Oregon town residents seek solace in church after college massacre

By REUTERS
October 5, 2015 05:23
1 minute read.

 
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ROSEBURG, Ore. - Grieving residents of an Oregon town reeling from a burst of gun violence that left 10 people dead sought solace in church services on Sunday, still bewildered by the massacre and disturbing details coming to light.

At Garden Valley Church, about 250 congregants stood at their seats as vocalists sang the Christian ballad "We Shall Not Be Shaken," then watched a slide show about the victims after the minister asked children in the sanctuary to be excused.

"For Roseburg, this was 9/11," Pastor Craig Schlesinger said from the pulpit, referring to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Worshipers stood with hands raised, some wiping tears from their faces and embracing each other.

Across town at the tiny Umpqua Unitarian Universalist Church, congregants cried openly, hugged and held hands as they sang the civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome."

"Who are you now that this has happened?" the Rev. Annie Holmes asked the 60 congregants. "Of course there's anger and fear and sadness and grief beyond description."

The outpouring of emotion came amid new disclosures about Thursday's carnage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, the deadliest US mass shooting in two years and the bloodiest in Oregon's modern history.

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