Countless pastors of small churches open and close their church buildings on Sunday mornings; the tasks become for many unspoken parts of their jobs. In lots of other cases, pastors are the first to arrive on Sunday mornings to get a last couple of hours of sermon polish and/or mental focus in before preaching time. Congregants typically are barely aware of these comings and goings. Only recently has putting their lives on the line become a real part of the dynamic of the job for many of these faithful pastors.
Law enforcement authorities in Jackson, Mississippi, are saying that at least two suspects, most likely with robbery on their minds, were involved in the murder of the Reverend Anthony Longino as he unlocked the doors of New Bethany Missionary Baptist Church yesterday. I don’t know what from the church itself might have been taken, but at least one of the killer made off with the pastor’s new Dodge Ram truck when they were finished with their blood-evil.
I know that my church family at Silverside Church will join me in mourning the theft of Pastor Longino’s life and in holding his family and congregation in their prayers and positive thoughts. I hope any others who may read this post will do the same. And, congregations: protect your pastors’ lives!