Following Two Tragedies, Stone County Faithful Pray For Comfort And Healing

WIGGINS (WLOX) -- "Now Heavenly Father, as we come for our county, we are heavy at heart. We are grieved," prayed The Rev. Charlie Wash of New Morning Star Baptist Church.

Dozens of people gathered on the steps of the Stone County Courthouse at noon on Thursday. Under sunny skies, they sought comfort during one of the darkest days for Stone County.

"We're asking that You console our hearts and offer them Heavenly Father, as only You know how to console," prayed The Rev. Wash.

This small community experienced two tragedies this week: First, the loss of prominent businessman Johnny Parker. Then on Tuesday, the murder of former Stone County Supervisor Duncan Hatten. In times of sorrow and suffering, the faithful rely even more on the power of prayer.

"It strengthens me and it helps me see that we have many people in our community that have the same thought and believe in prayer and how we can be helped in this difficult time," said Wiggins Resident Myra Rayburn.

"I prayed for the Hattens, who are going through a hard time right now. And the Parkers," said one young lady.

"It makes me feel calm, better. It kind of consoles, soothes," said her friend.

"You will bless us, but You will also mend our broken hearts," prayed The Rev. Wash.

With heads bowed, and hands raised to heaven, they know that God will bring healing and strength.

"There are people who are sorrowing and there's evil of course," said retired minister Eldwyn Rogers. "We want to pray and work to put down evil at all times."

The Rev. David Perry read a passage from the Bible: "The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped. Therefore, my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song will I praise Him."

Visitation for Duncan Hatten is on Friday, from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Wiggins. The funeral is also at the church on Saturday at 11 a.m. Burial follows at Wiggins City Cemetery.