Church leaders encourage community to lean on faith after attack - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Church leaders encourage community to lean on faith after attacks

Leaders are encouraging people to lean on their faith. (Photo source: WLOX News) Leaders are encouraging people to lean on their faith. (Photo source: WLOX News)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Leaders across the country are reacting to Friday's string of violent terrorist attacks in Paris.

While having fear may be a natural reaction, church leaders are encouraging congregations to lean on their faith, and pray for peace and protection over the world.

Members of New Birth Full Gospel Baptist Church in Gulfport started off Sunday morning service in prayer.

"We pray for the people that have lost a loved one. We pray for the people who are now feeling fearful. We pray, Lord God, that they know that you will never leave nor forsake them. We pray now, Lord God, that they will have faith in you, Lord God," Minister Valerie Johnson said in prayer.
    
Faith is what Pastor Kevin Payton says people should hold on to, instead of letting the evils of the world deter them.

"Misery does love company and it wants to invite us into it. But by faith, today, we'll stand and we'll stand not moved," Pastor Payton said.

After songs of praise, Pastor Payton described the attack on Paris as horrendous and devastating, but noted that he doesn't want South Mississippi communities to separate. Instead he wants everyone from all backgrounds and walks of life to pull closer together in faith.
    
"Fear is not apart of a faithful person. We must pray. We must unite. I believe this a time where people need to drop their titles: 'Bishop', 'Overseer', 'Pastor' even and begin to nurture the effect and growth of real faith," Pastor Payton said.

"So He's asking us to come together as one. That is what God is calling us to do. To not look at race, creed or color, but to look at His love that He showed us when He allowed his son to die for us," Minister Johnson said.

Reports show the death toll from the attacks with suicide bombers and gunman has now reached more than 120, and more than 350 people were left wounded.

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