GOP VP candidate Mike Pence speaks at First Baptist Church

By Bakari Savage - Reporter, anchor, Staff

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence spoke at Sunday morning's worship service at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville.

The Indiana governor and his wife attended the 10:30 a.m. service, mentioned the Saturday night's bombing in New York City and answered questions about his Christian faith.

“We're grateful for no loss of life,” Pence said. “Pray for first responders and all those investigating acts of violence. Prayer is the order of the day. That's how American's respond.”

Pence spoke about his Christian upbringing and when he decided to devote his life to Christianity.

“I was blessed to be in a house that went to church every Sunday,” Pence said. “I went off to college and walked away from faith. I met people in a non-denominational Christian fellowship group. I decided I was going to be Christian. I started asking than man, who was a few years ahead of me, about this book. I told him I liked the cross and asked if I could get that catalog. I'm going to start being Christian. He said, ‘you have to wear it in your heart before you wear it around your neck.’”

There were no announced plans for a public appearance outside of the worship service.

The church's statement said that security protocols required all attendees to pass through metal detectors to enter the auditorium and that no concealed weapons were allowed.

Pence was among almost 10,000 people who worship at the church, which dates back to 1838.

“We're just here to worship,” Pence said. “I appreciate the hospitality. I'm a Christian, a conservative, a republican -- in that order.”

Pence told those in attendance that he believes faith is important in this year’s election.

“This is an important election when it comes to the sanctity of life, national security, a stronger America in the world and a more prosperous America,” Pence said. “It is a duty. I really do believe participation is important, but prayer even more so.”

Pence was in Gainesville Saturday for the University of Florida game against North Texas. Before the game ended, Pence was seen outside the stadium doing the Gator chomp.

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