The pastor of a black church targeted in a foiled attack praises a student for preventing ‘a bloodbath’

In News, WQAD by Maya

(CNN) — On a typical Sunday, about 40 congregants gather at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Gainesville, Georgia.

But this was far from a typical Sunday.

Throngs of supporters gathered at Bethel AME days after a teen was arrested for allegedly plotting to attack the historically black church.

Outside the church, supporters of different races held signs in solidarity.

“We stand with Bethel AME,” one colorful sign read.

“Keep hate out of Georgia,” another poster said.

The church’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Michelle Rizer-Pool, said she’s been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. She knew exactly what she wanted to tell her congregation during Sunday’s service.

“My message today is about encouragement,” she said. “We cannot be afraid.”

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