"That's the least we can do for those who have to deal with such a tragedy," said Pastor Lekevie Johnson.
For some, the stories have been too hard to hear and too tragic to believe. But thoughts and prayers bridge the gap between Champaign and Connecticut.
"You just can't go anywhere without hearing the people who are expressing their prayers for the families, the victims all over Connecticut," said Janice Mitchell, who lives in Urbana."
They spent the weekend thinking about it. Now the families prepare to send their own children back to school.
"We have elementary schools in our community and this type of thing could hit us," said Johnson. "And we would want the world and nation to respond in this manner to pray for us."
"As a parent, you don't have to know them," said Mitchell. "You just have to pray you have to just be in prayer with them and ask God to watch over them."
The congregations sent their prayers heavenward. They were unsure why someone would take the lives of innocent children. But they put their trust in a higher power to help them through.
"It's going to take some time but we have to point people to how much God loves them so they will find comfort in knowing that," said Johnson.
Champaign Mayor Don Gerard shared a quote with the crowd. It said, "Look for helpers. You will always find the people who are helping."