SOUTH BEND -

About 1200 people packed a church in South Bend Sunday night. They were all there to say "no to violence." South Bend has seen eight homicides so far this year including the shooting death of 2-year-old John Swoveland Junior, more than two weeks ago.

The crowd filled the pews at Faith Apostolic Ministry. Congregations from up to 20 different churches came together to share a message of healing and hope.

Music rang out from the sanctuary of the church as people of all backgrounds took a stand against the violence that has plagued South Bend so far in 2014.

"Oh the atmosphere is just great, we're feeling the sense of the enthusiasm to see that the people are coming together and understand that there's strength in numbers," said church leader Odelet Nance.

Odelet Nance goes to this church. She's also a teacher.

"As an educator, it saddens me to know that our young people are falling victim to the violence in our community, but it also encourages me to do something about it," Nance said.

Which is why she and hundreds of others came together Sunday evening. They're here to say violence will not be tolerated and to encourage young people to choose the right path in life.

"We're concerned citizens and we believe in South Bend, we believe that we are able to stand together and see change and make a difference for our community and for our city," Nance said.

"The community must come together to say stop the violence it is unacceptable, it's horrific," said South Bend Deputy Mayor Mark Neal. "It is something we must all re-double our efforts, re-dedicate ourselves to make sure we're asking people to put the guns down before the events occur."

Sunday night was also about healing... to be a support system for those already hurt by violence.

"So before the violence can escalate for the summer we wanted to start laying out a foundation of peace and love and respect today so today is the beginning of that effort," said Pastor Canneth Lee with Kingdom Christian Center Church.

Lee knows violence firsthand. He says his sister was murdered back in 2004 by her boyfriend. Then just a few months ago, shots were fired inside his church in South Bend. Fortunately, no one was hurt in that incident, but as he said everyone gathered at the service Sunday night is concerned about what lies ahead this summer when street violence typically escalates.