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Local AME church holds prayer vigil for Charleston shooting victims

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — The church in South Carolina where the shooting took place has a sister church in central Indiana.

Thursday night, the Bethel AME Church in Noblesville held a prayer vigil to honor the shooting victims.

The pastor said this tragedy brought him back to the Birmingham church bombing in the 1960s.

He’s turning to prayer for healing, for both his own heart, as well as his congregation.

Through song and prayer, the congregation at Bethel AME Church in Noblesville is trying to cope with the shooting tragedy.

“I just wanted to bring us together in prayer that we might be able to lift up our brothers and sisters in Charleston who are hurting,” Rev. Mallory Tarrance said.

Rev. Tarrance said after these events, most often people wonder why it happened.

“We could search our whole lives trying to find an answer to this,” he said. “This is an unfortunate circumstance of life and we have individuals that their minds do not always function as they should and it’s not something God planned out and God wanted to happen.”

He said his church opens its arms to people of every race and that the shooting suspect would have been welcomed at that bible study.

“Although we are African Methodist Episcopal, the African only denotes our heritage, but the church is for everyone,” he said.

Church member Mike Fischer said he’s heart broken that something like this could have been motivated by racism.

He hopes this tragedy can start a conversation of peace and healing.

“I think we need to pull together as a community to try to get some resolution,” he said.

Rev. Tarrance said that he’s received calls from other Indy area pastors, offering their prayers and condolences for the tragedy.