Interfaith candlelight vigil shines light on West Michigan

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - An interfaith candle light rally Monday night shined a light on the hot-button issues of immigration, unity, and self-worth.

The event was hosted by Justice For Our Neighbors West Michigan in the hope of extinguishing negative stigmas of diversity in Grand Rapids.

Members of the Islamic, Protestant, and Catholic faiths rallied at the United Methodist Church in downtown Grand Rapids during Donald Trump's visit to West Michigan at the Delta Plex. Topics of conversation rose out of Trump's comments made against immigrants.

UMC Bishop Deb Kiesey said Michigan needs to break free from negative messages being fed to us and that we should think for ourselves.

"We have to speak out against this fear mongering we're being faced with today," said Kiesey. "Candidates have even gone so far as to castigate an entire community. This runs contrary to American principles and traditions. We must embrace our brothers and sisters of all faiths, especially stand with those who are facing persecution and prejudice, and see them as God sees them."

Dozens of people in attendance joined hands for a night of prayer, contemplation, and a chance to be heard. Candles were lit signifying a light that shines in the darkness, spreading a message of hope to those in need. Bill Haggard, district superintendent for United Methodist Church, said Monday's message was based on the coming together of different backgrounds in the face of fear.

"We need to resist that temptation and move from the lowest common denominator and instead continue to support unity and the opportunity we have to connect with our neighbors and connect as a whole," said Haggard.

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