The Last Thing He Saw Was the Cross

Articles left by mourners.
Articles left by mourners.

Many of you have heard of the murder that took place on our church property last week.

It happened Sunday, July 13, somewhere around 3 am on the street directly behind the parsonage. The young man who was shot was in his car at the time and made his way to the front of the church.

Somehow he managed to get out of his vehicle before dying there – in front of the large wooden cross.

The Cross
The Last Thing He Saw

That Sunday, all services and meetings were cancelled as the Police investigated the entire block. Yellow tape and flashing lights surrounded us as we watched them at their work.

Unable to leave the premises due to the investigation, it gave our family a day of rest – no peace – but rest.

The mourning family arrived early in the day and stood weeping, as close to the cross as the Police would allow at that time.

More candles left behind.
More candles left behind.

Now that time has passed and the Police have gone, many more have come and stood, sat, wept, and just stared at the cross.

Candles, flowers, stuffed animals and other less pleasant things (like unlit cigarettes and even a flask) have begun to fill the parking space where his car stopped and his life ended.

We wonder here what to do with all the pain and sorrow we see on the too young faces that come and go every day. Some bear the longing for something more. Others mask themselves with hatred.

The police have yet to catch the killer. So those grieving have no closure. The funeral was only a reminder of their loss, still so fresh and without purpose.

Tonight, one week has passed. God has pulled back another curtain for us. This time, we see the hurting hearts of those who’ve lost. But another thing has appeared, the deep need around us.

Watch Pastor James on the evening news in front of our church here.

I’ve known it was there. But then I saw a young man – whom I might avoid on a dark street corner – weeping on his knees out of loss, pain and fear, in front of a cross he wants to find comfort in, but doesn’t understand.

And my heart breaks.

Once again, I am overwhelmed with the work to be done here. I’m never afraid. But how can we know which one needs our words? A moment of eye contact, of understanding.

How can we know? God’s Word floods my mind with the answers I’m trying to practically apply now.

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

May God bless and keep you all as you work daily, hourly, to obey His Word, follow in His paths, and enjoy walking in the good works He’s created in advance for you to do.


  1. Sounds to me like God has placed a ministry for the lost right at your doorstep. What an amazing opportunity to show love for the lost and comfort them through the love Christ has called us to have one for another. May you continue to reach out to those lost and comfort them through a kind word, empathetic touch, and compassionate hug.

  2. Thanks for sharing this James. Have been praying for your and your ministry especially during this time of interacting with the community under difficult circumstances.

  3. Losing my brother that day was the most tragic day of my life, Thank you all for being so Gracious to me and our family, Thank you for your prayers and support. God Bless, Eileen Williams

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