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Church in Dallas police shooter’s hometown holds community prayer service

July 12th, 2016 / By: Jane Rodgers | Managing Editor / comments

MESQUITE, Texas—Mayor Stan Pickett of Mesquite admitted Monday night that he didn’t know Pastor Terry Turner of Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church very well, but that has changed in the wake of last week’s tragic shootings of police officers at a protest in downtown Dallas.

Pickett was one of a dozen or so pastors and dignitaries invited to speak and pray before a packed house at the “All Lives Matter” community prayer event at MFBC the evening of July 11.

After praising the actions of first responders in the July 7 crisis, the mayor described phoning Turner several times after the shootings. Thanking Turner for arranging the prayer meeting, Pickett added that Turner had assured him, “We’re going to get through this, and we’re going to do it together.”

Declaring God to be on his throne, the mayor concluded, “What’s behind dark clouds is the sun. And I am here to proclaim tonight that we have the Son that we know is also lighting the world.”

Turner revealed in his opening remarks that he is no stranger to racism, assuring his predominately black congregation that the evening’s intent was not to sweep what happened “under the carpet,” but to deal with the tragedy “face to face.”

Reminding the congregation that the shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson, was from their city, Turner announced his desire to proclaim, “that’s not what we are like in the city of Mesquite.”

Calling last week’s Black Lives Matter march “good,” Turner stated that the issue became “a matter of all lives matter” when the police officers were killed.

Turner referenced his experiences growing up in the Jim Crow era, saying, “I believe in the Black Lives movement because I’m a black American living in black America. I know what we have to deal with … what it’s like to be treated like a second-class citizen.” He called for races to love one another in the name of God. “There is greater power in love.”

Turner had invited local community pastors to pray from the platform for the victims, the shooter and their families. They also prayed for the families and communities of Baton Rouge, La., and Falcon Heights, Minn., where police killed two black men in unrelated incidents that precipitated the protests in Dallas.

Alex Gonzales of Hickory Tree Baptist Church in Balch Springs prayed for the family of fallen Dallas officer Patrick Zamarripa. “I am convinced there are those in our city, in our nation, in our world who desire nothing more than to see Satan succeed. Father, we stand together as a church convinced that Jesus has already succeeded.” Referencing the Civil Rights movement and Micah 6, Gonzales issued a call for justice and mercy, reminding the congregation that in 50 or 60 years, others may be looking to see how the church responded to the current crisis.

John Livaudais, pastor of Mesquite’s Macedonia Baptist Church, was asked by Turner to pray for the family of Micah Johnson. Ironically, Livaudais tearfully noted, the assassin’s grieving mother was his own neighbor.

Mesquite PD Captain David Gill reminded all of the relative powerlessness of elected officials and police and of the power of the Lord. Reading from Colossians 3:14, Gill reminded the audience to “put on love,” and that the apostle Paul called upon the Colossians to have a “church” that was neither black nor white, slave nor free.  A standing ovation greeting his final words, “We need to fix this on our knees.”

Scott Gray, pastor of First Baptist Church of Mesquite reminded all of the wickedness of man, the futility of law, and the “only hope” in the “peace of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Wayne Wible, associate pastor from Sunnyvale First Baptist Church, ended the meeting with a call to the congregation to “show your love, grace, and mercy to others, regardless of ethnicity, social standing” or other “manmade barrier.”