Local churchgoers react to Zimmerman verdict

By Erica Rakow, General assignment reporter, erakow@wjxt.com
Published On: Jul 14 2013 12:19:38 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 14 2013 12:10:00 PM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

During the George Zimmerman trial, four pastors were given reserved seating in the courtroom, pledging to keep the peace when the verdict was read.

Now, pastors around the state and country are preaching about the outcome and keeping that peace.

One of the churces doing just that is Bethel Baptist institutional church in downtown Jacksonville. The church was packed this morning as it is almost every Sunday. But today, church goers say they went in knowing that they would say an extra prayer for everyone involved and affected by the George Zimmerman/trayvon martin verdict.

"Help us get through All of this, and just like he brought you before he’s going to bring us through." Bishop Rudolph McKissick told the congregation.

Bishop McKissick told his congregation to have peace knowing George Zimmerman's verdict was in God's control.

"Our hearts continue to be in prayer for them and even the Zimmerman family so it’s not a issue of whos right or whos wrong but whether or not god was in their hearts when making their decision" Elder Robert Dotson said.

Just like the clergy in the courtroom agreed to support the jury's verdict in this racially charged case, the church is doing the same, pledging to give the community direction.

"What do you think the church’s role in helping the community move forward is? Well listen, this is the church and it’s not just Bethel, it’s First Baptist." Ray Alfred said. "It’s all of the churches we have to practice what we preach and that is unity and getting people to understand each other regardless of their race, creed or color."

Many people came to church Sunday morning with the intent of saying an extra prayer for the Martin family, the Zimmerman family, and for peaceful progression moving forward.

"We put things like this is gods hand so we’re satisfied to just be calm and look to the lord for direction but also to get us through these times. We’ve got a lot of work to do in this country." Alfred said.

Others at Bethel told me that peaceful acceptance of this verdict doesn’t mean you have to agree with it but they say bottom line is it was and it is in God’s hands.

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