Area congregations praying for victims of Orlando shooting - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Area congregations praying for victims of Orlando shooting

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Orlando might be several hundreds of miles away, but congregations here in eastern Iowa are praying for those affected by the nightclub shooting.

"At the very beginning of church today, we had something...joys and sorrows, and we put a stone in the bowl today for the sorrow that everyone must be feeling," said church member, Cindy Wiese. 

Authorities say at least 50 people were killed early Sunday morning,  when the gunman, 29-year-old Omar Mateen started shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub. "The suspect is dead, he appeared to be carrying a rifle...an assault type rifle and a handgun," said Chief John Mina of the Orlando police department.

Mateen's father told NBC News his son was angry after recently seeing two men kissing. 

Back here at home, during service, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Dubuque has their thoughts on Orlando. "The more we get to know each other, the less pain and disagreement there will be between us," said Linda Ressler, church board president.

It's a congregation who welcomes the LGBT community. "The only way we can really find love in this country, is if we cherish our similarities, and look at that, rather than always look at people's differences," added Wiese.

Understandably so, this mass shooting has church members feeling somber. "It seems like its happening more and more, and it's truly sad...I can imagine all churches in America are feeling something because this just isn't keeping with something that people know as right or what we think America is about, it's supposed to be a welcoming place for everyone."

Some church members added, they think something needs to be done with the America's gun laws because situations like this keep happening over and over.

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