Ferguson Churches Prep for Grand Jury Verdict

According to multiple reports from news agencies, the grand jury has reached a decision in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The decision is set to be announced Monday night or Tuesday morning in a news conference.

Ferguson march

People gather to march in Ferguson, Mo. on Aug. 15, 2014. Photo courtesy of Loavesofbread

The grand jurors could choose to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson with one of four crimes: First degree murder, second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter.

The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney in St. Louis County, Mo., made the announcement shortly before 3 p.m. CT, but did not say when the decision would be revealed and gave no indication whether Darren Wilson would be charged in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Wilson, 28, shot and killed Brown on a Ferguson, Mo. street following a scuffle on Aug. 9 as the teenager and a friend walked back from a convenience store.  

Officials had expressed concern that the widespread and sometimes violent protests would occur again, and authorities had stepped up security in the St. Louis area in anticipation of renewed protests leading up to the grand jury’s decision.

Religion News Service reports that local clergy are hoping there won’t be a great need for people to get off the streets when the decision is announced, but churches plan to be there for the community under all circumstances.

St. John’s in Ferguson has set a prayer vigil for 7 p.m. the day of the grand jury announcement. Christ Church Cathedral downtown will host a 24-hour prayer vigil after the announcement. West Side Missionary Baptist Church in Florissant is throwing a freedom rally and prayer service at 7 p.m. that day.

According to a report from CBN News, area pastors have been preparing for months in advance by sharing messages of God’s love.

“When you walk into these doors or, as I like to say, when we walk into your life or you walk into ours, what you will encounter is the true God who is without prejudice,” said Bishop Raphael Green who pastors the Metropolitan Christian Worship Center in south St. Louis.

For nearly 30 years, Bishop Green has hosted the Urban World Summit, a rally to prayer and action to heal across racial and cultural divides. “We’ve all been challenged to really forgive,” Green said. “And let’s move forward out of the heart of God.”

This year’s keynote speaker was Bishop Harry Jackson, chairman of High Impact Leadership Coalition and pastor of Hope Christian Church in suburban Washington, D.C.

Jackson urged churches to rise up and take the lead by reflecting the unity found in God’s love and Christian love or one another: “Jesus was very clear when he prayed to the Father that we would be one,” Jackson told CBN News. “The insight that we should all get is that when people see our love demonstrated in power, they’ll know that Jesus is real. Nothing says that more powerfully in this day than black, white, Asian, Hispanic worshipping together, working together, in an open banner of Christ over their relationships.”

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