AUGUSTA — More than 100 people, including leaders from multiple religions and faiths, braved chilly temperatures Wednesday evening on Memorial Bridge in a display of civil discourse meant to highlight the differences among the community and the ability to stand as one.

“We believe it is a moral imperative for religious leaders to stand on the side of hope and love,” said the Rev. Carrie Johnsen of the Unitarian Universality Community Church of Augusta. “We celebrate the diversity in Augusta.”

The religions represented included Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

The Lighting up Augusta With Hope and Love vigil was sponsored by the Capital Area Multifaith Association and Winthrop Area Ministerial Association. The crowd, including several families with children, lined the bridge and shared messages on posters while illuminating the night with candles.

Khalid Zamat, who is originally from Iraq but has called America home for more than a decade, attended with members of his family, including his son. He said he wants everyone to know they are welcome just as his family was when they came to this country.

“There is just one guy saying nobody’s welcome,” Zamat said, in an apparent reference to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his call to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. “But we have friends in the Army, family in the Army. We are Americans.”

Johnsen said she was beyond thrilled with the turnout and expected even more people to show up as the evening progressed.

Cars honked as they passed the candlelit signs promoting anti-discrimination, peace and love. Despite the temperature, Hallowell’s Joan Sturnthal said it was important to be out spreading the message of peace and inclusion, especially in light of “all the rhetoric and fear speech going on right now.”

“More candidates should be speaking about peace instead of war,” Sturnthal said in reference to Tuesday’s Republican debate. “All the fear mongering and war mongering is awful and definitely not the direction we should be going in.”

Rabbi Erica Asch of Augusta’s Temple Beth El said there is so much divisive rhetoric right now that it is important for the community to come together.

“We reach out to one another in friendship, and we want to greet the world with love, want to accept people no matter who they are, where they come from or what their belief system is,” Asch said.

She said the path to a more inclusive society is through communication.

“We really need to sit down and talk with one another,” she said. “People are very fearful, and we fear what we don’t know and don’t understand, and I think if we could sit down and share our stories, that is the first step to understanding one another.”

A news release sent in advance of the event invited people to stand together, side-by-side, shining light into the darkness of fear, hate, intolerance, discrimination and violence. In light of recent world events, the organizers said it is important to show solidarity and acceptance.

Last month, more than 100 people, including leaders from multiple religions, held a vigil on the sidewalk in front of the Blaine House in Augusta showing support for Syrian refugees.

“We are witnessing in our churches a desire from people to come out and be a positive influence in the world,” Johnsen said.