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Clergy Members Lead Healing Event Following Summer Violence

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Christian clergy leaders lead a walk in Charlottesville Christian clergy leaders lead a walk in Charlottesville
The walk ended with a prayer service at the pavilion The walk ended with a prayer service at the pavilion
Healing4Charlottesville organized the event Healing4Charlottesville organized the event
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Christian clergy leaders from across the country gathered on Saturday, December 2, to lead Charlottesville community members in a healing event in the aftermath of the violence on August 12.

The Healing4Charlottesville group led this walk and prayer service in hopes of promoting racial equity through bringing community members together and having them set aside their differences for the common goal of prayer.

“We may be a divided nation, but we're a united church, may repentance start with us,” says Larry Ross, the event’s coordinator.

The walk was intended to help bring unity to the community following a summer of strife.

“Like most of America, I wept with Charlottesville on August the 12 because Virginia is the birthplace of our country,” says Will Ford of Marketplace Leadership.

Participants from all different backgrounds gathered at a number of churches before coming together for a walk through the city that was capped with a prayer service at the pavilion on the Downtown Mall.

During the walk, the group stopped and prayed at a number of places, including where Heather Heyer lost her life.

“Churches black and white every different kind of group as starting points for our prayer walks, we’re walking hand-in-hand praying together,” says Mark Beliles, founder of Healing4Charlottesville.

Event leaders addressed Tim Heaphy's report that was released on Friday, December 1, that placed blame on a number of city officials.

The event leaders say that these city officials are at fault, too, but that the reasons behind the violence go further than that.

“I believe the blame certainly can be placed upon public officials, where they have failed, and there’s a place for all of that, but we ourselves are saying today a lot of the divisions, all of the violence, there are deeper roots that go back generations,” says Beliles. “And even today, and that starts with us. We believe the blame focus it here, not somewhere else.”

The group says its work in the community is far from over.

“We want to address the problems of the inequities in education, we want to address the problems of criminal justice, and where we need to see those things happening,” says Beliles. “So there’s a lot of different things we’re going to be working on.”

Organizers from the Healing4Charlottesville group say they have outlined seven initiatives to work on in the coming year.

They say they plan to work with other leaders throughout the city to promote equality.

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