After two teen murders in two years, thousands in the Town of Wylie joined together in faith and fellowship on Friday as part of an event called One Night to Unite.
The main theme there was that there is strength in numbers -- that whatever the tragedy, hardship or challenge, there is support out there in the Christian community, even if it comes from a different denomination or a different church.
More than 6,000 people from 30-plus congregations in Wylie, Sachse, Murphy and Lavon came to worship together in song, prayer and sermon at the Wylie football stadium.
The event started five years ago when their pastors started meeting once a month, and that led to the first One Night to Unite on Good Friday two years ago.
"We'd like for the folks in our churches to have the same relationships we all have as pastors, because we aren't competing in churches -- we actually support and pray for one another," said Jeff Denton, pastor of Waterbrook Bible Fellowship of Wylie.
But the two teen murders of Nahum Martinez in 2012 and Ivan Mejia in March rocked the small community, causing many to question their faith.
"We're all still in shock about those things because we feel like those children didn't know what options they had, and that there were people there in the community to support them," said event-goer Laurah Jackson.
Nahum Martinez's murderer is now serving a 15-year prison sentence, and the two juveniles charged with Mejia's death are awaiting trial.
Other speakers included Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs, whose daughter Lauren was injured in a small plane propeller accident in 2011.
But their message was about their marital history before the accident.
"A marriage that went bad…we were divorced for seven years and then we've been remarried for ifteen," said Jeff Scruggs.
The event was free, and organizing pastors hope to make it an annual tradition.
KDFW FOX 4
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