Clergy Gather in Harwich Port to Remember Nightclub Massacre Victims

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HARWICH PORT – More love. Less hate.

That was the clear message Monday night at a vigil hosted by the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Harwich Port to remember those impacted by the Orlando nightclub massacre.

More than 150 people joined with clergy from across Harwich to pray for the victims and call for an end to the violence.

Despite the shooting at the Pulse nightclub that left 49 dead and dozens injured, those who gathered inside the church said they would not be complacent.

IMG_2552Instead, they would stand up against the hatred perpetrated by the 29-year-old gunman, Omar Mateen.

“I wish that none of us had a reason to be here tonight. I wish we could all be home doing unremarkable and mundane things tonight,” said Rev. Peggy O’Connor of the Pilgrim Congregational Church.

O’Connor said the Orlando attack was the 47th mass shooting in the United States over the past 32 years. She said it was shocking how many of those shootings have taken place in ordinary places such as movie theaters, schools, walkways and now a dance club.

“We are all victims. Every person in this nation is a victim of these kinds of violent shootings,” O’Connor said.

Rev. Marie David of St. Mary of Magdala said that when tragedies like the one in Florida happen, many people may ask ‘Where is God.’

“God is in the first responders. God weeps along with those who have lost. God is guiding and helping surgeons and doctors and nurses, all of whom are caring for those who have survived. God is embracing those who are left behind,” said Magdala.

IMG_2556Rev. Judith Davis from the Christ Church Episcopal urged people to hold their children close and pray to God to take away the disease of hate.

Pilgrim Congregational Church Rev. Susan Cartmell said a refuge and safe haven for the gay community had been violated in the deadly massacre.

“We give you thanks for first responders, those who run towards gunfire rather than away. Those who drop everything to save the wounded and to comfort survivors. We pray this night for doctors and nurses and mental health providers who repair what has been broken,” prayed Rev. Tiffany Nicely Holleck from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.

Following the service, a candlelight vigil was held outside the church where people sang ‘Let There be Peace on Earth’ and ‘God Bless America.”

Additional vigils were planned for Wednesday in Sandwich and Falmouth.

By MATT PITTA, News Director

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