Hundreds of Christians took to the streets of Baltimore on Saturday, praying for healing in the city.
The third annual Bless Baltimore Prayer Motorcade drew members of several churches, who started their day at Rash Field downtown and worked their way through the city, stopping for prayer along the way.
The motorcade ended with an enthusiastic prayer service at Frederick Douglass High School in West Baltimore, where preachers and singers took turns praising God and praying for the city.
"God said, 'Baltimore is no challenge for me to fix!'" said Bishop Marcus A. Johnson Sr. of New Harvest Ministries in East Baltimore. He is vice president of the Multi-Cultural Prayer Movement, which sponsored the motorcade.
Pastors said they would not be deterred by the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., in which nine worshippers were fatally shot. Dylann Roof, 21, has been arrested in the case.
Others referred to the April rioting that shook the city after the death of Freddie Gray, a West Baltimore man who died after being injured while in police custody. One stop was at the intersection of North Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue, and the final stop was across from Mondawmin Mall — two of the sites of rioting and looting the day of Gray's funeral. In addition, officials have said that some students at Frederick Douglass High were among those who confronted police that day.
Bishop Clifford Johnson Jr. of Mount Pleasant Church and Ministries in Northeast Baltimore said the church is a "sleeping giant" that has been awakened by these acts of violence.
Bishop Angel Nunez of the Bilingual Christian Church in East Baltimore said he was heartened to see members of different churches praise God in solidarity.
"Our goal is to bring the churches together, to tear down any walls of division," he said.