Indy church members pray for victims in Charleston church shooting

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(June 18, 2015) -- Thursday evening church members in Indianapolis gathered to show their support for the victims in the Charleston Church shooting rampage. 

St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church is part of the same predominantly black religious organization as the historic church in Charleston that came under attack Wednesday night.

"There is comfort in prayers. We hope to be strengthen in prayer," explained Pastor Lenore Williams with St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Religious leaders from many backgrounds came to the prayer service.

"When we read about passages in the scriptures. That say when one mourns the other weeps. We feel like we have lost family member," said Williams.

Church member Pearla Gholdston attended a service at the Charleston church and met Pastor Pinckney just last year.

"I was saddened and deeply and almost went into shock. I could not believe it.  It was difficult for me to sleep last night because of my knowledge of him," said Gholdston.

Pastor Pinckney, who was also a state senator, was one of nine people killed.

The FBI is investigating this shooting rampage as a hate crime.

"For that violence to take place in the sanctuary directed at people for their color of skin. It is sad.  We are going to pray. All of us are God`s children," said Pastor Lenore Williams with St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The shootings come as Indianapolis is preparing to host two prominent African Methodist Episcopal conferences next month.

Organizers tell our partners at the Indy Star they are planning a prayer service for the shooting victims.

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