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Victoria church to hold service commemorating victims of gender-based violence

First Metropolitan United Church will hold the service to remember those targeted because of gender
The service will include a candlelight vigil to honour those who have been harmed based on their gender. (Black Press Media file photo)

First Metropolitan United Church will hold a non-denominational service to honour women and others who have died at the hands of gender-based violence.

The commemoration, which began in 1989 to honour victims of a shooting at L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal that same year, has grown to include all those who are impacted by gender-based violence, First Metropolitan’s lead minister Shelagh MacKinnon said.

“The church has been doing this since the tragedy happened and that’s been a continuing part of our call - as it were - to highlight the violence against women that is still such a major and terrifying part of our world,” MacKinnon said.

In their gathering, which occurs every year on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, MacKinnon said the church strives to uplift and remember not only the 14 women who were killed in the attack motivated by “fighting feminism”, but also people who are targeted because of their gender or gender expression.

“The service has expanded, it’s been enlarged to remember all the women in so many different situations…that because they are women or because of their gender expression or because of their political action, they have been killed.”

The service will also remember murdered and missing Indigenous girls and women killed in Ukraine.

“By lighting a candle we’re just remembering the larger picture that’s going on right now,” MacKinnon said. “Christmas is that time where you think, ‘She would have been now 46 if she was still with us.’ So, we wanted to reach out and just take a little bit of our Christmas time to say you’re not alone and we are remembering.”

The service, which is inter-faith and inclusive, will begin at 5 p.m. on Dec. 6.

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READ MORE: B.C. joins ‘rallying cry for real action’ to end gender-based violence with 16 Days of Activism campaign


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Hollie Ferguson

About the Author: Hollie Ferguson

Hollie moved to Victoria from Virginia in September 2022 with her partner Zachary and their two pups, Theodore and Bibi.
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