Pastor offers comfort and support to communities affected by African-American churches torched

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ST. LOUIS - The pastor of Greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in north St. Louis has a message of comfort for a community in Louisiana where 3 fires have been set at African-American churches.

“My heart goes out to the pastors and the congregation,” said Pastor Titus Irving.

He knows first-hand the heartache of being targeted.  His church on Gilmore was vandalized and set on fire in 2016.  A suspect has never been brought to justice.  St. Louis pastors were also on edge following a string of fires targeting African-American churches in 2015.  A suspect was arrested and remains behind bars.  He was described as mentally troubled with a criminal past.

“It still brings tears to my eyes,” said Irving.

He helped build and rebuild Greater St. Paul with his owns hands.  The church has made a remarkable recovery.  He’s heard stories of pastors in Louisiana sleeping in their own churches in an effort to protect them from anyone trying to set a fire.

“I thought about doing the same thing coming here and camping out at the church,” said Irving.  He said those thoughts entered his mind on the one-year anniversary of his church’s resurrection.

His message to church leaders in Louisiana is to know that everything will be okay.

“Keep the faith, he said.  “That’s what I kept.  I kept the faith and believed that God would allow us to come back and 6 months we were back in our church.”

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