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Churches 'unite' to pray for peace after church shooting

Special unity service held at Riverside Chapel in north Nashville (WZTV).

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Sunday marks one week since a gunman opened fire inside an Antioch church, killing one woman, and injuring several others.

That tragedy is what inspired one local denomination of churches to come together for the first time Saturday evening, to pray for peace in this difficult time.

The goal of the special unity service is for all the parishioners to come as strangers and leave as friends.

"We want to say as Christians, oneness knows no color, oneness knows no gender, oneness knows no age, Jesus said 'By this you know you are my disciples,'" says Pastor Furman Fordham, of Riverside Chapel.

Fordham says it started as an idea among pastors at Seventh-day Adventist Churches across the Metro Nashville area, representing different cultural demographics.

But Sunday's shooting made them want to broaden it out.

"After the unfortunate situation that took place in our community, where we had an African American individual open fire in a Caucasion church, it became obvious this doesn't just need to be unity among pastors we need to invite our congregations."

While they may all be of the same faith, many of the people in the pews had never met before Saturday.

"I think it is extremely important that we, as a nation, and as a community and as a faith-based group, that we come together and express our love for one another in unity and being able to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ," says parishioner Dr. Frank Cardona.

The idea is the congregations are stronger together than alone in the battle against hate.

"It's very sad when things happen at any part of the world, Christians are possibly more able to cope with it. but I would not want to see that again here in Nashville and I'm so sad it did," says Brent Cartwright, who usually attends the Cumberland Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Organizers say moving forward they plan to host monthly events, again bringing all the churches together.

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