Southington church hosts traveling memorial for victims of gun violence

reporter photo

SOUTHINGTON — St. Paul's Episcopal Church is hosting the traveling “Memorial of the Lost” – a tribute to victims of gun violence.

Approximately 50 T-shirts are displayed on the front lawn of the church, each representing a person killed by gun violence this year in the state. 

The memorial arrived at the church, located at 145 Main St., Tuesday and will remain until July 25, said the Rev. Helena Martin.

It was created earlier this year at Camp Washington, an Episcopal camp and retreat center in the western part of the state. Each shirt has the name of gun violence victim, along with their age and date of death. 

The shirts represent “the space” the people who died would have occupied, said Camp Washington director Cameron Taylor. Creating the shirts, with information from, had a big impact on the youth involved. 

“Some of (the victims) are their age,” Taylor said. “Some of them remember what they were doing that day that someone else lost their life.”

Martin said a St. Paul’s parishioner, who is on the Camp Washington board, suggested the church host the memorial because it fits with St. Paul’s mission to bring awareness to gun violence. 

During Sunday services while the memorial is at the church, the congregation will gather outside as the names of all the victims are read. Prayers will also be said for the victims. Martin said while prayer is powerful, it does not replace action.

“One of the things we do together is pray so that we can go out and be who God wants us to be,” Martin said. “...gun violence is a public health crisis right now and we need to treat it that way. It’s a problem that matters to the church and matters to God.”

As she looked at photos of the victims on, Martin thought about the fact they left behind parents, siblings, children and friends and were “absolutely loved by God.” Martin also noticed many were men of color. 

Martin feels that these kinds of displays are important because residents of Southington, which is predominantly white, can feel removed from the tragedies that led to the deaths.  

“It’s all the more reason to display (the memorial) in Southington,” Martin said. 

lsellew@record-journal.com203-317-2225Twitter: @LaurenSellewRJ


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