D'Iberville minister responds to Charleston shooting with encour - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

D'Iberville minister responds to Charleston shooting with encouragement

As people try to make sense of the horrific mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, a South Mississippi minister is encouraging believers to hold strong to their faith. (Photo source: WLOX) As people try to make sense of the horrific mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, a South Mississippi minister is encouraging believers to hold strong to their faith. (Photo source: WLOX)
D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) -

An outpouring of grief and outrage flows from communities across the country, as people are trying to make sense of the horrific mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. A South Mississippi minister says even in the midst of this devastating event, believers cannot deter from their faith.

"Even in the face of attack, persecution and terrorist acts, the church will always be a place of refuge," the Reverend John Whitfield said firmly. "For the black community, the church is our strength. It's our stronghold. It's our foundation. We cannot be moved by that."

The Rev. Whitfield serves as Associate Minister at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in D'Iberville. He said the shooting that cost nine lives in Charleston was nothing more or less than an act of racial and religious terrorism.

"We are a target, there's no doubt about it. But with that we do have faith and believe that as long as we're doing what's right, they will be held accountable for what they do," he said.

The pastor said the vicious shooting act won't retract his congregation's position as strong Christians. And he found a bit of comfort in knowing the nine lives that were lost, were lost in worship.

"If you have to die a death at the hands of someone else, to die worshiping and praising God, serving Him the way His word tells us we should serve Him, there's no better way to die," he said.

The mood to follow in communities and churches across the country will be a somber one, but Rev. Whitfield said we cannot live consumed by fear. At our weakest moments, he believes we must hold strong to our faith.

"We cannot succumb to the fear. If we believe in the word of God, the word tells us that God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. We have to continue, even to the extent of placing our lives on the line, to be true to our faith. To be true to our God," he said.

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