One of our own has been tragically taken. Let us all gather together as the family of GOD and pray for our brothers and sisters dealing with grief, anger, pain and confusion. Darius Simmons, 13, a member of All Peoples Church was killed last week.

Darius Simmons memorial will be held at All Peoples Church, 2600 N 2nd Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212 on Saturday June 9. The family has established a memorial trust fund to cover the costs of the funeral. Donations made to All Peoples in Darius name will be given to this trust. The family must raise $3,000. Click here for more info on the Darius Simmons memorial trust fund.

Below is a message from Pastor Steve Jerbi from All Peoples:

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” -Matthew 19:14

It is with deep sadness and personal grief that I write about the tragic loss of Darius Simmons. Darius, 13, was shot and killed last week. He was active in our congregation and especially in Kids Working To Succeed.

A quick Google search will unfold the grisly details of his death, a story that need not be shared here. Because for all the desire to make this a headline and all the calls to get a story, for all the connections to Trayvon Martin and the racial undertones of this story, that is not the main thing. Instead, this must be the story of a beloved child who has died. This must be the story of Darius, friend and classmate, kid from the neighborhood, little brother and son. This story must be about Darius.

Darius was welcomed into the arms of Jesus. He was baptized at St. Paul’s Lutheran on Wisconsin Avenue. He, with his family, lived in the light of Christ and the grace of God. And now, tragically, the fullness of the kingdom belongs to him.

We have all the scripture verses that speak to our grief and our need for comfort: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death; Weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning; Death where is thy victory, O Death where is thy sting; I know that my Redeemer lives. And in these verses we seek wisdom and we ask that which has no answer: why God?

The pain of losing a child is immense. The pain of losing a child to violence is overwhelming. We lean into that faith even in the midst of struggle. Like the parent in Mark’s gospel we say, “I believe, help my unbelief.”

And we continue on. We walk with his mom Patricia and her family. We walk with the children and youth that worked with Darius. We walk with each other as this pain has touched us all in different ways. But we are reminded, we are not alone. The tremendous outpouring of support already – to Darius’ family and to his church family – continues to be a blessing. It is what picks us up when we stumble, what encourages us when we want to stop.

And let me be perfectly clear now: It is what picks me up when I stumble, what encourages me when I’m not sure I can go on. I feel the power of your prayers, the presence of your love. We all feel it.

As I met with Patricia yesterday she said, “I just want there to be peace. I just want our streets to be safe. I don’t want any more mothers have to go through this.” We let her cries become our own. We become both peace-lovers and peacemakers. We trust in the peace that passes all understanding. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

Peace, Pastor Steve

© 2017 Greater Milwaukee Synod

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