Hey Neighborhood, have you joined the team yet? Team Lukas that is!
On Saturday, November 3rd, Team Lukas will represent Neighborhood Church and our beloved son Lukas Pender at the annual Out of the Darkness walk in Pasadena. And we would love for you to join us.
Last year, Team Lukas participated in this moving march to celebrate the memory of Lukas Pender and the thousands of other friends, family and community members lost annually to suicide. Neighborhood’s participation last year generated over $1600 in donations to support the national non-profit American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, raising awareness of suicide and the urgent need for suicide prevention in our society today.
The walk starts from Central Park in Pasadena and will travel down Colorado Boulevard, circling back and ending where we started at the park. To join the team, you may sign up online (www.AFSP.org), dogs are welcome to walk, too! If you can’t walk with us, we ask that you join us by signing up to walk virtually or financially supporting a member of Team Lukas.
So why am I walking again? First, because my family has been through the fear and anxiety that comes with having a family member go through a near-miss with suicide. I’ve never felt more helpless and hopeless than during that time of my life.
And I am also walking in memory of Lukas Pender, and in support of his mom Susan, a friend and longtime member of our church. My memories of Lukas grew mainly from my traveling with him and the rest of Neighborhood’s Sr. High Group to the 2012 UUA General Assembly in Phoenix, Arizona. During that incredible trip, I really took to Lukas. Spending time at meals and between events discussing the various workshops, worship services and social justice actions we participated in. Lukas was quite the thoughtful young man and loved struggling with the complexities and conflicting moral ramifications of our and other’s faiths as they played out in the issues of the day, including racism, abortion, and others. I loved Lukas’ willingness to think big thoughts, and to thoughtfully hold opinions that were clearly his own.
But then I, we, experienced the shock and trauma of Lukas’ suicide later that same church-year. I experienced it not only because I knew Lukas personally, but because my daughter Grace was in Sr. High with Lukas at the time. Lukas’ death was beyond earth shaking for his mother and immediate family, but also for his church family and especially the family of fellow Sr. High youth. For anyone that was attending Neighborhood back then, you will remember the Sr. High youth’s efforts to try and understand and process the loss of a beloved member of their tight-knit group, through the raw and heart-felt words and songs they shared in that year’s Sr. High worship services.
Suicide is something that no family, church or community should ever have to go through, and the Association for Suicide Prevention and the Out of the Darkness walks are working to make that so.
So please, I encourage you to sign up today, and join Team Lukas in whatever capacity you can. Your participation may very well save the life of a loved-one, friend or neighbor. Thanks, and I hope to see you there!
Out of the Darkness Walk – Pasadena
9:00-noon Saturday, November 3, 2018
Central Park, 275 S. Raymond Ave. Pasadena
Register with Team Lukas by clicking HERE (https://afsp.donordrive.com/team/175967)
“When you walk in the Out of the Darkness Walks, you join the effort with hundreds of thousands of people to raise awareness and funds that allow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss. Thanks to Walkers and Donors like you, AFSP has been able to set a goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20% by 2025.”