Orangeburg prays for healing

Nov 16, 2017

PANTHER 2017 fall prayer vigil

Orangeburg Mayor Butler is at left and Trinity UMC pastor the Rev. Mack McClam is at the podium during the Nov. 14 prayer vigil. (Panther photo by Olanma Hazel Mang)

A community prayer vigil was held at Trinity United Methodist Church in light of the recent shootings in Orangeburg.

Trinity pastor the Rev. Mack C. McClam led the vigil, which began at 6 p.m. Nov. 14. It focused on healing, peace and hope for the community.

“We will unite in this sanctuary and refocus on the power of prayer,” McClam said.

Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler attended the event. He prayed for the family of Claflin senior Dravious Terry, who was shot and killed on Nov. 10 in an off-campus incident in which his roommate is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

“This community has always prevailed; it will always prevail,” Butler said.

The Orangeburg Department of Public Safety has a good response time, the mayor said, and provides a safe environment for the citizens.

“I don’t want the citizens to start panicking and getting scared,” Butler said.

He also said that Orangeburg is generally a great city with good people looking out for their neighbors.

McClam’s address at the vigil focused on the need to take action. He said people need to be the change they want to see.

“We talk about black lives matter and surely our lives matter, but we still visit more violence upon each other than any other race,” he said.

Reggie Haskins, an attendee, said it is important to lead by example and train the youth in the right path.

“The church has to reach out to families and start in the home,” Haskins said.

Claflin University was invited to the vigil. President Henry Tisdale and Dr. Karl S. Wright, the provost, attended the event.

Wright said the church brought the community together to pray for the students and the community at large.

“We had some violence that created a lot of pain,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re one people and when one person hurts, all of us hurt.”

Wright said the university ensures it provides a safe environment that encourages learning, growth and development.

“We have an obligation to make sure you’re safe and secure here. It’s always our number one priority,” he said.

Sadie Jarvis, the director of counseling at the university, said that more has to be done to enable students to express their grief.

Jarvis, who also attended the event, said the university should hold a one-day conference to inform students about gun policies.

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