"Heavenly hosts" remember victims of gun violence in Lynn

St. Stephen’s Church in Lynn is hosting an installation of “The Way of Salvation,” stations of the Heavenly hosts Jason Cruz cross created by deacon Gay Cox. The last element is a sanctuary display of “heavenly hosts.” Congregation members were invited to create them, placing colorful shiny paper on one side of CD-sized Styrofoam circles and attaching photos or writing names of victims of gun or other violence, or others they wished to honor, on the other side.

“We had lots of glitter glue, regular glitter, jewels, ribbons--just whatever they wanted to put on their disc to honor someone,” Gould said. One couple decorated a disc in honor of their son, who died while serving in the military; the day of the activity was the anniversary of his death.

The hanging “hosts” will be veiled during Holy Week. “Then they will emerge in all their radiance for the [Easter] Vigil,” Gould said.

Gun violence is not an abstract concern in Lynn. “We’re in a small city with a significant gang presence,” Gould said. Lynn was among eight communities to receive state funding as part of a Safe and Successful Youth Initiative attempting to “stop the bloodletting in the cities,” she said. “Luckily, we don’t have as many deaths by gun violence.”

Excerpted from "Churches keep up the pressure to reduce gun violence" by Sharon Sheridan.  Read the full story at Episcopal News Service, here.