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Community gathers at St. Mark AME to grieve

Sober faces filled the sanctuary at St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church for a prayer vigil in response to the killings of young black men by the police in Baton Rouge, La., and the Twin Cities area as well as the killing of five police officers in Dallas by a sniper. (Photo by Naomi Yaeger)1 / 3
Community members hold hands and sing a hymn during the closing of a prayer vigil on Sunday, July 10. The vigil was in response to the killing of young black men by police as well as the killing of five police officers in Dallas. (Photo by Naomi Yaeger)2 / 3
Grieving communities members packed St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church in Central Hillside on Sunday, July 10. (Photo by Naomi Yaeger) 3 / 3

Sober faces filled the sanctuary at St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church in Duluth as it overflowed with grieving community members. The community prayer vigil was held Sunday, July 10, in response to the killings last week of young black men by police in Baton Rouge, La., and the Twin Cities area as well as the killing of five police officers in Dallas by a sniper with an assault rifle. The pews overflowed with people and many stood around the perimeter of the sanctuary. Over a dozen sat in the basement, which had audio of the service.

Religious leaders from several local churches spoke. Several referred to the story of the Good Samaritan, on the Jericho Road, which coincidentally was the lectionary reading for many Protestant church worship services earlier in the day. "There is a Jericho Road that runs through Duluth," the Rev. Kathy Schuyler said, "Give us the courage to build the Jericho Road as a safe place."

Boisey Johnson read Isaiah 58:12, "And you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell."

Hymns such as "There is a Balm in Gilead" and prayers completed the service.

"Their words really resonated with me," said Duluthian Lisa Fitzpatrick, who held a tissue in her hand to wipe away tears. "It was good to come together in solidarity."

Naomi Yaeger

Naomi Yaeger is a freelance writer and the former editor of the Budgeteer. See her blog at www.DuluthDailyPhoto.com.

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