WAUWATOSA -- Wauwatosa Police Officer Jennifer Sebena was murdered less than two blocks from the Trinity Episcopal Church on Christmas Eve. Services at the church on Christmas Eve had to be cancelled, as the church was blocked off by police tape. That night, parishioners held a vigil. One week later, Sebena was still on the minds of churchgoers.
Six days removed from the crime, parishioners congregated at Trinity Episcopal Church on Sunday. During the service, Rector Gary Manning reflected on a week of sadness in the community.
"The church is a place of sanctuary, and for it to be part of a crime scene was really distressing for all of us," Manning said.
Manning and other church leaders sent out word that Christmas Eve Mass had been cancelled due to the ongoing police investigation, but several parishioners had a message of their own.
"When it became clear we were gonna have to cancel the 4:00 service and we were not gonna have time to reschedule it, we just felt we had to do something together in prayer for the officer that was killed to show the community when times are tough, we gather in prayer," Manning said.
With the street reopened, about 30 people gathered outside the church for a small memorial.
Parishioners remembered Sebena during Sunday services.
"Having the opportunity to come together in prayer with folks you knew and folks from the community and again, to reflect on the true meaning of the Christmas season brought things into focus and into perspective," Manning said.
The Christmas Eve service that was cancelled also included the kids' Christmas pageant. Parishioners learned Sunday it has been rescheduled for next Sunday.
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