Members of the United Church of Christ Fort Lauderdale hung ribbons on palm trees Sunday in remembrance of the terrorist attack on a Orlando gay nightclub.
Inside the sanctuary, Reverend Patrick Rogers, the church’s senior pastor, dedicated his sermon to those lost in the tragedy and attempted to comfort his flock.
“I was in shock,” Rogers said. “Why would God allow this to happen?”
Investigators are still trying to piece together the events that led to last week’s horrible killing of 49 mostly Latino LGBT people at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Inside a Christian church in northeast Fort Lauderdale, faithful gathered to pay tribute to the departed.
“We felt like the world is out of control,” said Rogers, who announced he had traveled to Orlando to pray for the victims. During the drive home, Rogers said, he and UCC Congregational Care administrator Jim Sargent hardly spoke a word to one another.
Sunday’s service included a blessing of the children by Reverend Barbara Alley along with a booming baritone sound from Ed Turner, who opened the service with a solo singing of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Alley encouraged the children to drink water, the life blood of all the world, she said.
Rogers, an openly gay man, concluded his sermon with a call to the heavens.
“Hope in God, that’s the answer,” Rogers said. “We will not be terrified into submission.”
Around 100 people attended the Sunday morning service where many wrote the names of the victims on ribbons tied to trees outside.