Salisbury Congregation Holds Vigil for Charleston Church Massacr - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury Congregation Holds Vigil for Charleston Church Massacre Victims

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, MD. -- Less than 24 hours after a white man gunned down nine parishioners at a historic black church in Charleston, SC., a Wicomico County congregation gathered for a prayer vigil honoring the victims.

Members of the First Baptist Church in Salisbury joined hands and hearts Thursday night to pray for the victims and for the 21-year old gunman Dylann Storm Roof.

Kevin Byrd is a regular volunteer at First Baptist. He says he's distraught about a shooting happening inside a sacred place of worship.

"I was broken hearted that a house of God was violated by an act of evil," said Byrd.

"But there is solace in knowing that those people's sacrifices have motivated people around this country to come together, both black and white, multiracial. People have come together just to celebrate the name of decency," he said.

Some church leaders such as Rev. Dr. Thomas Tucker are concerned about security.

"I'm concerned even about our churches because we never know who's coming through the door, yet we can't lock ourselves in. We can't do that," said Tucker.

Pastor Lewis Watson who leads First Baptist recited a verse of scripture in what he calls troubling times.

"'Fret not thyself because of evildoers, for they shall soon be cut down like the green herb,'" said Watson. "We still have to embrace the truth of God's word and the wisdom of God's word. And the wisdom of God's word is He will soon cut them down. 'Vengence is mine, sayeth the Lord, I will repay.'"

But even in the face of evil, Rev. Tucker says forgiveness is the righteous path.

"It's important for us as we walk with Christ to mimic him," said Tucker, "and if he can forgive those who persecuted him, certainly we must forgive this young man."

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