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Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at
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A Vigil for Unity

Last night, most churches held Good Friday services. St. George’s Episcopal Church in Fredericksburg held a different kind of service: a vigil to remember Larry King, a middle school student killed Feb. 12 in California.

Classmates said Larry was killed because he was gay. Speakers at last night’s vigil said Good Friday was an appropriate time to honor the young teen. Sandy Seaton, a local woman who sometimes fears for the safety of her gay son, compared Larry to Matthew Shepard, the gay teen killed in Wyoming, who was beaten and left on a fence for three days.

"Reminds me of someone else," she said, linking the two murdered gay teens to Jesus, whose martyrdom Christians mark on Good Friday.

While the media has been mostly silent about Larry’s murder, schools, civic groups, gay clubs and churches  have held similar vigils to honor his life and to prevent future bullying or murders.

Churches are the perfect location for the discussions, said Jeremy Bloom, president of PRISM, a University of Mary Washington group.

"Churches across America need to look at hate, hate that is not new," he said to the group of about 50 that gathered in St. George’s family room for the vigil.

Local singer and activist Gaye Adegbalola said the gay community recently came together to fight for marriage rights. It is time to band together to protect young gays and transgenders from bullying and violence, she said.

She suggested they fight for gun control, youth services and federal hate crime laws.

"This kind of thing will cause us to come together," Adegbalola said. "It will cause us queers to dedicate ourselves to the struggle."

The vigil was sponsored by St. George’s Congregational Circle/Integrity Partners, a group for gays and transgenders and those who care about them. The group meets the third Friday of every month at St. George’s.  For details, call the church at 540/373-4133.