Church transforms parking lot crime scene into a revival full of prayer

Church transforms parking lot crime scene into a revival full of prayer
Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 11:09 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As the community searches for solutions to the crime and violence that plagues Memphis, local men and women of God gathered at the sight of one of the seven shootings that stunned the Bluff City Wednesday night.

When members of Casa Church, a new Hispanic church in town, set up a tent outside a strip mall in Frayser to congregate and celebrate their church’s first anniversary, they had no idea how much they would need to rely on their faith. Instead of sermons filling the night air, gunfire did.

They were witnesses to the deadly shooting spree, watching in disbelief as the accused suspect took aim at a man in the AutoZone store on Jackson while streaming it live on Facebook.

“My pastor and his dad ran inside and gave him some aid until the ambulance got here,” said Arturo Colunga, “and even with all that was going on, it seemed like he didn’t care about himself.

The first thing that came to his mind was his family.

He mentioned his daughter Jenny and how much he loved her.

Colunga said his congregation didn’t hesitate to return the next day, transforming the crime scene into a parking lot revival, inviting pastors and parishioners from around town.

“Because one of the things the devil wants to do,” said Rolando Rostro, senior pastor at Iglesia Nueva Vida, “is divide us based on color, race, culture, and language, and we don’t want to do that. The church is a manifestation of the Lord helping our people and coming together as one race, the human race.”

The victim in the shooting at the AutoZone, Rodolfo Berger, faces more surgery for his injuries, according to his family.

Community members gather to pray for the victims of Wednesday night's shooting spree.
Community members gather to pray for the victims of Wednesday night's shooting spree.(Action News 5)

Thursday night’s prayers were meant to lift up the victims and their families and a city stunned by the unprecedented violence.

“This event is showing us how much we are connected to one another,” said Pastor James Kirkwood, executive director of the Christian Pastors Network and leader of Ambassadors for Christ Fellowship Church, “oftentimes, we think we’re not. But tragedy will sometimes let us see, ‘I need you, you need me, and we are better together.”

They served up food and fellowship in Memphis City Councilwoman Rhonda Logan’s district.

“This is a great place to come to begin the healing,” Councilwoman Logan told Action News 5, “and to begin coming together in unity.”

This diverse group of Memphians wanted to show support for their shell-shocked city, one emotional prayer after another.

“Prayer is always a weapon of our warfare,” said Pastor Kirkwood, “We sometimes think it doesn’t work. But it does.”

The pastors say prayer is just the first step to healing and improving life in Memphis for everyone.

Casa Church members plan weekly revivals in that spot with food, prayer, and clothing donations for the homeless.

Click here to sign up for our newsletter!

Click here to report a spelling or grammar error. Please include the headline.