A Service in Honor of
Transgender Day of Remembrance
We see you. We see your pain and anguish. We see you in your fear and anxiety. We see glimpses and glimmers of hopefulness in your eyes. We see the love you have inside of you and in your words and actions.
Our world is hurting.
This is not a beautiful day, TDOR. It isn’t. It is a painful day. It is a day that was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice as well as homophobia that expresses itself as anti-trans hatred. It is a day that reaffirms that there are those who feel contempt for gender variance to such a great extent that they could take a life. It is a day set aside to call attention to the discrimination, violence and alienation that many who are transgender have experienced or fear experiencing. The feeling that others are afraid of you or conspiring against you, or that you are both invisible and too visible… that sense of very painful isolation. That is a reality for many in our world and our communities. And so we mourn. We mourn for the dead and we mourn for the hurting. We make a commitment to not forget, and to re-member. To be turned from pity and despair into full relationship with one another.
About this Service:
This service will depart from the traditional reading of names and candlelight vigil. There will still be candlelight, and you will have the opportunity to light a candle if you feel moved to, but this will also be a church service. There will be music and singing, a few things being recited that will probably sound a little “churchy” (but hopefully pleasantly and perhaps even surprisingly affirming), candlelight, community, and space for you to grieve.
There are no requirements that you have any sort of belief system, no need for you to have any ties to Christianity, although we would like to offer Communion to anyone who would like to partake. Many trans and queer folks have never experienced Communion, for various reasons–many of us weren’t accepted in the church of our youth, could never figure out just what we believe, never desired to, or never thought it appropriate. This night, you are welcome at Christ’s table. (You are also welcome to abstain from this part of the service.) We have tried to make the service easy to follow and accessible to people of all faiths or no faith, although it will be steeped in the Christian tradition because our church is rooted in that tradition.
Please gather any who care to and come sit as we choose to, in mourning. We will sit with one another, and sit with Jesus who is always with all those who are made to feel as if they don’t belong, especially the poor, the oppressed, the lost and the vulnerable. In a sense, all of us.
We may not be able to stop the violence, but we can hold it and remember it, and move through our grief into becoming people of compassion, curiosity, and openness. But first, we have to hold it and name it. Remember, and also re-member our broken community.
as nayyirah waheed says,
“grieve. so that you can be free to feel something else.”
The service should last for about an hour.
If you have any further questions please contact Eli Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, (845) 705-4242.
So that you may know what to expect, here is a preview of the simple service:
Note: The order is subject to change but the various elements will be likely unchanging.
Service will begin in song, and move into silence
All are invited to enter in silent reflection and/or prayer.
Taking Christ’s Light
You are invited to, at any time in this gathering, take candle(s) from the basket, take light from the Christ candle, and place your candle in the sand as prayer for someone lost globally or to you personally, for your grief or their family’s grief, for healing, wholeness, justice, peace, an end to the violence, and love.
Reading & Reflection:
All are welcome to partake, even if you do not believe, are of another faith, or are a skeptic. You are also welcome to sit it out. For us, communion is a reminder that we are one body together and with Christ, and that Christ’s body was broken for us. That Christ suffered in his body both for and as a result of our sins (our woundedness and our complicitness in those things which create such an unjust human experience). Christ offered a blessing to his community on the very night he was betrayed, that we would remember him, his ministry and his promises, even in death, on the night before his death.
Prayers for Those We Have Lost;
Prayers for Those in Need of Wholeness
Prayers are not an alternative but a complement to all other forms of thoughtfulness and healing. Prayers are for communities as well as for individuals. We offer this time for you to pray for someone you personally lost, or for yourself if you are feeling grief. All are invited to pray aloud individually and/or to pray silently. As we offer spoken prayers, our communal response will be “God in your mercy, hear our prayer.” (We will not rush but linger in prayer.)
Songs of Departing in Blessing