Charlottesville church prays for 'peace and healing' ahead of Aug. 12 protest anniv.

A Prayer Service for Healing and Peace at the Church of the Incarnation in Charlottesville on August 9, 2018.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WSET) -- Singers at the Church of the Incarnation in Charlottesville sang the well-known hymn, "We Shall Overcome," a song with lyrics pointing to oppression and calls for civil justice throughout American history.

The musical selection was also a timely reminder of the events that took place nearly one year ago, on August 12, 2017, as violence erupted among protesters and counter-protesters.

Father Gregory Kandt said it was his motivation for organizing "A Prayer Service for Healing and Peace."

"We have to continue to process and to be challenged by it and to pray about it and to take action so that it doesn't happen again," said Kandt.

Church leaders said the goal is to standup for justice, advocate for those who are oppressed and spread love and peace.

They're speaking out against the racism and hate that drew people to the protests and took lives, and the wounds are still healing.

"It's arguable if the wounds of war are ever completely forgotten, but I think we can have times of healing and moving on from the rubble to a better place," Kandt said.

He said the church and community have all the armor they need to win the war.

Bishop Barry Knestout with the Catholic Diocese of Richmond issued a statement on Charlottesville.

In it, he said, quote: “I pray that during this time when we are challenged by divisions that we commit to praying, listening, learning, thinking and working for peace, justice and an end to racism.”

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