Local churches worship in solidarity since Charleston shooting

Local churches are standing in solidarity with neighboring African Methodist Episcopal congregations after a deadly shooting at a bible study at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

The St. James AME church in Mayfield held a service at noon. Anyone and everyone was welcomed through their doors to help spread a healing message.

A community welcomed their neighbors through the AME church doors and stood as one congregation. Rev. Joe Hansen of the Mayfield First United Methodist Church says while this may seems so small, it’s an important step.

“Whenever something horrible like this happens our hearts break,” Hansen says.

Hansen says it’s important for congregations to worship together during times like these to inspire change, saying that “things don’t change in the world unless people see change happen in individuals and locally.”

AME Rev. Raymond Corbin says preaching beside his neighbors accomplished more than he anticipated. He says they were trying to show it’s possible to spread strong virtues despite unforgivable actions.

“We were trying to get a spiritual healing, and that happens when people come together on a spiritual accord,” Corbin says.

Through applause, song and prayer, community member Eva Tharpe says, coming together helps heal the pain felt from a murder miles away. She says one of the most important things is to stay positive in order to continue to carry positivity and make sure everyone is welcome through the door.

“We got to learn to love everybody. We have to love everybody no matter what,” Tharpe says.

There are about 7 million AME members nationwide, and Hansen also said all Methodist churches, including AME churches, were connected through history.

Corbin says they did contact law enforcement for the worship, held days after the attack in Charleston. He says they were fearful of copycats, but believes they’ll be ok.

Burks Chapel Church on Ohio Street in Paducah will hold a discussion on racism at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24.

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