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'Love, Hope and Togetherness' Echoes at Vigil Honoring Victims of VA Beach Shooting

(Image credit: Andrea Morris, CBN News)
(Image credit: Andrea Morris, CBN News)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Hundreds gathered at a local Virginia Beach church Saturday to remember the 12 lives lost in Friday's tragic shooting.

Bringing the community together through "love and support" were the words that echoed during the evening vigil at the Bridge Church in Va. Beach.

Bridge Church Pastor Archie Callahan reminded those in attendance that tragedies are a time to turn to God.

"In times like this we need to draw near to God and each other," Callahan said.  "We all need the hope that is found in the gospel."

When asked what motivated the Bridge Church to host the community vigil, Callahan explained it was a matter of healing. 

"We saw our city hurting. We love our city. We want to see people near to God. It's a time of coming together. We need healing. It'll come through the gospel," he noted.

Dr. Jenny Sue Flanagan, also a church member, said she thinks coming together as a community is important so people can begin to heal.

"I think it's an important opportunity for people to come together and start the healing process," she explained. "To have a chance to have people there to pray for them and to also give comfort. I think it begins with people coming together as a community and starting to embrace each other."

US Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) represents Virginia's 2nd congressional district that includes Va. Beach.

"We are still dealing with the shock and grief right now," Luria explained. "We are a strong community and can use this as an opportunity to bring together the community".

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax also attended the vigil. His message to the City of Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads area was, "We love you".

"These were wonderful people that did not deserve this - no one deserves this," he said.

As CBN News reported, Mayor Bobby Dyer called Friday the "most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach."

"It's a shock," he told CBN News. "This is not Virginia Beach that everybody in Virginia Beach knows." 

"We have to have the resolve and the resiliency to work through this going forward," he continued. "And I really think that knowing the Virginia Beach community – people are going to come together. People are going to unify and try to help out the families and the friends. This was a community tragedy," he added.

Please Help the Families of the Victims of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center Shooting. Click Here to Donate.

Reverend William Keen with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference also attended the prayer vigil. 

"We need to come together and express love," he said. "The love will be shown after this. My hope is to end this violent atmosphere. Apply love."

The Associated Press reported, in all, the 12 victims had served the City of Virginia Beach for more than 150 years. Police and fire departments will assign members of their honor guards to help each victim's family.

Bridge Church member Karen Baker was proud of her church for contributing to the community. 

"I am so glad that my church is here to be of service," she told CBN News. "My congregation is here to comfort those that need it now."

Since the shooting occurred, the City of Va. Beach has held several briefings giving updates on the investigation.

The next briefing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the Judicial Building 10 in Va. Beach.

Click here to see a list of all of the scheduled Virginia Beach area memorial services

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