ST. LOUIS – The pastor of Greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in north St. Louis has a message of comfort for a community in Louisiana where 3 fires have been set at African-American churches.
“My heart goes out to the pastors and the congregation,” said Pastor Titus Irving.
He knows first-hand the heartache of being targeted. His church on Gilmore was vandalized and set on fire in 2016. A suspect has never been brought to justice. St. Louis pastors were also on edge following a string of fires targeting African-American churches in 2015. A suspect was arrested and remains behind bars. He was described as mentally troubled with a criminal past.
“It still brings tears to my eyes,” said Irving.
He helped build and rebuild Greater St. Paul with his owns hands. The church has made a remarkable recovery. He’s heard stories of pastors in Louisiana sleeping in their own churches in an effort to protect them from anyone trying to set a fire.
“I thought about doing the same thing coming here and camping out at the church,” said Irving. He said those thoughts entered his mind on the one-year anniversary of his church’s resurrection.
His message to church leaders in Louisiana is to know that everything will be okay.
“Keep the faith, he said. “That’s what I kept. I kept the faith and believed that God would allow us to come back and 6 months we were back in our church.”