Service of Remembrance and Reading of Names Held on All Souls Day


The University community recently came together as one with its Black students and faculty for a Service of Remembrance and Reading of Names of members of the Black community who have died because of racial violence.

The event was held on All Souls’ Day, Nov. 2, at the chapel. It was organized by Father Peter Lyons and the officers and members of the Black Student Union.

Father Lyons, Theologian-in-Residence at the University, led the ecumenical prayer service. He serves as a co-chair of the Committee on Race and Equality at SFU. The committee was created earlier this year.

The prayer service was based on the “Say Their Names” Movement, which was started following the rise in the number of Black victims of racial violence around the United States. The movement’s objective is to share the names of those who have lost their lives to racial injustices so that we, as a nation, do not continue to make these same mistakes.

By hearing their names and seeing their faces, leaders in the movement are hopeful that people will remember these victims as human beings, not just another statistic. Bringing attention to their deaths will also bring attention to policies that need be reformed.

Within the first 10 months of 2020, there have been 31 killings in the United States that have been classified as racial injustices, tripling the amount from 2019.

The All Souls Day prayer service was intended to reassure Black members of the University community that the SFU family understands the impact this injustice has had on them, and that we stand by their side.

“The service was one step, among many, that we can and should take to promote unity and understanding among the members of our University community,” said Father Lyons.

Father Lyons said he believes there truly is good will among us, but that there is still room for improvement. He believes it’s important to remember that we all come from different walks of life, and by talking to each other, we can see what it is like to walk in the other person’s shoes.