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Organiser of the annual 10,000 Men and Family’s March in Spanish Town, Bishop Rohan Edwards, said the time has come for pastors to arm themselves to protect their congregation from vicious men.
Speaking against the background of Sunday’s killing at the Agape Worship Centre in Falmouth, Trelawny, where 51-year-old Andrea Lowe- Garwood was brutally slain by a lone gunman while worshipping, Edwards called on pastors to put in place all the necessary security features in churches to protect worshippers.
“I made this call before and I am saying it again, it’s time for churches to put proper security mechanisms in place to protect the flock, including pastors arming themselves,” the firebrand bishop who oversees the Lighthouse Ministries across the island declared.
‘Don’t play with Criminals’
“There is a concept in Jamaica where people don’t believe in pastors carrying firearms. However, this is a wrong concept because pastors are human, too, and since criminals are not afraid to carry out their evil acts in broad daylight, you should not play with them,” he said.
Citing the 2018 killing of 29-year-old James Johnson, pastor of the Church of God of Prophecy on Old Harbour Road, who was shot and killed by a lone gunman while he was conducting Bible studies at the church, Edwards described the men carrying out these acts as heartless and wicked and must be dealt with in like manner.
“These guys are wicked and heartless. They have no respect for the house of God,” he added. “It hurts my heart to see what took place at Pastor Junior Rutty’s church in Falmouth. I don’t believe that God would punish any pastor if a gunman went into his church to do harm and is met with return fire power. I really don’t think God would hold it against the pastor.”
Edwards said congregants must feel secure in church and every church leader has a responsibility to protect the people who attend their church.
“As a pastor, my job is to watch over the flock and there are different ways to do so. There is a place for mercy and a place for wisdom,” he told The Gleaner.
As an initiative of the annual 10,000 Men and Family’s March that will be held virtually on March 14 this year, Edwards said he will be organising a number of Christians brothers and sisters to go into inner-city communities to speak to young people on the importance of abstaining from violence.
He said the churches will be coming up with strategies to ensure that these perpetrators behave themselves.
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