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Cathedral of the Incarnation hosts memorial service for victims of Orlando

dli-news-orlando.jpgThe Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City hosted a memorial service for the 49 victims of the mass shooting in Orlando on Tuesday July 12, the one month anniversary of the event. The memorial featured music, prayer, readings and reflection and sought to connect LGBT and faith communities across Long Island. Over 320 people were in attendance. Money was collected for the Ali Forney Center, which provides shelter and resources for homeless LGBT youth on Long Island.

Carl Siciliano, the founder of the Ali Forney Center, pointed out that many of the young people who come to the Center have been displaced from their homes because of religious beliefs. This made the support of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island especially meaningful to the LGBT community, he said.

Readings from “Embracing the Exile” by John Fortunato and “A Litany for Survival” by Audre Lorde were read by David Kilmnick, CEO of the LGBT Network and Canon Myra B. Garnes from the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, respectively. This was followed by a powerful talk from the Right Reverend Mary D. Glasspool of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Bishop Glasspool suggested that the mission of the Church is to seek out places of oppression and violence and dismantle them.

The Long Island Gay Men’s Chorus performed throughout the evening. They sang musical theatre hits such as “Seasons of Love” from Rent and “Make Them Hear You” from Ragtime. They also led the congregation in the hymn “To A Place of Celebration”, which was composed by Reverend Carolyn Gillette in the wake of the Orlando tragedy. The hymn was recorded by the Cathedral Choristers earlier in the month and aired on NPR’s New York Radio Hour.

The names and ages of the Orlando victims were read, and a candle was lit for each one. The Very Reverend Michael T. Sniffen, Dean of the Cathedral, closed the evening with a prayer, asking that we “end our dependence on violence for our sense of security” and trust God and the image of God “found in the entire human family”. The service was followed by a reception with refreshments and music.