KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This is the time of year when most churches put up trees and decorations, ready to celebrate Christmas and the birth of Christ.
It’s a very different scene outside Wornall Baptist Church in Brookside. Instead of sparkling halls decked with greenery or sharing tidings of joy, a shocking sight greets people driving by the church.
There are more than 180 white crosses standing on the church’s lawn. Each cross includes the name of one person killed in either Kansas City or Wyandotte County who lost their life to homicide in 2021.
Organizers said the display is their way of showing victims’ families they aren’t alone, especially during the holidays when families traditionally celebrate together.
This is the first year victims killed on the Kansas side of the state line are being remembered with the display.
“We’ve lost so many young children, I mean babies, from homicides. How do we go on as a community to be OK with that? We shouldn’t,” Rosilyn Temple, KC Mother’s in Charge founder, said.
Temple said she knows what other families are going through. Someone killed her son on Thanksgiving in 2011. Since his murder, Temple has worked to help other families facing the same type of tragedy.
“We should not ever become adjusted or accustomed to this kind of violence in our city,” Mark Clifton, The Longest Night Coordinator, said. “Every citizen, no matter where you live in the city has the right to live in safety and to feel secure in their home. And so we have to work hard to make that happen.”
Wornall Baptist Church will host it’s annual “The Longest Night” service on Dec. 21, which is the longest night of the year. It begins at 7 p.m. and the public is invited.