Thursday, October 21, 2010

Another reflection on the candlelight vigil at the Rotunda

I heard a number of reflections yesterday about the candlelight vigil Wednesday evening on the steps of the Rotunda at the University of Virginia.

We gathered to remember young people who recently took their own lives because they had been bullied for being gay or appearing to be gay.

We came under the name "ACCEPT" -- standing for "All Charlottesville Caring for Every Person Together."

The vigil got modest news coverage, tucked onto the bottom corner of the front page of the local Daily Progress.

The local television stations covered the vigil, and that was a measure of progress.

The most moving reflection I heard came from Associate Rector Ann Willms, and I share this with you with her permission:
Last night at the ACCEPT vigil, standing on the steps of the Rotunda with students who spoke, and other clergy members from the community, I looked out over the crowd holding lit candles. My twin middle school aged daughters were standing at the front. As we heard about the lives of young people which ended in suicide, the terrible suffering of those who were the target of bullying because of who they were (perfect in the eyes of God but scandalous in the eyes of mortals) – I could not help thinking that we were standing at the foot of the cross, like the women at Calvary. Jim asked me whether the candles we had donated were our Easter Vigil candle supply – I nodded yes, then realized just how appropriate it was. We were gathered at the foot of the cross, waiting and watching and hoping against hope for the dawn of the resurrection.
Photo by the Rev. Peter Carey.


Peter Carey+ said...


Janice Dean said...

I was also going to comment, "Beautiful!" I'm so glad we provided candles. Thanks, Ann & Jim! I brought some Integrity/Charlottesville stickers and passed them out to the St. Paul's folks near me in the crowd. One person asked me about Integrity and then expressed interest in coming back to St. Paul's (she had gone a few times years ago). I am SO glad to have such amazing clergy at St. Paul's, all four of whom showed up at the vigil and, thereby, helped show that there *are* safe churches in our community where LGBTQ people and their allies can come and not only be accepted but be loved for the whole human beings they are! I am so grateful to you, Jim, and Ann and Heather and Nik for coming to the vigil!

The Rev. James Richardson said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Janice, and thanks for being there. Also attending were three former associate rectors of St. Paul's -- Janet Legro, Paula Kettlewell and Neal Halvorson-Taylor.