Pastors rally Parkland residents after man is murdered leaving church

Pastors comfort grieving community after church member killed leaving Sunday service
Updated: Aug. 29, 2018 at 12:36 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Pastors in the Parkland neighborhood attempted to rally their community after a man was gunned down while leaving a local church Sunday.

"It causes us to ask the question, is anything sacred? And I would say yes, it is," David Snardon, President of the Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition said.

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Pastors gathered for a vigil near the intersection where 43-year-old Bennie Berry was shot and killed as he walked to his car following services at the Elim Baptist Church. They offered prayers and words of encouragement to members of the congregation and the community at large.

Leaders said the murder resulted in more than a loss of life, there is also a loss of a sense of safety and sanctuary.

"There are people who are really raising their families who are fully invested right in that neighborhood so it was devastating this occurred," Metro Councilwoman Jessica Green said.

Green encouraged residents to not give in to fear.

A grief counselor is assisting church members.

"You're standing in a community of broken-ness," behavioral health counselor Harvetta Ray said. "That's very traumatic when you've lost a loved one. And a lot of people around here have lost loved ones."

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Elim Baptist Pastor Vincent James said the church congregation has been a catalyst for change in Parkland. The congregation promotes after school care, affordable housing and an end to neighborhood violence.

"It is a great day. A day of defining moments," James said encouraging residents to move forward.

James is also part of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's administration as Chief of Community Building.

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