Florence community supports Charleston church, victims, survivor - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Florence community supports Charleston church, victims, survivors

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Shock waves of the shooting in Charleston are being felt in the Pee Dee where people said they're upset to hear something like this happened so close to home and to people they know.

"I just stood there," Pat Gibson-Hye Moore said, of when she found out about the Wednesday night shooting. "I didn't know what to do, how to react. It's heartbreaking."

Gibson-Hye Moore said she's close friends with one of the survivors. She talked with the woman's family Thursday.

"They said that she's ok, but I know that she's going through something and every member that was in that church. I can't imagine how they must feel right now because I know how I feel and I wasn't even there," she said.

Gibson-Hye Moore is a member of Mt. Zion AME Church, which is the sister church of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

Mt. Zion AME Church is planning to hold a vigil Friday at noon for the shooting victims. The pastor said he's expecting more than one hundred people to attend.

"We need to pray," Gibson-Hye Moore said. "The entire country needs to pray because it's going to happen somewhere else again. Maybe a different story, but the same outcome."

The vigil is open to the public and pastors from various denominations of Christianity plan to attend, including Ernest W. Frierson, the pastor at Wesley United Methodist Church.

"Even though we're United Methodist, we're still ecumenical meaning we're all one in the body of Christ," Frierson said.

He said even though the shooting happened at a church prayer meeting, people need to unite in the church to heal.

"The church is the pillar or should be the pillar of the community, so we need to rally back at the church and try to come together in healing and praying," he said.

Madie Robinson, president of the NAACP Florence Branch, said she had met Senator Clementa Pinckney before and she said his passion for helping the community shined through.

"I saw him to be a very conscientious young man, interested in his community, interested in bringing about healing and wholeness within the entire state of South Carolina," Robinson said.

She said America still has work to do when it comes to racism though.

"It makes it even worse because we fight everyday to try to bring our entire community together to bring healing," she said. "We know that we won't all agree on issues, but if we agree to disagree and we don't have to resort to violence."

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