Jordan Butler, Southwestern alum, and Molly Just, director of discipleship and campus minister, welcome those in attendance.  Butler played the guitar during the memorial of Gabriel Luna while Just read scripture. (Emily Berry/ Staff photographer)Erin Hall, religion and philosophy junior, Rebeca Dominguez, religion and philosophy junior, Bob Gallup, professor of physics and mathematics, and Elyse Achenbach, coordinator of international student services and enrollment, listen to the scripture read by Molly Just, director of discipleship and campus minister. Psalm 139:7-17 was the first scripture read - “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there,” Psalm 139:8. (Emily Berry/Staff photographer)Molly Just, director of discipleship and campus minister, reads the final scripture after a moment of silence. The final scripture read was John 14:1-4, 18-19, 27 - “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me,” John 14:1. (Emily Berry/Staff photographer)Erin Hall, religion and philosophy junior, and Rebeca Dominguez, religion and philosophy junior, pray during a moment of silence. Luna was involved in the First United Methodist Church. (Emily Berry/Staff photographer)Hanna Ediger, resident director, and husband Ethan Ediger take a moment of silence. Luna died in a December shooting. (Emily Berry/Staff photographer)Steve Kramer, assistant director of advising and student success, and Dan Falk, dean of students, pray during a moment of silence. There were two moments of silence during the memorial, giving time for everyone to remember Luna. (Emily Berry/Staff photographer)Molly Just, director of discipleship and campus minister, and Rachelle Speer, associate pastor of First United Methodist Church, light candles in remembrance of Luna.  Just and Speer led the memorial. (Emily Berry/Staff photographer)

By Shawn Knepper
Staff reporter

Waking up to learn a student has been injured and to learn of his or her passing is something no classmate wants to hear. Southwestern has felt the pain of student death before, and this December felt it once again.

Gabriel “Gabe” Luna’s memorial service took place at 5:30 p.m. on Friday at First United Methodist Church. The service was led by Molly Just, campus minister, and Rachelle Speer, First United Methodist Church’s associate pastor. The service featured special music by Jordan Butler, alum.

The ministers shared three scripture readings in reflection of how God created Luna and how God was a part of his life, along with moments of silence to reflect and give thanks.

The two led the congregation in a remembrance candle lighting.

Speer said, “Through history, the spiritual practice of prayer was the lighting of candles. We know God hears our prayers and we know he’s resonating with us right now.”

Luna was the victim of a targeted shooting in December. No arrests have been made. The Winfield police department, with the help of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, is still looking into what happened Dec. 18.

Those hurting may not be able to make sense of why the life of a man was taken away. Some might feel angry, confused or in pain.

Just led the final scripture reading and closing benediction of the evening, reminding those who had memories with Luna that a piece of the Lord is within Luna and within them.

Just said, “We know about how his life wasn’t easy, and yet, we know that the piece of Jesus touches in all those places, even in death. So take this time this evening to offer your sorrow to Christ, but to rejoice in moving forward for the hope of tomorrow, that after the darkness comes the morning.”

Luna’s mother spoke about her son’s death here. A timeline of Luna’s life can be found here.

A profile about Luna was published in January 2019. Stories about Luna’s death and the shooting investigations were published in January 2020.