Local pastor to discuss Charleston massacre in sermon
A Bedford Hills pastor is struggling to make sense of a deadly shooting at a South Carolina church with his first sermon.
This Sunday, the Rev. Merle McJunkin will deliver that sermon to his new congregation at Antioch Baptist Church. He had planned to deliver a Father's Day-focused sermon, but acknowledges that he needs to speak about the tragedy that is on everyone's mind.
"I'm praying through it," says McJunkin, who hopes to ultimately deliver a message of peace and hope that resonates with his church. "I'm still in shock. I still have sorrow," he says.
The pastor admits to feeling pressure, knowing that his church will look to him to make sense of the unthinkable tragedy.
Affidavits released Friday indicate that 21-year-old Dylann Roof, who is white, allegedly began shooting about an hour after he entered Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston Wednesday, killing nine people who were at Bible study.
Court documents also indicate that Roof stood over a witness and made a racial remark before shooting.
"We are still reminded of hope -- that evil never gets the final word," says McJunkin, who is black. "God gets the final word. There's always hope."