Historic Church On Greenwood Prays For Charleston Victims In Light Of Own Threats

Sunday, June 21st 2015, 7:25 pm
By: News On 6

People gathered at the site of a deadly church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina today to hold their first worship service since the attack.

The murders, believed to be racially motivated, took the lives of nine church-goers Wednesday night at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

And here in Oklahoma, people also were gathering to pray for peace and to show their support for a community touched by tragedy hundreds of miles away.

One of those — the Historic Vernon AME church near Downtown Tulsa — gathered even in light of recent threats its own pastor.

Vernon AME church has stood on Greenwood Avenue for more than 100 years, withstanding trials and tribulations of its own. It was a somber morning at Vernon, with Tulsans mourning the lives tragically taken in Charleston.

Pastor Michelle Moulden said the Tulsa church can now go on the list of other AME churches across the country receiving threats.

"Just this morning, before I came to church, there was a threat made," Moulden said.

Moulden doesn't want to repeat what was said in a phone call to her, but says she won't be intimidated.

" I'm not going to give credence to that,” she said. “I am not afraid; this church is not afraid. We stand on God's promises and will continue to do so."

So the doors of the church remain open, like the ones in Charleston.

“[Charleston] opened the doors of their church to their congregation,” she said. “They need to be in their church; they need to be in worship together."

Nine pictures were displayed in front of the Tulsa congregation -- the faces of those slain.

Closest to the pulpit, a picture of South Carolina state senator Clem Pinkney, the pastor of Charleston's Emanuel AME Church.

Moulden says while the congregation is saddened by the tragedy, it rejoices in its faith all the same.

"We will receive threats, but we've got to trust God,” Moulden said. “The only thing that's going to change is that we have got to be very aware of our surroundings. We are not going to close the doors of the church. This is God's house."

And the church is receiving support. Visitors were seen sitting in the pews on Sunday morning, including Tulsa's district attorney. It was a sign of solidarity that church members say is encouraging and uplifting.

As for the threats, Moulden says, they don't plan to go to the police, but they will respond in the best way they know how.

"We're going to pray,” she said.