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Abilene church pastor not living in fear after shootings

ABILENE, Texas - While parishioners at Abilene’s Grace Lutheran Church feel there is so much violence in the world after several mass shootings, they believe hate cannot be fought with hate.

Instead, they believe “prayer is needed to light the world,” according to Pastor Leslie Dunlap. She feels particularly worried that people are becoming complacent with gun violence after recent attacks in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs.

“Don't normalize this. Don't let this be the norm,” said Dunlap.

Wednesday evening, Grace Lutheran Church on South Pioneer Drive held a vigil for the victims of gun violence. Dunlap wants people to pray for an end to the shootings plaguing the country.

“From those from Las Vegas, those from the different areas, the young boy in San Antonio that was shot just because he was in the back seat of his dad's car the other night,” said Dunlap.

However, the latest shooting in Sutherland Springs is most disheartening to her because it was in a place or worship. While the idea of a gunman entering her church frightens her, she believes “hate should not be fought with hate.”

“I'm not locking those doors, I’m not going to hide in fear, I’m not going to bring a gun into the Church. I’ll take all precautions to protect God's congregation that's in Church and we have faith God is with us,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap said she wants families affected by gun violence to know they’re not alone and that God hasn’t abandoned them.


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