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Churchgoers and faith leaders stand united ahead of Monument Ave. rally

RICHMOND, Va. -- The night before the planned pro-confederate Monument Avenue rally, a crowd of about 100 people went to St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Richmond.

Those gathered came from all different backgrounds and wanted to get together to show that the community stands as one.

“Events like this give communities an opportunity to give their best and show their best in the face of challenges,” Rev. Dr. Bradley Hauff said.

Hauff was one of several faith leaders who took turns addressing the crowd in the sanctuary. They too have different beliefs and backgrounds but their message was the same.

They want people to focus on justice and compassion for others.

The recent violence in Charlottesville has stoked fears about what might happen and who may show up for the Richmond rallies.

Hauff said an interfaith gathering can help bring the community closer.

“Light shines the brightest when it’s in the darkness,” Hauff added. “It’s in moments of darkness despair and fear that people of faith and love can shine forth.”

Several of the religious leaders gathered Friday night plan to either attend the rallies Saturday and offer their support there or they'll help with other interfaith events planned throughout the weekend.