Community prayer vigil for victims of racially motivated mass shooting to be held September 5

In the aftermath of a tragic and senseless act of violence at the Dollar General in New Town, the community is coming together in a powerful display of unity and healing on September 5. Residents are invited to join hands and hearts at St. Paul’s by the Sea Episcopal Church to honor the victims and stand against racism.


Led by Rev. Dr. Helen Jackson of St. Andrew African Methodist Episcopal Church, the community prayer vigil is organized in collaboration with faith leaders from various churches, transcending denominations and backgrounds to emphasize the strength of solidarity during adversity.

The event will be held at the historic St. Paul’s by the Sea Episcopal Church, located at 465 11th Ave. N., on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, at 6:00 pm.

Several City Officials have been invited to attend. The vigil will include solemn prayers, readings from Holy Scripture, and moments of reflection, all aimed at offering comfort to those affected by the tragic incident.

Rev. Dr. Helen D. Jackson stated, “The difficulties of today demand a clear vision and a renewed courage to transform our society and provide tranquility for all. It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from; each of us can make a positive difference if we commit ourselves to do so.”

Rev. Louanne Loch, Rector of St. Paul’s by the Sea Episcopal Church, emphasized the importance of community unity: “During times of darkness, our unity shines as a beacon of hope. This vigil is not just a gathering but a powerful statement that love and compassion will always prevail over hatred in Jacksonville and the Beaches communities.”

All community members, regardless of religious affiliation, are encouraged to attend and stand as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the shared commitment to fostering an environment of harmony and acceptance.

READ: Jacksonville police release victim and shooter identities in Dollar General mass shooting

About St. Andrews African Methodist Episcopal Church:

St. Andrews African Methodist Episcopal Church in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, seeks to serve, worship, and glorify God under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Helen D. Jackson.

About St. Paul’s by the Sea Episcopal Church:

St. Paul’s by the Sea Episcopal Church, the oldest religious congregation in the Jacksonville Beaches, is renowned for its rich faith, community service, and inclusivity history. The church’s commitment to embodying Christ’s teachings is exemplified through powerful worship, passionate service to the community, and its dedication to fostering a sense of belonging for all.

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