life Consultant for the Central East Region from 2007-2018. Previously, Rev. Van Becelaere was Vice President for Student Services at Iliff Theological School in Denver, CO where she also taught...

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