Local communities honor CT school shooting victims - FOX Carolina 21

Local communities honor CT school shooting victims

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People in the Upstate mourn, pray for victims of Connecticut shooting at Springwell Baptist Church in Taylors. (Dec. 14, 2012/FOX Carolina) People in the Upstate mourn, pray for victims of Connecticut shooting at Springwell Baptist Church in Taylors. (Dec. 14, 2012/FOX Carolina)
Supporters gathered along Woodruff Road for a vigil on Saturday. (Dec. 15, 2012/FOX Carolina) Supporters gathered along Woodruff Road for a vigil on Saturday. (Dec. 15, 2012/FOX Carolina)
TAYLORS, SC (FOX Carolina) -

People across the country are sounding off online and in groups, sending thoughts and prayers to the families affected by the Connecticut school shooting.

In the Upstate, vigils are being organized by churches to give their communities a chance to grieve together.

Friday night, last minute arrangements by leaders at Springwell Baptist Church brought parishioners together around 9:30. The crowd came a little late, and was small, but their purpose was heartfelt.

They said all day they've had heavy hearts thinking about their own families, their own children and praying for the families in Connecticut who have lost so much, so close to Christmas.

Executive Pastor Bill Simmons said his message come church time on Sunday will encourage his congregation to learn from Friday's events.

SLIDESHOW: Vigils held across the western Carolinas

"[We should] be grateful for what we do have and to also open up our eyes to seeing around us people who have need and sometimes the cast outs. You can't fear every person could be like this 20-year-old that would do something this evil, but how many times do we avoid people who are struggling and keep them at distance when maybe we could've been the answer that could've kept them from doing something like this," said Simmons.

Simmons said the group could have just prayed at home on their own, but prayer together adds power to their message.

Other vigils like these will go on throughout the community. Saturday afternoon, dozens gathered together along Woodruff Road in Greenville for a vigil. The group held signs calling for prayer for the victims and end to violence.

On Sunday, a group of teens helped organize a memorial at Patton Park in Hendersonville to pray for and remember the victims in Connecticut. They wore green and white, Sandy Hook Elementary School's colors, and released balloons in their honor.

The Chaplains of the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office has planned a prayer vigil for Tuesday night at 7 p.m. outside of the sheriff's office at 8045 Howard St. The sheriff's office will have cards for people to sign to send their condolences to the victim's families and to let them and the first responders know that the Spartanburg County community is praying for them.

Other community members have planned a community-wide balloon launch at the Greer Amphitheater for Sunday at 4 p.m. According to Marilyn Styles with In Touch Community Outreach, people are asked to launch multi-colored balloons in remembrance of loved ones along with green and white balloons released in remembrance of the Newtown shooting victims.

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