Detroit AME community mourns following Charleston shooting

Across the country, believers have gathered to pray for those who died in the Charleston church shooting. Here in Detroit, we have an African Methodist Episcopal community as well and it hit close to home.

It may be hundreds of miles away, but it may  as well be the same city for Detroit City Councilman Andre Spivey. He called the pastor of the church, Soutch Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney, his friend.

we preached together at several conferences

"I went back almost 15-20 years. Our lives paralleled. (We're) both 41, wives, two kids, pastors, elected officials. It was so surreal of course I broke down,"Spvey said.

Spivey joined other city and religious leaders Thursday to remember his friend and the other shooting victims at a prayer vigil. Police say the shooter, Dylann Roof - who is white - walked into the historic black church in Charleston and joined a prayer meeting before opening fire. 

Spivey is also the Pastor at St. Paul A.M.E offers this reflection about the shooter 

"Of course I'm angry that he would do this but the Bible I use teaches us to love and not hate," Spivey said.

Religious leaders say the tragic shooting is a harsh reminder that the church is not immune to violence and precautions need to be in place. 

"For security measures we already have those in place and we have several law enforcement officers who attend our church," Spivey said. 

But some say you can't take precautions in the house of God; you can only trust your fellow man and woman.

"How secure can you make a place that's open to the world?" Baber Memorial AME Pastor Larry Simmons said. "We live in risk. The Master we serve lived in risk and at some level we just have to accept that as part of our calling." 

As the investigation into why this tragic shooting took place continues, Spivey says he sends these words of comfort to the family of his dear friend who lost his life too soon.

"Let them know that all his work is not in vain."
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