Community Holds Vigil In Response To Orlando Shooting
By IAN AUSTIN • for www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – Before the candles were lit, and the names of the dead were read aloud in Muller Plaza, Rev. Craig Schwalenberg opened his sanctuary at the Unitarian Universalist Church to anyone who wanted to talk about the Sunday shooting at the Pulse night club in Orlando, Fla.
“I was raised to be homophobic” Schwalenberg tearfully admitted during his turn to speak. “I am deeply ashamed about some of the things I have said and done. But it was through meeting and working with gay people that convinced me to see the error of my ways.
“And now many of these people are my friends and colleagues,” he continued. “After I started ministry my own mother came out. I have stood at this pulpit and lit candles for the dead. I have read aloud the names of those killed. I don’t now how much more I have. I am running out of words, I am running out of tears. I am deeply gratified that I live in a community willing to stand with those who have been terrorized and victimized.”
Those in attendance then walked down to join the growing crowd in Muller Plaza, who had gathered for the candlelight vigil where spiritual and community leaders shared messages of strength, hope and love.