Violence discussed at St. Paul Missionary Baptist

Violence was a topic of discussion after tragic events in Charleston

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – People in our area are coming together and praying for the victims of the church shooting in Charleston.

The violence was a topic of discussion at many church services in our area including one at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church on the Northside.

Some who attend have loved ones in Charleston. They came together  seeking answers about what happened. Greg Estevez is a Charleston native. He knew Cynthia Hurd, a librarian who dedicated her life to books and educating others.

"My mom called and talked to them. She could hear them screaming and crying in grief in the background. As she hung up the phone, she was in tears. They were inconsolable," Estevez said.

Estevez says he was already planning to go to Charleston before shootings. People who attend church with Estevez say their faith is still strong despite what happened.

"My faith is not shaken. I was devastated by the news. I was horrified by the news and I was saddened by the news," Janice Tucker said.

Pastor John Guns had a message for people who attended his Sunday service.

"We pray for the families of those who were unnecessarily taken from us. There will always be people who proclaim and promote hatred. We can't ever stop that. But those of us who believe in love and unity and racial harmony will always find and seek out bridges to build. So for the few who hate. We can't change them. But for the many who love, we can celebrate with them and grieve with them when we have to," Guns said.

Some people who spoke with News4Jax don't believe security needs to be added to protect church members at St. Paul's.

"This is the place where we come and feel safe. But again you also have to be vigilant and you have to be careful," said church member Kenneth Moore.