This was the sixth vigil held at the First Unitarian Church of Providence since the terrible events of December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School where 20 children, aged six and seven years, along with six adults, were fatally shot. That event was a wake up call for a United States plagued with guns and gun violence, even as such tragedies continue at other schools, at concerts, in nightclubs, in churches and in synagogues.

“We have entered now an intensely faithful season,” said Reverend Liz Lerner Maclay, Minister at First Unitarian. “Advent and Hanukah and Christmas and Kwanzaa, where people think, even more than usual, about how the world is and how the world, which is we, should be and what it really means to yearn for the coming of hope and light again, and the promise of new light and transformation and a new day.”

The names of those killed that day were read, and a candle was lit for each of them.

Kristi Martel sings “Ella’s Song.”

Linda Finn, executive director of the Rhode Island Colalition Against Gun Violence (RICAGV) spoke:

Jim Vincent, executive director of the NAACP Providence Spoke:

Scott Lapham, director of the One Gun Gone Project, gave an art performance in which a wax gun was melted down and transformed into a candle. Lapham was accompanied by his students, including Raul Velasquez, Edwin Pastor, Brandon Morales, Joseph Rocha and Ashley Rodriguez.

Reverend Maclay was joined by Reverend Jamie Washam from the First Baptist Church of Providence and artist Howie Sneider to present the Garden Spade and Root Shovel made from the firearms acquired last spring as part of the Guns to Plowshares program. The Reverends consecrated the tools “to the fulfillment of their new purpose.”

See: Religious leaders bring ‘guns to plowshares’ to the State House

Liz Lerner Maclay
Seth Magaziner
Cathy Segal
Kristi Martel
Linda Finn
Scott Lapham
Jamie Washam

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Sheila Resseger
Sheila Resseger

Great reporting, Steve, about a poignant, incredibly sad, but inspiring commemoration.