Longest Night service remembers KC homicide victims

“My heart cries out for Kansas City. Why is our city so violent? I want so much for our city to come together.”

That is what the mother of a 2015 Kansas City homicide victim said. She returned to the 2016 Longest Night Memorial Service to remember her son.

The Longest Night service remembers homicide victims in the Kansas City area. The 2016 service was held Wednesday night, Dec. 21, at Leawood Baptist Church at 82nd and State Line Road in Leawood, Kan.

The service began in 2011 at Wornall Road Baptist Church, Kansas City, Mo. It moved to Leawood Baptist Church in 2015.

“Because of our location we feel like we can have an impact on the entire city,” said Adam Carter, pastor of Leawood Baptist Church.

Nearly 200 crosses bearing 2016 homicide victims’ names were displayed on the church’s front lawn which faces State Line Road.

The Longest Night service gives Leawood Baptist Church the opportunity to share hope that can only be found in Christ.

“You feel like you’re walking through this alone,” a homicide victim’s aunt told Carter.

Knowing a church cares about homicide victims and their families is a “tremendous encouragement,” she said.

The 2016 Longest Night service included Scripture readings and prayers by Carter and Adam Mitchell, pastor of Wornall Road Baptist Church.

Representatives of Mothers in Charge and the Kansas City Ad Hoc Committee Against Crime also spoke.

Mothers in Charge Inc. is a nation-wide organization that serves families of homicide victims and works to prevent violence.

The service was capped by a message of hope by Gary Cornelius Jones, pastor of The U Church, Kansas City, Mo. His brother was murdered 50 years ago and the crime was never solved.

As Jones preached from Habakkuk, he said, “God has a way of taking pain and turning it into power.”

He continued, “Brothers and sisters, you can go on. You can get up and live again.”