“Hurt” and “anger” have met with prayer in troubled Charlotte, N.C., where Southern Baptist pastors are praying and encouraging peace and reason amid violent protests and a declared state of emergency after the police killing of Keith Lamont Scott.
Christians of various denominations held prayer services today (Sept. 22) and yesterday after police shot and killed 43-year-old Scott, a black man, while looking for a suspect in an unrelated incident. Charlotte policeman Brentley Vinson, also black, has been identified as the officer who fired the fatal shot among officers at the scene.
“Hurt; Anger; Disappointment; Frustration; Heartbroken; Sadness; Tired is the mood of our city of Charlotte as another black life is taken at the hands of a police officer,” pastor Phillip R.J. Davis of Nations Ford Community Church, a leading Southern Baptist African American church in Charlotte, wrote in a message posted on the church website.
Davis’ words are almost identical to the description given by First Baptist Church of Charlotte pastor Mark Harris in a written message to his congregation this morning, which he shared with Baptist Press, saying the city was experiencing “pain, hurt, anger, disappointment, and frustration.”
Both churches hosted prayer today at noon. While Nations Ford Community Church is about five miles southwest of where the riots occurred, First Baptist Church is in the same block. Marshall Park, the site where a peaceful protest at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 turned violent just yards away, is in First Baptist’s backyard.
“The church facilities have been protected and suffered no damage or harm. We thank the Lord for His mercy!” Harris told his membership. “Our offices are open presently, but will close at 3:00 p.m. to assure our staff be able to get home safely…. I am writing this to you from our sanctuary, where I have been reflecting and praying this morning.” Buildings were damaged and looted within the same block of the church at 301 S. Davidson St.
Harris invited church members to a prayer meeting in the sanctuary today at noon, which was attended by about 300 people, including professionals who work in the Uptown community, church members and staff, and students from the church’s school, Brookstone.
“There will be no agenda, no program, no music, no preaching, but just men and women of God, on the altar, crying out to The Father!” Harris said. “These are serious days, and they require serious people who take seeking the heart and will of God seriously!”
Davis wrote similar remarks.
“Now is the time for heartfelt and sincere prayers, not political and personal-agenda driven rhetoric,” Davis said on Nations Ford Community Church’s website. “Now is the time for loving encouragement not condemning judgment. In light of the climate in our city, I stand with other pastors and leaders both black and white and our church unites with other churches that [demonstrate] the gospel of Jesus Christ in love and that [seek] the peace of our city.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press