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Longest Night service held to remember homicide victims, call for peace

Posted at 7:43 AM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 08:43:03-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Monday night, groups will remember the more than 170 people killed in Kansas City, Missouri, so far in 2020.

Wornall Road Baptist Church is hosting a service called “The Longest Night.”

The event is held on the first day of winter, which is the longest night of the year, and remembers the victims of homicides.

The prayer service begins at 7 p.m. Monday. You can watch a livestream of the event on the church’s website. Families of homicide victims will be allowed to attend the service in person.

In preparation for the service, organizers placed a cross with the name of each homicide victim in the church’s yard at Wornall Road and Meyer Boulevard in Brookside.

“While everyone else celebrating Christmas, [families of these victims] are alone in that pain,” explained Mark Clifton, who started the tradition in 2011. “We want them to know they are not alone. Their loved one is more than a name on the bottom of a news screen one night and forgotten the next. Their loved one means something to them and they mean something to us.”

Organizers also want to use the event to call on the community to stop the violence. Kansas City set a record for most homicides in one year in 2020.

Church pastors said it takes the entire community to step up and make a difference.

“Let’s recognize what’s happening in our city, it’s not normal. Kansas City can’t keep calling itself a world-class city when we’re behaving like a third world country,” Pastor Darron Edwards of United Church of Believers said.