Tampa churches struggle to come to terms with shooting, reach out to help families

Tampa Bay churches reach out to Charleston

Pastor David Green is struggling to come to terms with the unthinkable - a young man gunning down nine people, as they prayed in a house of worship. It's a heavy day for us as a denomination," said pastor David W. Green, of Allen Temple AME Church in Tampa. "It's a heavy day for us as a church. and it's a sad day because I personally knew Pastor Pinckney."

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Pastor David Green is struggling to come to terms with the unthinkable – a young man gunning down nine people, as they prayed in a house of worship. It’s a heavy day for us as a denomination,” said pastor David W. Green, of Allen Temple AME Church in Tampa. “It’s a heavy day for us as a church. and it’s a sad day because I personally knew Pastor Pinckney.”

The historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is the “mother church” for hundreds of other AME churches, including those in florida. Those doors are open to anyone, but now, after this, there’s a sense of anger and fear. “When you come to a point where the house of worship, the house of God is not safe, and you have to put safeguards in our congregation, it let’s you know the world has changed.”

One of the most troubling details: the gunman sat in on bible study for an hour. That’s prompting some churches to consider adding armed guards to protect their congregations. But in the meantime, these Christians are reaching out to their South Carolina family – and they even have this prayer for the killer himself. Rev. Gregory V. Gay, Sr., of Mt. Olive AME Church in Tampa. He prays this about the killer’s time in this church: “That somewhere in the back of his mind, he heard about the Lord and that in the coming days even he would change.

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