GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A handful of local churches in Grand Rapids stood in solidarity with the gay community Wednesday evening by hosting a prayer service for the victims of the Orlando shooting massacre.
"Since this violence was targeted against this community, it seemed only right that we stand up and make sure that they [the LGBT community] know that we love them, care for them; this is a safe place for them," said Senior Minister Todd Petty with Park Church.
Park Church and 21 other interfaith partners organized the event and gave Grand Rapids a chance to grieve for those lives lost and impacted by the weekend hate attack. And despite being thousands of miles away, Pastor Dan Furman with Hudsonville United Church of Christ said the shooting touched everyone.
"I have a church member who had two friends killed in the club," Furman said.
Around 600 people attended to remember the 49 individuals whose lives were cut short last weekend. The churches made it a point that their places of worship welcomes and accepts all people.
"For me, love is love," said Pastor Furman. "I don't see love as sin. I see love as love."
"Let's put a balm on the wound and be here for each other," Petty said. "And go out into the world with hope so we can make a difference for good.