Church members pray for peace at local church vigil

Published: May. 31, 2023 at 11:38 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Church and community members came together hoping to change hearts at a local prayer vigil Wednesday.

Members of the community asked people to come together and exchange violence for love.

The prayer vigil was planned more than a month ago by Greater Saint Luke Baptist Church, but it comes just days after 14-year-old Cyrus Carmack-Belton was gunned down in the street running from a convenience store.

The church was hoping to end all violence with the power of prayer.

At the Greater Saint Luke Baptist Church, prayer fills the church.

Columbia resident Brenda Kitchings brought her 12-year-old granddaughter to the vigil.

“Because of the trouble that her mother is having with her at home. She brought it to me and it’s a good time. Because of this prayer, she needed to be under prayer and covered by the blood to get a new direction in life,” said Kitchings.

The church’s pastor, Michael H. Baker, hoped a higher power will lead to change in the area.

“If these prayers are answered, our prayer by the Saints, then we will see a turnaround in the calamity, in the confusion, in the chaos that is going on in our community,” Baker said.

A long-time middle school teacher, Keith Tolen said “I believe prayer is the answer for everything. The scripture tells us God created the heavens and the Earth. There is no question about that. If prayer is not the answer, we are all in trouble.”

Former Superintendent Richland School District Two Baron Davis, Ph.D., bowed his head asking for area students to remain safe.

“With so much going on in the Midlands, I just wanted to come out and spread love for our students. So I’m here to give our students a prayer. I wish them a healthy summer and for a safe return for a great school year next year,” said Davis

Columbia police reported 15 murders in 2022. People at Greater Saint Luke Baptist Church said one murder is one too many.

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