Titusville church holds vigil for Charleston victims
Vigil took place Thursday evening at St. James AME Church
TITUSVILLE, Fla. – Faith leaders from several Space Coast denominations held a special prayer vigil Thursday evening for the victims of an overnight church shooting in South Carolina that left nine people dead, including a state senator and church pastor.
Dylan Storm Roof, 21, is accused of carrying out the attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the oldest African-American congregations in the South. Police have labeled the targeted shooting a hate crime.
Glenn Dames, pastor of St. James AME Church in Titusville, and South Carolina State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, a pastor at the church who was killed in the shooting.
Pinckney, 41, was among nine victims shot and killed by the gunman during the Wednesday night Bible study meeting.
"This has been a difficult night for us. I knew Pinckney," Dames told Local 6 News partner Florida Today. "I've been to Emanuel. As a pastor, I know the pain of seeing something like this happen. We believe that in the end, love will conquer hate, as difficult as it is to wrap our heads around that right now."
The prayer vigil took place at 7 p.m. Thursday at St. James AME Church in Titusville. The congregation previously hosted community prayer sessions and talks over issues ranging from the controversial 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in neighboring Sanford to the recent spate of protests over police tactics.
"In times like these, we need an anchor, and that rock is Jesus," he said between fielding calls from other pastors and church members.
Other pastors were stunned by the killings and called for the faith community to continue working together.
"My God, when is this going to end?" asked the Rev. Rob Goodridge of St. Gabriel Episcopal Church in Titsuville. "The only way any of this will be resolved is if we develop relationships with each other. I just don't understand it. There's an uptick of this kind of violence, not just in our country but around the world. But when you look at things and if it's not good, it's not from God. It's from something else,"
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