This week, members of The Seattle School community gathered in our chapel to sit together in prayer and lament for the victims of last weekend’s shooting in Orlando, and for all of those who are reeling in rage and fear in the wake of a place of safety and refuge being terrorized. Below is a copy of the liturgy that we shared. May this prayer offer solace, communion, strength, and an invitation out of silence.
In the early morning hours this past Sunday, a gunman entered the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando killing 49 people and wounding 53 others. This was an act of violence targeting a gay nightclub that served as a refuge for the LGBTQ community in Orlando and its surrounding area. It must also be spoken that many of the victims were people of color, Black and Latinx individuals who came to Pulse because of Latin Night, one of the few places, if not the only place, where they could gather with friends, revel, and simply be more fully themselves. We gather as a community to stand in solidarity with those who grieve, with those who mourn, and with those who are impacted by the recent events here in our community.
We mourn the 49 lives that were lost to an act of violence perpetrated by one man.
We grieve with the families, both biological and chosen, who have lost loved ones.
We grieve with the city of Orlando where the violence and fear took place.
We grieve with a nation who is reminded, yet again, of how it has enabled another person’s fear and hate to result in death.
We stand with the victims and their families.
We stand with their community and our community.
We stand to bear their burden in Jesus’ name.
We resist narratives that too narrowly define people, communities, identities, and religions.
We resist narratives that externalize and divide, breeding Islamophobia and xenophobia.
We resist our numbness to another act of gun violence.
We resist our denial of a system of injustice and a climate of fear and bigotry and hate toward the LGBTQ community.
We pray for the victims and their families.
We pray for their community and our community.
We pray in the name of the Spirit to be near.
We confess our silence as people who are too often silent in the face of bias, bigotry, and injustice.
We confess our silence as people who often choose not to speak against theologies and politics that marginalize, divide, and oppress.
We confess that in our silence, systems of injustice and inequity continue.
We confess our silence.
We cry out for those who were lost.
We cry out for their families.
We cry out for their community and our own.
We cry out for justice and peace to come.
We declare together, oh Lord
With hearts breaking, eyes weeping, and souls stirring.
We will continue to stand and cry and weep with our brothers and sisters.
We will continue to make a place of peace for even our enemies at our table.
We will continue to open our doors and our hearts to those who enter them.
We will continue to seek to forgive as we have been forgiven.
We will continue to love in Jesus’ name, because you taught us that love conquers all.
We declare our love for you, our Sisters.
We declare our love for you, our Brothers.
We declare our love for you, our Siblings.
We declare our love for you, their families.
We declare our love as one body, one Lord, one faith.
We declare they do not grieve alone today.
Often events such as this impact us deeply. Our silence is a response to our disorientation. Silence houses our fears, anger, grief, and rage. Our silence creates space to simply be present with experiences. Silence must eventually be broken. Often we break our silence first with prayer, asking the Spirit to come. Prayers give us words that link experiences to impact and to meaning, which can and need to be taken into the world.
We invite you to join us in this space as we remember and speak aloud the names of those we have lost:
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old
The above liturgy was written and compiled by Richard Kim with input from Emily McBroom, and was inspired by and adapted from this liturgy by Leroy Barber, which was written in the wake of last year’s shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.