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West Palm pastor: ‘Our prayers go with that church and their families’

A pastor for West Palm Beach-based Family Church says it will join Southern Baptist Convention church efforts to provide what succor it can to victims and families of Sunday’s southern Texas church shooting.

“We’re happy to help in any way we can,” said Kevin Mahoney, pastor of stewardship for Family Church,”whether that’s some type of help with just prayer, or support for their people.”

Officials have not officially confirmed the number killed or injured in Sunday’s shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. However, Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr. said at least 27 were killed and more than 20 injured.

Family Church is a network of 10 South Florida churches based at First Baptist in downtown West Palm Beach.

It’s part of the Southern Baptist Convention of 40,000 churches. “We do help each other in times of difficulties,” Mahoney said. “We have an organization that is involved in assistance for hurricane relieve that is second only to the American Red Cross.”

“We’re watching this as a developing story and we hope we’ll be able to find a way where we, through our association with the Southern Baptist network, will be able to help. … Our prayers go with that church and their families.”

Rev. Gerald Kisner, pastor of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, said he preached a sermon Sunday morning about whether joy is possible in such perilous times, citing killings in New York and Las Vegas. Then, to hear news of the Sutherland Springs church shooting was both extremely troubling and alarming, he said.

“This atmosphere of violence in the whole culture is just really catching up with us,” Kisner said. “People don’t feel any hesitancy to take out their frustration in violent ways. It’s a society where you can say anything, you can do anything and we’ve lost our sense of compassion. It’s incumbent upon people of goodwill and of faith to revisit their traditions that are about faith and peace and compassion.”

It’s again time to rethink “the easy proliferation of guns” and the question of mental health services, he added.

“We’ve swept all this under the rug, about mental health, but we really have to revisit this, in my humble opinion, because there are a lot of people out there who are really troubled. It’s a volatile combination.”

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