Faith leaders join together for Aug. 12 service

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- People from several different faiths marked the Aug. 12 anniversary Monday night by coming to First Baptist Church on West Main Street to express a shared message of love.

The service included music, speeches, prayers and several moments of silence.

"Coming together like this will allow us to see that we are more alike than we are different," said Carolyn Dillard, the pastor at Zion Hill Baptist Church.

"I think our faiths, whatever they are, call us to love one another," said Rabia Povich, a Chegara in the Sufi Order.

That was also the message from Marissa Blair, who survived the car attack on Aug. 12, but watched her friend, Heather Heyer, die. Blair originally did not want to speak at the service, but she was inspired after hearing others.

"What I want you guys to take away from this is love," Blair said. "Choose love. Even though people may be hateful toward you or hateful towards our ideals, you literally have to love the hell out of people. We're all facing our own battles. We're all going through our own wars, and we're in this together."

"I do believe that the city is coming together to make progress on unification," said Dillard. "But the racial divide is very strong in this community."

During her speech, Rev. Jill Duffield, the editor of Presbyterian Outlook, apologized to the congregation that it took the white nationalist violence of Aug. 12 to wake her up to the plight of people of color. She said people of faith are called to lead the way.

"We are reminded over and over again to work for justice and to stand on the side of the oppressed," Duffield said. "We are admonished that God will judge us based on how we treat those being marginalized and those being hurt in this world."



 
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