Crystal Springs, MS (WLBT) - Hundreds gathered Monday evening in Crystal Springs, Mississippi to show their support for an African American couple who was prevented from being married at a predominately white church. The City of Crystal Springs organized the rally to send a message of unity.
First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs pastor Rev. Stan Weatherford and New Zion United Methodist Church pastor Rev. Fitzgerald Lovett embraced while hundreds in the city held hands in prayer.
The community came together to show their love during a unity rally after Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson were prevented from marrying at First Baptist. People of different races and religions prayed for healing.
"I pray that God will take a very difficult situation and that he will turn it into good and that we will move beyond tolerating each other," said First Baptist Church pastor Rev. Stan Weatherford.
"This was an unfortunate incident that happened with a small number of individuals, but as a community we want to come forth, acknowledge that this does exist, but then come up with resolutions of how we move forward," said Rev. Fitzgerald Lovett.
The couple at the center of the controversy is still apprehensive despite the outpouring of support at the rally .
"I want to invite you back to Sunday School to get to know the people, not just the ones that created some problems. We're all sinners. We fall short," said First Baptist Church member Greg Duke, who approached Charles Wilson while he spoke to the media.
"When you say come to the church are the same people that put us out of the church still there? How have they changed? Do we know them when we see them, because remember when I was there last time I was told 'Welcome'," said Charles Wilson who stood beside his wife as the rally ended.
Hymns and prayer were followed by a Peace March. Organizers said they wanted the nation to know that residents stand together and will move forward together. Crystal Springs Mayor Sally Garland invited residents to attend a peace walk held each Saturday to help in the healing process.