Churchgoers gather for early morning prayer circle outside State House

Churchgoers gather for early morning prayer circle outside State House

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A group of Midlands churchgoers woke up early Tuesday morning to gather outside the State House in prayer after back-to-back protests over the last three days in downtown Columbia.

The group was made up of members from Elevation Church and Forward City Church, both in Columbia.

With the death of George Floyd leading to days of nationwide protests calling for an end to police brutality and violence against minorities, Elevation Church Pastor Taylor Shytle said he’s been praying – not about what to say, but what to do. Just like they marched in the Battle of Jericho, the pastor said he believes now is the time to march and pray.

At 7 a.m. Tuesday, several church members met downtown and marched to the State House.

The pastor referenced the Ten Commandments and the one considered the greatest of them all. It’s also the one he said applies best to the protests we’ve seen in downtown Columbia and across the country.

“Love your neighbor as yourself and that’s what I want to focus on,” he said. “How can you love your neighbor as yourself if you don’t know your neighbor? How can you love someone of a different color, of different experiences, of different demographics if you don’t know them? So, my encouragement to people and what we’re trying to do is have conversations with people that look different than us, that have different backgrounds, different experiences, different upbringings, so that we can truly love one another like Christ has called us to love.”

Some church members got down on their hands and knees in prayer outside the State House. Pastor Shytle said they prayed for the community, the city, and city leaders like Mayor Steve Benjamin.

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