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  • Rev. Barbara Ballenger

This is the Fast I Want: God knows the names of the nameless victims- 3.16.23

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

As part of her Lenten observance this season, Rev. Barb has set aside Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m. to fast for an end to gun violence, pray for those who have died or been injured in our community, and write a brief reflection on the issue. You are invited to join your prayer to hers each Thursday at noon by lifting your own prayer for an end to gun violence in our community and nation. An updated list of all those who have died or been injured by gun violence in Philadelphia can be found here.


Join me in praying for the victims of gun violence in Philadelphia this week, where six died and 20 were injured. The prayers can be found in Ministry with the Sick. The data on those who died and were injured in Philadelphia are released weekly by the city Office of the Controller.

O God our Vindicator, come speedily to our help. Receive the soul of …

the 28 year old man on N 16TH ST

the 21 year old man on N MARSHALL ST

the 15 year old man on ALGON AVE

the 25 year old man N 16TH ST

the 26 year old man on HAVERFORD AVE

the 38 year old man S DOVER ST


your children, into the arms of your mercy, and deliver their assailants to justice, that your holy Law may be served, and your peace renewed; through Jesus our Savior. Amen.


For survivors of violence:


Holy one, you do not distance yourself from the pain of your people, but in Jesus bear that pain with us and bless all who suffer at others’ hands. Hallow our flesh and all creation; with your cleansing love bring healing and strength to …


the 18 year old woman on FOX ST

the 32 year old woman on 51ST ST

the 42 year old man on BINGHAM ST

the 20 year old man on N MARSHALL ST

the 21 year old man on N MARSHALL ST

the 35 year old man on NORFOLK ST

the 50 year old man on W GIRARD AVE

the 26 year old man on N CHADWICK ST

the 21 year old man on S CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS BLVD

the 26 year old man on FRANKFORD AVE

the 69 year old man on MARKET ST

the 29 year old man on W ONTARIO ST

the 20 year old man on HARBISON AVE

the 24 year old man on PRICE ST

the 29 year old man on PULASKI AVE

the 37 year old man on N 51ST ST

the 50 year old man on E ALBANUS ST

the 32 year old man on MARKET ST

the 34 year old man on N CARLISLE ST

the 35 year old man on N 54TH ST


and by your justice lift them up, that in the body you have given them, they may again rejoice. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


This list bothers me. It’s not enough. There aren’t names, addresses, family members, funeral details. There aren’t hospitals, places to send get well cards. Just statistics. And yet God knows better than me the broken lives, the mourning families, the injured bodies and holds them better than we do. So we pray.


I also don’t like that the list makes it look like all the violence in our region happens in the city, which is not the case. But the stats are there, so that’s where I aim my prayer on Thursdays.


Still, a child in Norristown brought a gun to school last month. A Philadelphia-based gun ring was busted for selling illegally obtained weapons throughout the suburban counties recently, which means there is a hunger and thirst here for violence, even though it doesn’t show up as much. State legislators have long wanted to blame the city for violence in the suburbs, when they should look to the log in their own eyes.


It’s not enough. But it’s the prayer I have today.


Amen.




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