Currents News Staff
The Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Georgia is sharing gratitude and courage after avoiding what police say was a planned knife attack.
On Wednesday, November 6, a 16-year-old girl showed up to the church’s back door.
There was supposed to be Bible study that night, but it was canceled so that parishioners could prepare for the church’s 118th anniversary the following weekend.
Brother Robert Clark was with his son cleaning the floors when the girl appeared and asked if there was Bible study. He said no, and shut the door.
He sensed no sort of conflict or anger on her face, but remembered it was already dark outside when the girl arrived, one hand kept in her pocket.
“There were a lot of things that were going on that night that could have happened,” he said. “But y’all got to realize one thing: God was in control of the whole thing.”
Otherwise, this congregation could have been in mourning.
More than a week later, police say a Gainesville High School student overheard a conversation about an alleged threat and reported it to a school resource officer.
Gainesville Police Chief Jay Parrish did not mince words about the teen, saying, “she is a racist.”
He said the white suspect had researched black churches online, acquired knives, and written down how she planned to carry out the alleged plot.
Rev. Riser-Pool called it “another wake-up call,” saying she’s overwhelmed with the support the church has received, including people from all communities who came to Sunday’s service.
“It lets you know that we’re still a nation that loves and takes care, and wants to support one another, because we recognize that what happens to one happens to us all,” she said.