CLARKSTON, Mich. (FOX 2) - Not all of the pews were full but the hearts of those in them, were. Dozens gathered to pray for their neighbors in Oxford at the Calvary Lutheran Church in Clarkston.
The village is about 14 miles southwest of where the school shooting took place, but has a direct connection to it.
Seventeen-year-old Madisyn Baldwin, one of the four teens killed in the shooting, was a student within Clarkston Community Schools for years. Two of her younger siblings still attend school there.
"We always say it’s a small world and when something like this happens you realize just how small it is," said Pastor Jonathan Heierman, Calvary Lutheran Church.
Clarkston Superintendent Dr. Shawn Ryan says Madisyn’s old teachers and friends in Clarkston are devastated.
"They’re very much grieving," he said. "This is a very personal loss. She had very strong connections here in the Clarkston schools, and in our community.
"Those connections we have with students, they’re students with us for life and when they move on, we stay connected to them."
The four shooting victims at Oxford High School who lost their lives in the attack.
A common thread linking the many vigils over the past three days – clergymen offering up prayers not just for the victims, survivors, and their families, but also suspected shooter Ethan Crumbley and his parents.
One of whom also has Clarkston ties.
Crumbley’s mother Jennifer appears to have worked at a local realtor’s office, although employees there would not confirm it. She also graduated from Clarkston High School in 1996.
"I think that if you’re a parent anywhere, anywhere near here, you’re feeling for these families," said Nikki Novak, Clarkston resident.
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Novak, a Clarkston mom, attended Thursday’s vigil along with her school-aged children.
"They all have anxiety, they’re afraid," she said. "I want to remind them that God is in control. Try not to live with his fear and we’ll get through this together."
"While it’s sad that a tragedy brings us together, at least it does," said Pastor Heierman. "And I think there's something in that, (which) gives us new strength, and gives us the ability then to move forward."