Bible study builds stronger faith to heal after last week's Char - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Bible study builds stronger faith to heal after last week's Charleston shootings

Pastor James Lee, Mason Temple Church of God in Christ Pastor James Lee, Mason Temple Church of God in Christ
Dozens gather for bible study one week after shooting at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston. Dozens gather for bible study one week after shooting at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston.
CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Bible study on Wednesday nights will be different for many churches in the Palmetto State in wake of last week's Charleston church shooting, but one local church is using the tragedy to teach a different lesson about faith, love, and peace. 

Dozens gathered for bible study at Mason Temple Church of God in Christ, in Conway, for the first meeting since the deadly shooting that killed nine people at Emmanuel AME Church, in Charleston.

The pastor, James Lee, was teaching a lesson that would help members build a stronger faith in God. Lee said the nine lives lost is a triumph over tragedy, and explains that while many people may not accept it, there is a bigger picture than their death. 

"What happened in Charleston was right in the plan of God. Some soldiers had to be given up for the greater mission of God, just like soldiers died in warfare for the greater mission of the United States."

Lee said he wants people to see the beauty of the situation, which is how nine people were able to bring millions of people across the nation and world together to represent peace and unity. "I think it makes us more loving; we appreciate each other more," Lee said. "I see more of a warmth in their greeting, I see more of a fellowship."

The pastor went on to explain how the tragedy is opening up the dialogue and addressing one of the many issues that drives hate in the nation. "Someone asked me, 'What would have to be done for me to stop feeling prejudice and racism?' I said, 'You have to stop seeing me as black; you should see me as a man, and until this country begins to see men and women not Black, Afro-American, White, Asian, we are always going to have a little prejudice and racism."

Meanwhile, the lesson of faith and love still doesn't allow churches to ignore that tighter security measures should be in place where people come to worship God. 

"I am naive, no, I have a security department in this church, because it is up to me to do all that I can, and when I have done everything that I can, then I understand that God takes up. So yeah, I have a men that when you come into this church they are stationed throughout the church, they are watching the young people."

And after the shooting, he also plans to look at his security plans to revise the system. "We will implement procedures that will deal with if a strange person comes to our church, if they come in and sit we are going to spot them," said Lee.

Many churches may start looking at tighter church security plans, but Lee said that should not be the total focus. He said the bigger lesson that everyone can learn, not just in bible study, is that the message of evil from the Charleston shooting did not prevail.

"He told you what he [Dylann Roof] wanted to do; he wanted to start a race war, but it didn't happen, cause God, and it's not going to happen," said Lee. 

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