We’re thankful so many supporters and friends joined us on the Solstice for our candlelight vigil and ritual. We were blessed by the faith community’s embrace, with participation by Rev. Rick Reynolds of Operation Nightwatch, Patrick Barredo of St. James Cathedral, Father Jeff Gill of Trinity Episcopal, Pastor Kelle Brown of Plymouth Church, Rev. Pat Simpson of U Temple UMC, Rev. Marilyn Cornwell, and Michael Ramos, Executive Director of the Church Council of Greater Seattle. We’re beyond grateful for the partnership and compassionate leadership of King County’s Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Richard Harruff. Our friend Carl was called to create a banner for the vigil, with a carefully handwritten list of the names and ages of all of our homeless brothers and sisters who’ve died outside of shelter or by violence this year. What a powerful witness! Even in the holiday chaos of Westlake Park, many people stopped to read those names, one by one. One man learned on-the-spot that his friend had died while homeless earlier this year. He was devastated, but members of our community were able to hold our arms around him in his grief, light a candle with him, and say a few words of comfort. This was our closing message at the Tree of Life, and is our affirmation and wish for the New Year: “We are one community. All kinds of people, all kinds of circumstances—we share the turning seasons, the sorrow of the dying. May we seek peace for those who have died, and for those who continue to live without a home to call their own. May we also be blessed with hope, so that in the growing light of the days to come we will have strength to build a kinder world together.”

 

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