Local church launches 9-day vigil in wake of Virginia Beach mass shooting

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A local church is offering help and healing for anyone in the area who needs help after the Virginia Beach Municipal Center mass shooting.

Unity of Bon Air launched a nine-day vigil called ‘Novena’ for community members to pray for the victims and perform acts of kindness.

The goal of the vigil is to recite daily the prayer of peace and unity. Unity of Bon Air will also be hosting a daily prayer at the church at noon.

“Calling forth these actions of love. Actions and words of love in the face of hatred, in the face of division,” Reverend, Senior Minister Laura Bennett said.

The church was holding a concert Friday when members heard news of the mass shooting.

“That whole concert became a spontaneous vigil for the people of Virginia Beach,” Rev. Bennett said.

Bennett told 8News the church just wants people to know they are not alone.

Each day of the vigil calls for a specific action. 

“Any violent act that occurs one human being to another,” Rev. Bennett said. “We’re just holding this vigil to uplift all of humankind.” 

Monday night’s specific action is to send someone a loving message in Virginia Beach. Along with the messages the church plans on sending a monetary donation.

“There are people who love them and who are with them in prayer and spirit,” Rev. Bennett added.

The nine-day vigil will conclude Monday, June 10th with a concert at 6 at the church.

If you can’t make it members suggest finding a quiet time to pray and reflect.

“So whether someone can come in community together to pray or not they can have their own vigil and I would encourage them to do that,” Susan Green said. “To take that time.”

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