Samuel Rodriguez
Samuel Rodriguez (Courtesy)

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The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) and the Fraternity of Councils and Evangelical Entities of Florida (FRACEEV) will host a prayer service at Iglesia de Dios M.I. in Orlando on Wednesday, June 15 at 7 p.m. EDT to provide hope, faith and love for individuals in the community affected by Sunday's deadly massacre at a gay nightclub. 

"Whether Latino, black, white, straight or gay, one thing unites us and that is we are all made in the image of God," said Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of NHCLC. "The answer to radical hatred is none other than radical love; love for God and for each other. Every life deserves to be loved, cherished and respected. 

"We mourn with the families of the victims and pray for those injured in Orlando," Rodriguez continued. "In addition, we call upon all Americans to come together for the purpose of building a firewall of love, grace, truth and respect against intolerance, hatred, bigotry and violence." 

The shooting in Orlando targeted the LGBT community and left 49 dead and 53 wounded. The nightclub, which calls itself "Orlando's Latin Hotspot," was holding its weekly "Upscale Latin Saturdays" when the rampage occurred. 

"The impact of this act of terrorism in Orlando has been a very hurtful experience for our communities in central Florida," said Bishop Angel Marcial, director of the NHCLC Florida Chapter and president of the Church of God's South Spanish district. "We mourn, stand with and are prepared to fulfill our pastoral duties, in the love of Christ, in order to bless the families that are suffering due to this unspeakable tragedy. We denounce anyone who would use this attack to convey any type of fear theology with the human suffering taking place. Any such individuals do not speak in the name of the Hispanic churches in Florida." 

Wednesday evening's service is open to the public and will unite local residents to "respond to the hurt" of this terrorist attack. Iglesia de Dios M.I. is located at 3325 S Goldenrod Road in Orlando. 

"The clarion call of the NHCLC is to 'be light' in a dark world," said NHCLC Vice President Rev. Tony Suarez, who will attend Wednesday's service in Orlando. "In the midst of the pain, hurt, confusion and fear, we are here to shine the light of Christ. My prayer is that this service can be just one step in bringing peace and healing to Orlando and our nation." 

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