Local Church Members Gather To Pray For Charleston

Posted at 5:55 PM, Jun 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-09 01:54:34-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Local members of African Methodist Episcopal churches prayed Thursday for the victims of the Charleston, South Carolina church massacre.

"We have gathered at Greater Bethel in Nashville, to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Charleston, South Carolina," said Reverend Antoni Sinkfield of Greater Bethel AME Church on South Street in Nashville.

Nashville and Charleston are hundreds of miles apart, but prayer has connected the churches.

"Anytime people; red, yellow, black, or white, are hurt, it affects all of us, and thus is not a good situation for our nation," said AME Nashville Presiding Elder Troy Merritt, Jr.

Pastor Clementa Pinckney and eight others, died after a gunman opened fire during their bible study Wednesday night.

"It's just unbelievable, the church, the church is under attack. That someone would come into the church house," said AME church member Nicole Washington.

She joined a small group of people Thursday morning at Greater Bethel to use the power of prayer to help those affected by the tragedy in Charleston.

"I do know the power of prayer travels," Washington added.

Tennessee State Representative Harold M. Love knew Reverend Pinckney, the two pastors and stage legislators met last year in South Carolina.

"And we talked about the challenges of being an state legislature, and pasturing in the AME church, how we balance those two things," State Representative Love said.

This tragedy was sure to spark conversations about safety inside America's churches. It has become an issue members at Greater Bethel have talked about in the past.

"We will talk some more and make sure that we are still feeling as comfortable now that this has happened," said Reverend Sinkfield.

Sinkfield also knew Reverend Pinckney. He worked with him during the year he pastored in South Carolina.