COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — When Ray Killian first arrived to Colorado Springs, Club Q was one of the first places he felt a true connection with.
“...was a place that I decided it was safe to meet people," he recalled.
Inside First Christian Church in Colorado Springs, he reflected on the feeling of being welcomed by the Club Q staff, and learning all about the city through employees there.
It's part of why he, along with others at the church, decided to hold a remembrance service to honor the lives lost and those wounded in the shooting.
“I enjoyed the drag performers, the benefits, the owners had been so generous to our community," Killian said. “Tonight is about remembrance…tonight is about anger channeled through our spirituality."
Ahead of the service, candles were lit at the communion table, one for each life lost, and one for each person wounded.
Killian recalled the times he connected with Daniel Aston, who was one of those killed in the shooting. Aston was a bartender and performer at the bar.
“Was just incredibly friendly, kind, understood why I was there totally. Just to be in a safe space to meet someone," he said.
Killian, who is a security assistant and former music director at the church, said the church has long been welcoming of everyone.
“I’m really proud to be part of this congregation," he said.
"Open & Affirming congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). We affirm the life and teachings of Jesus Christ by welcoming all people of diverse race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status, to worship and participate fully in all aspects of church life in a safe, loving, nurturing, and compassionate community," the church's website reads.
Killian hoped that the service not only honored the victims of the shooting but provided a sense of hope.
“It doesn’t mean we're going to give up. Doesn’t mean we’re going to stop celebrating ourselves and it doesn’t mean that at the end of the day we’re not gonna get back and dance. We’ll dance again," he said.
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