ROCHESTER N.Y. — Rise Up Rochester Incorporation conducted its annual service of remembering lives lost due to murders in the Rochester area at the Baber AME Church Friday night.

The Service of Remembrance, free and open to the public, allowed those willing to express testimonies. Pastor James C. Simmons says that many negative perceptions can cloud ones judgment, but the goal of the service is to heal.

“We know that holidays are often a difficult period of time for people who have experienced loss. So each year in the month of December we come together for families to remember their loved ones and to be reminded that they are not alone,” said Rev. Simmons.

Stories shared at the service came from mothers who lost sons, facing their child’s murderer and families who lost siblings. A candle lighting ceremony representing those lives lost concluded the service.