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Two area churches will host prayer services for Charleston shooting victims

Two area churches will host prayer services tonight in response to last week’s mass shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C.

On June 17, a gunman walked into historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, where he sat in a Bible study for an hour and then opened fire, killing nine people.

Among those killed in the shooting was pastor and state senator Clementa Pinckney, who’d invited accused gunman Dylann Roof, 21, to sit next to him during the Bible study. Five people survived, including a woman who authorities said pretended to be dead.

Cornerstone Church and Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church will both hold prayer services tonight.

The Rev. Bill Godair, pastor of Cornerstone Church, will host the service where area pastors and leaders will be in attendance and participate.

The service, entitled United We Stand, is a call to pray for the community and America. The service is from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the church, 315 Webb Road, exit 70 off Interstate 85.

The service will include participation from the following ministers and leaders:

• Bill Godair, lead pastor of Cornerstone Church

• Bradley Taylor, senior pastor of Outreach Christian Ministries International

• Karen Alexander, Salisbury City Council

• Bishop Harvey Rice Sr., head pastor of Mount Calvary Holy Church

• Josh Vernon, lead pastor of Ecclesia Church

For more information about the Cornerstone prayer service contact the church at 704-855-1218.

The Rev. Curtis Gatewood, vice president of the NAACP in North Carolina, will be the featured speaker at a Prayer Vigil for Healing in Charleston to be held 6 p.m. at Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church, 719 S. Caldwell St.

The service is being hosted by Gethsemane, the local branch of the NAACP and other community organizations and leaders.
The Rev. Dr. C.L. Phelps, pastor, said the service will encourage remembrance and prayer. “This is something all of our communities should be involved in,” Phelps said.
He said there were underlying issues behind the church massacre, not just in Charleston but everywhere, and he’d rather be on the front line to prevent trouble than deal with it after the fact.
“We as a nation have been called to prayer,” said a press release from the church. “It is our responsibility to speak truth to power.”
The release quoted the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
The community has been summoned to pray like never before, the press release said. “The devastation upon Emanuel AME Church in Charleston is devastation to the church everywhere. We are being called to pray for our community, our world, and our nation as we combat the violence in our world.”
For more information about the Gethsemane prayer service call 704-633-5057.




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