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Dozens gather to remember shooting victims

Posted June 19, 2015

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— A mass shooting 300 miles away hit home Friday for those gathered inside a Chapel Hill church.

A prayer service for the nine people killed Wednesday night at a church in Charleston, S.C., brought a standing-room crowd to St. Paul AME Church, where organizers wanted to bring peace and unity in the wake of the shooting.

"In spite of this tragedy, in spite of violence, the body of Christ still has a word to say, and that body of Christ still will not run and hide because of this tragedy," said Rev. Thomas Nixson, pastor of St. Paul AME.

Nixson said one of the victims, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was a friend, as both men served together on committees for the African Methodist Episcopal denomination.

Most of the attendees at the Chapel Hill service didn't have such a close connection, but some said they still feel there's a lesson to be learned from the tragedy.

"In tragedy, there's always something positive to come out of it, and I think that whatever that gunman had in mind, God is still in charge," Jennifer Evans said. "I pray that everybody gets together, and I tell my children to have a friend from every nationality so we won't be ignorant of one another, because the more you can learn about somebody, you may not agree with them, but you can be respectful in our disagreements."

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