Vigil for victims of Orlando shooting brings out people from all walks of life

Held in Green Bay, at Union Congregational Church
Posted at 10:19 PM, Jun 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-13 23:19:12-04

GREEN BAY, WI -- We're learning new information tonight about the shooter, 29 year old Omar Mateen, and what happened in Orlando this weekend.

The attack lasted for three hours before Mateen was killed in a shootout with law enforcement. During the attack, he reportedly took hostages and retreated to a bathroom, where he called 911 and pledged his allegiance to ISIS.
49 people would die before Sunday morning's shootout would end, along with Mateen, with 5 still listed in "grave condition" in the hospital as of Monday night.
This week, vigils remembering the victims are planned across the nation, including many in Wisconsin.
On Monday night, a few dozen people from all walks of life gathered in front of Union Congregational United Church of Christ, in Green Bay, to grieve the lives lost and stand united with Orlando.
They gathered on the front steps of the LGBTQ-friendly church just before 6 Monday evening. 
"We've had so many people express grief, and fear," says senior pastor Bridget Flad Daniels, "and sadness over the last two days."
"As a mom of a gay son, my heart aches for all of them," says Michele Becker, of the Green Bay chapter of the Adult Gay Straight Alliance. 
Pastor Flad Daniels was inviting anyone and everyone to share their grief, and hopes, felt by so many in the LGBTQ community.
"Coming together helps us address our fears," says Flad Daniels, "they are welcome, safe, affirmed, celebrated."
It's a message that rings clear, tonight, along with the names of the victims read aloud amidst burning candles. 
"I don't want anybody marginalized," repeats Becker. "No! We're all together. It's 'we'."
Meanwhile, people were also writing words of hope on a sea of colorful cards laid out on a table after the vigil.
Flad Daniels was inviting people to write "their prayers, their hopes, their commitments to being a part of making the world a better place." 
While there's a lot of uncertainty after the weekend's tragedy, Becker's husband Lyle is pleased to admit that tonight's vigil "gives you hope," he says, "confidence that there's a possibility that we can love more than we can hate, and we can eventually turn things around."
Church leaders plan on taking the colored prayer cards, filled with everyone's thoughts, and hanging them across the courtyard in an effort to turn tragedy into something beautiful.