About 130 pastors gathered Wednesday afternoon at Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover to form an interracial group called “Pastors4People” to heal divisions in the wake of the police shooting that killed a black man at the Riverchase Galleria mall on Thanksgiving night.
“It was a time for pastors to come together, to love the Lord, to pray together, to draw close together,” said the Rev. Buddy Gray, senior pastor of Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover. “We believe God changes lives. We prayed God would change hearts. We want to help those who work at the mall and are hurt because people are not coming in. It’s a tragic thing. Let’s draw together among the races. When we seek to understand and love each other, we can make things better.”
Demonstrators have been protesting the Thanksgiving night shooting death of Emantic Fitzgerald “E.J.” Bradford Jr. at the mall. Two others were wounded.
“People need hope,” said the Rev. Mike McClure Jr., senior pastor of the Rock Church. He said he and Gray came up with the idea on Monday for a gathering of pastors. They called pastors they know, and had a meeting this afternoon in which they raised $30,000 to help people suffering from the economic effects of the shooting at the state’s largest mall. He’s heard from waiters who no longer are making tips because no customers are coming to the restaurants where they work, he said. Others have had their shifts cut for a lack of business, both at the Galleria and in surrounding businesses.
The shooting has caused fear and subsequent protests have caused disruption of business and traffic at the mall, Gray and McClure said.
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SOURCE: Al.com, Greg Garrison