Members of a Baltimore church are giving thanks this week that their longtime pastor wasn’t seriously injured during a mid-service assault on November 20. According to news reports, a 55-year-old man allegedly attacked Bishop Jerome Stokes with a hammer during Sunday worship at The Church of the Redeemed of the Lord (CRL).
Stokes, 78, received only a minor laceration on one ear. The alleged attacker, whom police say may have been having a mental health crisis, was evaluated at a local hospital.
Baltimore Church: ‘We Thank God That Dr. Stokes Is Okay’
In a statement posted to its Facebook page, the Baltimore church addresses the violent interruption of “our corporate worship experience.” It notes: “We thank God that Dr. Stokes is okay and recovering with only minor injuries. We appreciate the quick response of those parishioners who apprehended the individual. The safety of all who come to worship at CRL is of paramount importance; and our team is reviewing Sunday’s incident and assessing our safety protocols.”
The church concludes by saying it is cooperating with the police investigation and encourages people to pray “for everyone impacted by Sunday’s incident.”
Stokes has served for 35 years at the church, where he is both senior pastor and CEO. He also is an author and broadcasts through The Lamp of Victory radio program.
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According to its website, The Church of the Redeemed of the Lord provides “congregants and community with programs, services, and courses of instruction for the development of the total person.” Through “strategic business plans,” the church says it’s able “to meet the needs of the community, empower individuals, and change lives.”
Baltimore Churchgoers: ‘Our God Is a Protector’
On social media, people are thanking and praising God for safeguarding the beloved spiritual leader from Sunday’s attack. “Our God is a Protector,” reads one comment. “We are praying for a full recovery and rebuke all attacks against our Bishop and our CRL family in the name of Jesus.” Someone else writes: “Thank you Lord for the health, life and wellbeing of our Bishop, a true and honorable man of God.”
Another comment reads: “Father God I am extremely grateful and thankful that your hedge of protection kept our Shepherd and Lady Marsha and that everyone present was unharmed.”
Several people mention Satan in their comments. “That devil is mad because Bishop is an anointed, God-fearing, humble Man of God, and making [an] impact for the Kingdom of God, but the devil is defeated,” reads one.
Someone else writes: “To me, it stands to reason that the devil will use those of us who are mentally unstable to fulfill [its] will which is to attack those who are the most anointed and who are doing the work of the Lord. Bishop Stokes is our [anointed] Angel. My heart and prayers go out to Bishop, and to the one suffering mentally. … We don’t always understand, but we always Love you beyond words and Trust you dear GOD.”
Another comment reads: “The devil is a liar…OUR GOD IS EXALTED and will never be defeated.”
This article was originally published at ChurchLeaders.com.
Stephanie Martin, a freelance writer and editor in Denver, is a contributor to ChurchLeaders.