Crowd gathers to remember shooting victims [with gallery]

Published 12:04 am Thursday, June 25, 2015

calloway and karthaus

There was standing room only in the auditorium of Andalusia City Hall Wednesday night as Christians gathered to remember the nine people who died in a Charleston church massacre a week ago.

The pastors of Andalusia First Baptist churches – Dr. Fred Karthaus and the Rev. Darryl Calloway – led the interdenominational service that featured praise and worship music as well as prayers for the families of the deceased.

“In the midst of the trial that took place, look what is going on in Andalusia, Ala. Look what God is doing with us,” Calloway said to the crowd that represented almost every church in the city. “Our hearts go out to victims and their families; and also to the young man who is accused and his family.”

In his prayers, Calloway said, “We have one lord, one faith, one baptism.We thank you for the oneness in the name of Jesus.”

Karthaus read biographies of each of the nine victims, including the Rev. Clementa Pickney, the pastor who was leading the Bible study before the shootings occurred. After each biography, a local minister led prayers for the victim’s family.

As each biography was read, Mayor Earl Johnson and his wife, Sylvia, lighted a candle in memory of each victim.

Karthaus also prayed for the young man accused in their deaths, Dylann Roof, 21.

“If his actions reflect his heart, we know he is in need of a Savior,” Karthaus said. “We pray he would know the lord; and that God would take the tragedy of his life and turn it in to a triumph.”

Both ministers said they were pleased with the turnout.

“I’m not surprised,” Calloway said of the crowd. “I believe in big things.”

Karthaus said he was particularly pleased with the crowd because the service came together so quickly.

Donations were collected to be sent to Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston.