Homicide victims and unclaimed dead honored by Episcopal churches

Episcopal churches in Louisville and Detroit step in to meet needs for liturgies of mourning and remembrance.

The Louisville Courier-Journal KY, features Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral’s service of remembrance for homicide victims and those loved them:

Lighting candles, singing plaintive hymns and offering prayers for peace and choked-up remembrances of the slain, scores of people gathered Sunday afternoon in Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral in Louisville to recall the city’s 62 victims of homicide in 2010….

The service — the first of what organizers hope is an annual event — was co-sponsored by the cathedral and the group Interfaith Paths to Peace.

The service was inspired in part by similar services that Bishop Terry White of the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky had helped organize when he was pastor of the cathedral in Kansas City, Mo.

White said that a 2006 memorial on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks had inspired church members to become more aware of homicides taking place around them.

The Detroit News reports on St. Christopher-St. Paul Episcopal Church whose ministry is to the unclaimed dead of that city.

Nearly three years ago Paul Betts, of Detroit, was on the freeway when he heard a radio story about the difficulty Detroit was having paying to bury bodies left at the morgue either because they had no kin or their families couldn’t afford burial. He realized that if people couldn’t afford a burial, they probably couldn’t afford a funeral or memorial service either.

So now on the third Wednesday of each month, a small group from St. Christopher-St. Paul Episcopal Church gather with some Perry’s employees to light some candles and say a prayer. It’s approaching three years now and they’ve memorialized about 1,400 people.

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