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Webster Groves church honors mass shooting victims with shoes, candlelight vigil

Names were called and candles were lit for the grocery store shoppers in Buffalo, the doctor at a Laguna Woods church, and the teachers and little ones in Texas.

WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. — Shoes lined up from the aisle to the alter shaped the service at Peace United Church of Christ in Webster Groves on Sunday.

They represented the lives lost in mass shootings recently.

Names were called and candles were lit for the grocery store shoppers in Buffalo, the doctor at a Laguna Woods church and the teachers and little ones who were gunned down at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas last week.

“We're a congregation that actually believes in God's dream for justice and shalom which is peace right? Comprehensive well-being," said Reverend Dr. Wendy Bruner, pastor.

Bruner’s sermon was a sentiment for more support.

“When children are killed or elders are killed, we know that well-being doesn't exist, so we need to speak about it. We need to call on the people in power,” she said.

Thirty-one pairs of shoes, 31 candles, along with items like headphones, books and canes were set up at the altar for people to really feel the impact. Guests were encouraged to do something about the violence once they left the sanctuary.

“It's not just this intellectual exercise, or this whatever. It's real. People are dying because of gun violence and it seemed important to be able to show that visually," Bruner said.

Bruner posed a challenge to her congregation.

“We need to get out to vote. We need to talk to our friends and get them out to vote, we need to help register people to vote. We need to educate people about the gun laws or the lack of gun laws in Missouri," she said.

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