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LGBT church in Palm Beach Gardens remembers Orlando victims

Posted at 1:53 PM, Jun 19, 2016

A week after the deadliest shooting in our nation’s history, churches around the country and here in South Florida are remembering the victims in Orlando.

An LGBT church in Palm Beach Gardens held a prayer service honoring the 49 lives lost.

RELATED: Special Section | Photos of victims

Members of the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths came together at the Metropolitan Community Church.

The faces of 49 innocent victims that never made it out of Pulse nightclub last Sunday shined by candlelight.

The names of each one was read aloud.

Rev. Dr. Lea Brown, senior pastor of the church, says the shooting has caused unbelievable sorrow for her congregation. “We just go through waves of grief and frustration and rage and grief,” said Brown.

And raised difficult questions about why the shooter targeted the LGBT community. “From my community in particular always brings up messages we receive about, Is this God's punishment? Have we done something to deserve this?” Brown said. “It always raises that specter that we've worked so hard to get us to reclaim our lives.”

Imam Wilfredo Ruiz delivered this message, “The minute we start dividing ourselves and qualifying ourselves as different types of Americans, then the people that are going to be prevailing are the extremists and terrorists,” said Ruiz.

Those who attended the service are still struggling to make sense of the terror and act of hate.

“My brain has problems comprehending someone going into a place and randomly killing people,” said Ron Hartgrove.

Church member Jacquelyn Jamason, said, “Violence of any kind is an awful tragedy.” She added, “We're here to support the families and friends and our community and to show that we're here for them.”

Brown says more grieving rituals honoring the 49 victims will be weaved into ceremonies in the weeks ahead.