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DETROIT – A candlelight vigil will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 30, at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit in solidarity with a community near Knoxville, Tenn. that was violently attacked in an apparent anti-gay shooting Sunday. The gunman opened fire during a youth service at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in part, police said, because he opposed the church’s gay-friendly stance. FBI officials are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
The vigil will be held at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit (4605 Cass Avenue at Forest in Detroit). It will begin at 7 p.m. and include prayers, mediations and readings by church and community leaders. The public is invited to attend.
Linda Kraeger, 61, and Greg McKendry, 60, were killed and at least eight others were seriously wounded in the shooting. Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen told members of the press Monday that the gunman, Jim Adkisson, left behind a four-page note expressing “hatred” towards “gays and liberals.”
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion with Jewish-Christian roots and a long history of supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm the worth of all human beings, advocate freedom of belief and the search for advancing truth, and strive to provide a warm and open community for people who believe that ethical living is the supreme witness of religion.
“Sudden acts of violence often remind us of other violence we have witnessed and experienced, and it can be useful to be with others who are shocked and saddened for a time of togetherness,” said Senior Minister Drew Johnston.
“Our institution has always attempted to be a force for peace and justice. When we suffer setbacks, we also strive to be a source of comfort.”
For additional information on the candlelight vigil, contact Rev. Drew Johnston or Rev. Athena Kolbe at the above numbers.