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Quiet Elon campus holds prayer vigil

About 25 faculty and staff gathered to remember those who died in the Connecticut school attack.

About 25 Elon faculty and staff gathered in Moseley Center for a vigil on Dec. 17.

Elon's Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life called together faculty and staff who were still on campus for a Dec. 17 prayer vigil for those who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Chaplain Jan Fuller gathered those in attendance around a table filled with candles for each of those who died in last Friday's shooting.

Here are excerpts of Chaplain Fuller's remarks:

President Leo M. Lambert and Chaplain Jan Fuller light candles at the vigil.

Our nation has wept this weekend, in empathy and outrage, at the senseless death of 20 children ages six and seven, and six adult teachers who cared for them. Members of our community had second thoughts this morning, sending their children to school. Some of us are grieving for losses of our own and those of others we care about.

…Today we come together to remember that on Friday, and every day, God was the first to suffer, the first to weep, that God's children could so injure each other. We come in solidarity with those who grieve the sorest of losses, and with those who gave their lives to that others could live. We come with our own griefs that connect with the national outpouring of sorrow, and might burden us this day.

I want to share a couple of thoughts with you. Evil exists. It is real, and it is powerful, and both preys on, and feeds brokenness and fear and isolation. It finds its way in and twists things around and drags people into the sort of darkness that makes us believe that only the darkness is real.

Evil is real, but God is real too. In the face of terror and grief there is compassion and grace and mercy. There is light in the midst of darkness. That is what this season teaches us. In the darkest and longest nights of the year, God multiplies oil to light the temple in the observances of Hannukah. God sends a vulnerable child to be light for the world, and to bring us back to God.

As long as there are people willing to love one another in the face of darkness, then darkness cannot win. If darkness and evil cannot force every bit of love and hope and compassion from our hearts, then love and hope and compassion are stronger. That is the story of Resurrection. That is the story of Christmas. That is the story of God. That love wins. Light wins. That darkness cannot put out light. That no matter how much pain, no matter how much suffering, no matter how much evil we encounter in the world, there is light. There is mercy. There is love and compassion and hope. So look for it, claim it, and BE it as we await the birth of the light of the world, again.

After those in the circle had lit the candles, Fuller prayed that God would heal broken hearts and knit together the nation so that such a dreadful act never happens again.

Following the vigil, some lingered to hug one another and wipe away tears. Others walked back to their offices, past the flags that waved gently at half mast in front of Alamance Building.

Dan Anderson,
12/17/2012 3:11 PM