Midland interfaith vigil promotes peace

A vigil was held in Midland on Friday to honor victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting that happened last weekend. (Photo: WEYI/WSMH)

Midland, Mich.

A vigil was held in Midland on Friday to honor victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting that happened last weekend.

The vigil was held at the United Church of Christ in Midland. It was organized by Midland Area Interfaith Friends Group. The group says they remembered victims while promoting peace.

Dozens of community members packed the pews.

Pastor Roger Pancost says the goal is to support Jewish families in Mid-Michigan. “Knowing that they will feel vulnerable after something that horrific happened,” he says.

Co-director of Midland Area Interfaith Friends Group, Umbereen Jamil, says it’s a celebration of shared humanity.

“It’s family. This is what you do when family is hurting. You come together,” Jamil says.

She says she knows what it’s like to be attacked for religion.

“As Muslims we’re very sensitive to all of this, especially so the last few years, so much has happened,” she says.

Jewish worshiper, Sheldon Messing from Temple Beth El says he is grateful for the support.

“We’ve gotten such support and outpouring of sympathy,” Messing says. “These tragic events bring out the best in people,” he continued.

While the pain lingers, organizers says their future is a timeless message.

“Love will not be silenced by hate and by fear,” Pastor Pancost says.

Organizers say they are happy children were in the audience. They say the lessons of peace and unity start at a young age.

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