Courthouse church offers support for grieving community

VIRGINIA BEACH — Located less than a mile from the Municipal Center, the Courthouse Community United Methodist Church held open prayer services on Monday.

The church hosted two sessions with hopes of providing the community a source for comfort, said Lead Pastor Rev. Beth Anderson.

“Right now everyone’s hurting, they’re broken, and they’re scared. And we need to let them know they’re not alone and in the midst of all of this, God is with us,” she said.

Virginia Beach Police Officers stood quietly in the back of the church bowing their heads when the Anderson asked attendees to pray with her.

Anderson spoke behind a podium in front of  the congregation, “we gather together today in our brokenness wounded by a world where we no longer feel safe, Lord.”

The church is a part of the courthouse community that is grieving 12 people lost in Friday’s shooting, 11 of whom were city employees.

Anderson was emotional as she lit 12 memorial candles and prayed for each victim by name.

The crowd responded after each candle lit, “Lord, hear our prayer.”

She also lit four more blue candles for those who were injured, 3 of those people are still in critical condition.

Ava Plemmons is a member of the church and says she prays “anyone affected by this tragedy and their loved ones has continued strength and knows we’re here.”

Anderson said all the ministers at the service have “prayer cards” so people are able to reach out should they need support later.

“We’re not just here today. We’re here tomorrow, we’re here next week, we’re here next year and we will always be here VB strong with our community, courthouse strong,” she said.

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