Killing of Pastor Brodes Perry Poses New Challenges for Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church

by Tonyaa Weathersbee

At Jefferson Street and Bellevue Avenue in Midtown, a banner of a beaming the Rev. Dr. Lawrence Turner, senior pastor of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, and his wife, Bridgett, greets passersby with the words “Love Without Limits.”

From what I can tell, the church works to live up to that.

In April 2017, it welcomed hundreds of youths into its sanctuary to listen to Memphis officials tell them how they should love themselves enough to not kill their own futures.

Later in October, it hosted the first Moral Mondays table talk dinner as a prelude to the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. The people who packed the dining hall talked more than they ate — and most talked about doing more to embrace people struggling to eat, to pay rent and to raise children on low wages.

And those are just the gatherings I happened to attend.

But now, Mississippi Boulevard must channel the love that it uses to uplift the community toward itself — especially since the violence that it tries to fight with faith recently shattered its safe space.

The church’s executive pastor, 36-year-old Brodes Perry, was fatally shot in his Collierville apartment last week, while his wife, Tabatha, was wounded.

According to Collierville police, the woman accused of killing Perry, Latoshia Daniels, 39, shot him several times as she yelled: “You broke my heart.”

Since Perry’s slaying, social media posts have dripped with salaciousness about alleged romantic involvements — compounding the tragedy not only for those whose lives he touched, but sparking bewilderment and a sense of betrayal.

So, the church must not only figure out how to comfort the congregants who are struggling with the pain of losing Perry, but how to ease the pain of seeing the life of a pastor they loved viewed through the prism of scandal.

To do that, Mississippi Boulevard seems to be sticking to what it knows.

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Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal