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Orlando shooting spurs Carroll religious groups, PFLAG to plan vigil

Six Carroll County organizations will lead an interfaith vigil Saturday in remembrance of those killed in the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

St. Paul's United Church of Christ, Islamic Society of Carroll County, Cedarhurst Unitarian Universalists, Grace Lutheran Church and Westminster Ministerium along with PFLAG, an advocacy group focusing on LGBTQ issues, are sponsoring the vigil, which starts at 7 p.m. at Belle Grove Park, across from St. Paul's in Westminster.

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On June 12, a man, later identified as Omar Mateen, walked into Pulse, a gay club in Orlando, and opened fire, killing 49 club-goers and injuring at least 53 people, in what has been called the worst mass shooting in the country's history.

The vigil will be outside, barring any rain, and will include reflection, a candle lighting and a chance to pray in an interfaith fashion, said the Rev. Marty Kuchma, of St. Paul's.

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Kuchma asks that people who plan to attend bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on. In the case of rain, the vigil will move to St. Paul's, he said.

So far, response has been good, Kuchma said.

"It's a time to seek peace and comfort and meaning together," he said.

This is the first time the organizations have worked together to lead a vigil. They came together to talk about how the community was affected by the events in Orlando, Kuchma said.

"And we have choices to make in our community about how we respond," he said.

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