Religiously diverse group responds to Charlottesville with vigil in Fountain Hills

FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz - It's a Methodist church, but the congregation is religiously diverse.

"It's a chance to come together and encourage one another in what's been otherwise a pretty difficult week for a lot of people," said Pastor David Felten of The Fountains - A United Methodist Church. Felten, along with other religious leaders in the community, decided to host a multi-faith vigil for solidarity. Inviting anyone, from anywhere, to have a healthy discussion about unity.

"There are some points of view that I don't think there's any discussion possible," Felten said. "I would not imagine that Martin Luther King Jr. would sit with the Grand Dragon of the KKK to talk about the pros and cons of lynching. It's just a nonissue."

There are clear issues across America right now. Protests have turned violent in several cities including Charlottesville, Virginia-- which was the inspiration for this vigil in the first place.

"There is fear in the Jewish community," said Rabbi John Linder of Temple Solel. Linder says Felten reached out to him earlier in the week and he felt compelled to join.

"It's more important than ever to join together tonight, to connect with our brothers and sisters of all traditions and stand for our common good," Linder said.

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone joined the congregation of around 200 people and one dog. Many came from different religions and backgrounds, but they all shared a similar belief.

"We need to be vocal and raise our voices about what we value," Felten said.

The program lasted about an hour. And there were no opposing views in or outside the church.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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