RELIGION

Michael Brown's Family Pastor Delivers Sermon After Church Is Torched

FERGUSON, MO - NOVEMBER 30:  Carlton Lee delivers a sermon at The Flood Christian Church on November 30, 2014 in Ferguson, Mi
FERGUSON, MO - NOVEMBER 30: Carlton Lee delivers a sermon at The Flood Christian Church on November 30, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown, the Father of Michael Brown Jr., is a member of the church. Lee has been active in the movement of those calling for justice in the shooting death of Brown Jr. The Ferguson area has been struggling to return to normal since the August 9 shooting of Brown Jr., an 18-year-old black man, who was killed by Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson police officer. On November 24, when the grand jury announced that Wilson would not face charges in the shooting rioting and looting broke out throughout the area leaving several businesses burned to the ground. An arson fire was also set that evening at The Flood Christian Church. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

He paced back and forth. He scurried between the front row of Sunday’s makeshift sanctuary. And then he made his way to the podium, propped in an auto-loan shop’s parking lot as the soot-covered bricks of his charred church building sat to his rear.

“Even as I inhale, I still smell the smoke,” Pastor Carlton Lee said as he began. “But that’s okay. We’re not running.”

Lee, who is the Brown family pastor, fought tears as he deliver the first sermon since his church building was burned — almost completely gutted — as chaos ruled the streets in parts of Ferguson on Monday night.

The emotional service came as fundraising efforts to rebuild have topped $50,000.

“Throw us into the fiery furnace, because one thing I know is that my God will cover us,” said Chanel Lee, the church’s first lady, as she emotionally relayed the Old Testament tale of the three Israelites thrown into king’s furnace after refusing to bow to his idols. “And next time you see a hater, tell them: Don’t kill yourself trying to throw me in the fire!”

The outdoor gathering came just six days after the modest church building used by Lee’s Flood Christian Church congregation was burned. While the fire happened as parts of Ferguson were engulfed in riots and violence after the announcement that a grand jury declined to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, Lee’s church sits far from the other damaged businesses.

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