Religious groups at, near Virginia Tech team up for April 16 events

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Three weeks from Friday night will be the start of the 10-year anniversary weekend of the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

The university has lots of things planned, but several groups have started their own events. The group We Are One has worked around Virginia Tech's calendar so as to not take away from anything they have planned.

This will just be a more spiritual coming together on April 16 involving several different faiths.

"We actually have the gathering itself which is going from 5 to 7 p.m. From 5 to 6 p.m. is an indoor service in Commonwealth Ballroom, we're pretty excited about that venue. There's probably room for close to 2,000 people," Joe Davidson with We Are One said.

There will also be meetings with first responders after that, and prayer tables set up all day around campus for people.

"It's not about trying to convert people or trying to proselytize. We just want to love them, where they're at and hear their stories too and stand and support them," Jared King, another organizer, said.

To this point, nearly two dozen different churches and ministries have joined up to take part in what is happening.

"If we could get a few people together that disagree on some things, that wouldn't do everything the same way, some really cool stuff could happen," Pastor Jim Pace with New Life Christian Fellowship said.

"4-16 touched us all. It's not they and them, this is we and us. It happened as a community," Pastor Gary Has with Jubilee Christian Center added.

But all being Christian faith, could there be any problems with all this happening on Easter Sunday?

"I think the joy of the resurrection, the message of the resurrection that death does not get the last word, that suffering does not get the last word, is a message that people want to embrace," Father David Sharland with the Newman Catholic Campus Ministry said.

And although this is faith-based, if people don't have a religious background or have different beliefs, they are still welcome to participate.

"One thing we have in common is love for one another and respect for one another, and those who come who don't believe in religion, there's still a need to be with one another," Reverend Bob Anderson with Straight Street Ministries New River Valley said.

We Are One and the religious leaders said they will be doing 24 hours of prayer starting at midnight Sunday. They're still developing other things to do that weekend as well.

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