Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Just days after the tragic loss of more than 25 children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, the Newtown community is still in shock.
On Sunday, churches all over the Midlands took time out to pray and remember those who lost their lives.
"Lord as we praise this morning we also come and pray, we pray for the people of Newtown, Connecticut," said Rev. Steve Phillips at First Baptist Church in Columbia.
In the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, despite the Christmas atmosphere, this Sunday was a little somber.
"This morning because I knew that many of our members would be touched by this incident, my Sunday school class had a lesson on how to cope with stress like this," said Rev. Dennis Banks.
With six grandchildren and a four month old great granddaughter Banks says this tragedy is something he would never imagine happening at an elementary school.
"When you think of small children in your own families, I thought how would I feel if I would have lost one of my children or great grandchildren to such an act as this, I would be stunned, I would be grieving deeply," said Banks.
Banks believes that after this incident, this is the time to give hope and support by praying for those affected.
"As these couples experience this great loss, we can send notes of care and encouragement, but primarily we can look to God and pray for things like this and know that he can reach beyond our ability and minister to them in ways we could not do ourselves."
Banks says society is moving further and further away from God.
"Evil is very present in the world today and often times we forget it, especially this time of year when we are trying to celebrate the birth of Christ and peace on earth. But so many times we have no peace because of the hardness of some men's hearts. It tells us we need to start young in the lives of children we need to start early and encourage them that they have value and worth and that their lives mean more than just everyday living."