RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As the day of Gun Rally at Capitol Square draws near, an interfaith vigil to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy of peaceful non-violence will meet at Centenary United Methodist Church at 411 E. Grace St., 9-10:30.
Leaders of faith representing a wide variety of faith traditions will lead a group in prayer, reflection, and silence.
Additionally, “For Richmond,” a local organization that connects dozens of churches in the greater Richmond area, is hoping to ease the fears going into Monday’s rally by inviting congregations all over the commonwealth to pray for peace.
'For Richmond’ is a network of Churches in metro Richmond that work together for the city,” said For-Richmond co-director Anna Shenk.
This isn’t the first time For-Richmond has brought churches together following controversy in the commonwealth. In 2017, they held multiple city-wide days of prayer in response to the unite the right riots in Charlottesville.
"We really want to be praying that those individuals do not insight violence,” said Shenk. "We know that the majority of the people who are going to be there Monday are coming to support their second amendment rights.”
Saturday House Republican leader Todd Gilbert released a statement via Twitter condemning anyone coming to the to gun rally to incite violence saying in part: ‘House Republicans reject any attempt by any group to infuse any kind of twisted or extreme worldview into this fundamentally democratic exercise.’
The rally organizer and President of the Virginia Citizen Defense League, Philip Van Cleave is echoing those same sentiments, calling for the event to be one of peaceful rallying.
"We’ve done this since 2003 every year always peaceful not one incident,” said Van Cleave. "We’ve been in constant contact with the Richmond, Capitol and State police any information that we’ve gotten that looks like there might be trouble we’ve passed along to them.”
“My sincere hope for Monday is that it is a constructive time marked by people treating each other with dignity, respect, and peace,” said Shenk.
Monday the Centenary United Methodist Church in Richmond says they will also be holding a prayer event before the gun rally begins at 9 a.m. on 411 East Grace Street.
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