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Candler School of Theology hosts prayer vigil in wake of Charleston shooting

Emory’s Candler School of Theology will host a prayer vigil Friday in response to the June 17 shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

The prayer vigil will take place at noon in Candler’s Wesley Teaching Chapel. There will also be a journal available for writing prayers to send to the Emanuel AME congregation.

Nine people were killed when a gunman opened fire in the historic African American church. Local and federal law enforcement officials are investigating the shooting as a hate crime. Dylann Storm Roof, a white 21-year-old man, was arrested Thursday in connection with the case, according to Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen.

“Churches are places of sanctuary, and ‘Mother Emanuel’ is all the more significant for its long history of commitment to the struggle for justice, having among its founders Denmark Vesey, who was executed for his efforts to end the violence of slavery,” Candler Dean Jan Love wrote in a message to Candler faculty, staff and students. “More recently, Emanuel’s pastor had worked with other church leaders to organize constructive responses to police violence in Charleston in the aftermath of the Walter Scott shooting.

“In response to this terrible act of violence, Candler expresses its solidarity with the people of Emanuel AME Church,” Love said. “As we mourn together the incalculable loss of the lives that were taken, we encourage all members of the Candler community to pray for the continuing ministry of this historic congregation, and most especially for the families of those whose lives were taken.”

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