MONTCLAIR, NJ - An interfaith group of almost 100 Montclair residents filled the fellowship hall of Union Baptist Church in Montclair on Saturday to honor the nine lives lost in the South Carolina church shooting last week.
Pastor Campbell B. Singleton, III told the group that in Montclair, the work that the clergy, Township Council and Police Department are doing to build relationships among people with various ethnic and religious backgrounds is paramount in the fight against hatred and violence. He said, "We are achieving something significant in the midst of all of this violence and hatred."
Rev. Clementa Pinckney and eight other victims of the Emmanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C. were gunned down by 21-year-old Dylann Roof during a Wednesday night church service.
Those killed during the tragedy included Clementa Pinckney, 41, senior pastor; Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45, Assistant Pastor and Newark native; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Ethel Lance, 70; Susie Jackson, 87; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Myra Thompson, 59; Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; and DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49.
Roof is currently in police custody.
Singleton aid, "We stand with you, we weep with you." Speaking of the church who became the subject of the gruesome crime scene and the members who must mourn the loss of their church family members and pastor.
Sister Joanne Spencer prayed for comfort of the family members of the victims. She also spoke of the power of forgiveness and the need for the church family to support one another. "Bond together, be family for one another," she prayed.
Cynthia Sadler, who is a congregant of Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, addressed the attendees reading a prayer that her Rabbi read to his congregation on Friday entitled Prayer for Emmanuel by Nancy S. Taylor, Senior Minister of Old South Church.
Singleton, III continued adding that Montclair is ahead of its time with community policing and race and interfaith relations. "Perhaps we can be an example to the country."