We received this notice of a special service at Trinity Church in Menlo Park on Dec. 19 at 7:00 pm. The church’s rector, the Rev. Matthew Dutton-Gillett emailed: “We have all been shocked by the horror of the mass shootings yesterday in Newtown, Connecticut, resulting in the deaths of 27 people, including 18 children. We will, of course, pray for all affected by this tragedy at our services tomorrow.
“Trinity had already scheduled a Longest Night Service for this Wednesday, December 19, at 7:00 pm. This service, near to the Winter Solstice, is one that is specifically created to acknowledge that, in the midst of the Christmas season, many people have difficulty experiencing joy because of their own pain of loss or loneliness. These are people for whom this season of light can seem quite dark.
“In light of events in Newton, CT., this service has taken on new and tragic meaning. All of us, I think, have experienced an eruption of terrible darkness into the midst of this season. What are we to do with this darkness? How do we celebrate Christmas in the presence of this darkness? What do we make of this sort of gun violence which seems to have become too frequently a part of our national life?
“Our Longest Night Service on Wednesday will include a remembrance of the victims in Newtown, Connecticut; prayers for survivors, families, and friends; and a reflection on these questions. We will come together to acknowledge the darkness that surrounds us right now, and hope for some vision of light.”
“The Service will be held in the main church; the Trinity chapel will also be open on Wednesday evening so that those who wish to do so may walk the Labyrinth (pictured).”