Hundreds gathered for prayer in Oakhurst


More than 200 people from 20 different churches filled the Oakhurst Community Center Sunday. Despite their varying beliefs, people came together for one common goal: to help people who live here begin to heal.

Reverend Steve Myers said, "Because there's evil in this world, there's really nothing we can do to prevent the evil, but there is something god does when he comes aside us. He can actually bring healing to this community."

The communities of Oakhurst, Ahwahnee and nearby Bass Lake have dealt with several tragedies since the beginning of the year.

The most recent happened February 16th. Bass Lake resident Sandy Williamson and her Fresno-based divorce attorney, Judy Soley, were shot and killed at Ducey's restaurant. The suspected gunman, Sandy's estranged husband, Jim, later took his own life.

On January 25th, Oakhurst Elementary student Mary Jane Lewis, was murdered by her mother, who later committed suicide.

Just days before that incident, students Alexis and Jayden Montoya died at their Oakhurst home from carbon monoxide poisoning. Their uncle and grandmother also died.

Elaine Brown taught both girls.

Elaine Brown said, "This is a point in time that I think a lot of emphasis is happening right now to say what can we do to make this a better place? What can we do to make sure these tragedies don't happen again?"

Another tragedy struck New Year's Day. 14-year-old Sarah Lewis died when she crashed her father's pickup into a tree on road 6-28 near Leach road. Lewis was electrocuted by downed power lines after the crash.

People who came to this service say they're ready to move on. They all agree, they'll never forget the memories of those who brought them to this place.

Colleen West said, "We've been having so much trouble. You know, people killing people and things like that, accidents and crime, so we're just gonna pray for our community."

The service lasted about three hours. A group of pastors from different churches organized the event about three weeks ago, before the Bass Lake tragedy.

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