St. Stephen’s honoring late church shooting victims with a touching tribute

Published: Jun. 15, 2023 at 10:53 PM CDT
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VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s been one year since a man opened fire in a Vestavia Hills church, killing three of the community’s beloved neighbors. While support has poured in from all across the country, the church will unveil another honor and tribute to the victims on Friday.

“If you can’t make it happy, make it beautiful and I think that has become something we are trying to live into,” said St. Stephens Episcopal Church Reverend John Burruss.

He stresses the tribute is not just about honoring Bart, Sharron, and Jane, but providing a space where all feel welcome.

“It is not about securing our place or locking it away, but being more welcoming and open,” said Reverend Burruss.

While workers sweat in the hot sun to ensure the grounds were ready for Friday’s grand reveal, church members have already done their part. They signed messages of love and support into the foundation as another sign of respect.

“Love undergirds and supports everything. We don’t always see it, but it is there and it gives us the strength and courage to face difficult moments in our life,” said Reverend Burruss.

Reverend Burruss stresses the past year has been filled with emotions, but we must focus on all the good.

“It is a reminder that one event can bring people together and that our capacity for good is much larger than the brokenness of this world,” said Reverend Burruss.

On Friday, the St. Stephens family will host a festive Eucharist in honor to commemorate Jane, Bart and Sharron and after the garden and labyrinth will be open to all.

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