Hundreds gather for prayer vigil held for the 9 Charleston churc - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Hundreds gather for prayer vigil held for the 9 Charleston church shooting victims

Prayer vigil at Mt. Olive AME Church (Source: Lisa Gresci WMBF News) Prayer vigil at Mt. Olive AME Church (Source: Lisa Gresci WMBF News)
Attendees hold hands to pray at Mt. Olive prayer vigil. Source: Lisa Gresci WMBF News Attendees hold hands to pray at Mt. Olive prayer vigil. Source: Lisa Gresci WMBF News
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Hundreds gathered at a prayer vigil held at Mt. Olive African Methodist Episcopal Church in Myrtle Beach on Tuesday evening, commemorating the nine lives lost in the church shooting that occurred at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston on the night of Wednesday, June 17, 2015.

“Tonight we embrace each other because we love each other,” NAACP Chapter President Mickey James expressed as everyone held hands to pray for the victims.

People of all different races and religious backgrounds joined hands at Tuesday night's prayer vigil. A vigil many say was like no other, since various preachers, pastors, reverends, city leaders, and elected officials, all addressed the crowd. While speeches may have been different, some say they all had the same powerful message.

Speakers included leaders from several local churches, and city and county leaders including Chairman Mark Lazarus, and Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of President, Brad Dean. 

"I feel like they all end on the same note. They all have a piece, they all have something to say. it was just coming together. But not just this one moment, staying together forever," Princess Morgan said. 

Pastor Leslie Lovett led the vigil, and in his message said that the victims' families will still need support in the weeks to come and unity is needed to prevent evil from taking over again.

“Part of the reason…we are all here today, maybe this is the change we in America need,” Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus said.

As each person took the microphone, many couldn't help but stand up with cheers and applause, sometimes interrupting those with spoke with their support. 

"I thought it was actually fantastic, you heard all kinds of different perspectives. it was full of hope, it was full of unity. and it was full of spirit," Linda Campbell explained. 

Many were so moved by everything going on around them, they realized, everyone in the room, was there for the same reasons.

"It's not just brown skin, it's connecting this nation, and this community," Morgan explained. 

Through a tragedy that some say could easily rip a community apart, many are happy to see the opposite.

"It should have been done a long time ago, and I think we need to bring our country back," Lou Martino said.

"Today, this time, we need to make a statement, where all South Carolinians, and say, no, no, not here, no more," Bennie Swans added. 

"It's time to stand up, it's time to say you know what, we are going to get to the next level," Morgan said.

As many continue to show love and support for the victims and their families, and believe this is certainly the beginning of something extraordinary, Pastor Leslie Lovett, says it doesn't end here.

"It's after the eulogy when the family really need us, so we have to be available, ready to support them, and being our brother's keeper. It don't stop here tonight, it's a continuation," Lovett explained. 

Pastor Lovett wanted people to leave the vigil Tuesday night believing now is the time for change. Lovett believes if people continue to come together, they will not let something like this happen again.

The Myrtle Beach Human Rights Commission was one of the many groups who sponsored the event, according to Mark Kruea, Public Information Officer for the City of Myrtle Beach. The vigil was held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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