RLC hosts all-campus gathering to commemorate fallen officers

Religious Life Community held a gathering after the Simpson community was affected by the deaths of two Des Moines-area police officers and Simpson alumni.


Simpson College students gathered at Smith Chapel Wednesday evening — less than 24 hours from the time Beminio and Martin were gunned down. (Photo: Jayde Vogeler, Photography Editor/The Simpsonian)

by Ashley Smith, Editor-in-Chief

Simpson College students, staff and faculty were invited to join Rev. Mara Bailey and the Religious Life Community tonight for a time of prayer after the campus was shaken by events earlier today.

The campus is in mourning after early on the morning of Nov. 2, two Simpson graduates and police officers were slain in what officials are calling “ambush-style attacks.”

According to an email sent by Bailey, “In times like this, it is especially important to gather in the midst of our grief, sadness and questioning and support one another.”

About fifty students attended the all-campus gathering at 8 p.m. in the Smith Chapel.

“I recognize that for some of you, this may be a time of prayer for you. This may be a time of gathering with members of your fellow community and because of that, it may be a time of grief or sorrow for you,” Bailey said.

Bailey said they wanted to open up the space and give an opportunity to invite the campus community to gather, as each person has been impacted by this tragedy in different ways.

Bailey lit two blue candles for the lives of the two fallen officers and one white candle for the community and those left in grief.

“We join tonight as a community who I know above all else is bound and determined to support one another,” Bailey said.

Bailey read Psalm 46 and said, “These are words that remind me of the importance of finding a foundation. A constant, a place to come home to, in the midst of life for the good things and the bad but especially in times like this, on a day like today when many of us feel like our world is falling apart. …For some, that foundation is God.

“For some, that constant is love, the love and support we see in the places and people around us. The people who share hugs and a shoulder to cry on when we need it. Whatever it is you take comfort in, that is your foundation. And I’m hoping you are find what you are seeking,” Bailey said.

Bailey commented on Psalm 46, Verse 10. “(It) reads, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ It feels passive, it feels nothing, it feels like we are trying very hard. But there are other translations that could be helpful. ‘Cease striving.’ ‘Let go.’ ‘Relax.’”

Bailey gave the metaphor of holding your hand in a fist.

“In all the effort it takes for us to keep our hand balled in this fist, God is saying, ‘Let go.’ The effort that it takes to keep it all together. To find the right words. To feel the things that are the right things to feel. Let go.”

Bailey invited a guitarist to play and the community to share stories of the fallen officers, and approach the altar to light candles in remembrance.

About eight people from the community lit candles during this time. No one from the community decided to share stories about the fallen officers.

After a period of about 15 minutes, Bailey prayed.

“Out of the depths we cry to you, Lord. Oh, Lord hear our voice. Let Your ears be attentive to our cries and our hearts. We come together tonight, from all walks of life. Joining in our common sorrow.”

Bailey ended the gathering with the Lord’s Prayer and another time of music.