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Church Services Offer Ferguson A Place To Reflect

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

At Wellspring Church on South Florissant Road, about 100 parishioners prayed and sang for the first time since riots and looting erupted over the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer.

The aftermath of Brown's death was on the forefront of everyone's mind.

“There are those who feel like tearing something up and tearing something down,” said Pastor Willis Johnson who commended those who have taken to the streets to demand justice for Brown.

“Thousands are moved; thousands are moved to march into and across communities, professing their pain through their yelling, through their chanting, their blogging and even their crying and laughing,” he said.

Johnson also condemned the police’s handling of the unrest on the streets, which, for the first time Saturday night, included a midnight curfew. 

“We [protest] while being confronted by municipally sponsored, militarized minutemen; we do this while being confined to a segregated section away from the big house,” he said, adding, “we do this while being commanded to a bed time by a governor, I mean a grandparent, figure.”

Not everyone, though, was opposed to a curfew.

Holding the door for fellow church members at Greater St. Mark Missionary Church on Chambers Road, Mary Magee said she supports the midnight to 5 a.m. curfew.

“For as long as it takes: If it takes a curfew to keep these folks from actin’ a fool, then, yes, I’m in favor,” she said.

Other residents also said they supported the curfew, if it prevented future violence on the street. Lawrence Jones from Overland said the curfew is an effective way to target trouble makers who don’t represent Brown’s cause.

“We had curfews when we were kids, and it ain’t a bad thing. Get your butt off the street if you’re of a certain age,” he said.

“Yes, a curfew is definitely a good thing for as long as it takes,” said Jones. “We had curfews – I’m 58 years old – we had curfews; it wasn’t bad for me.”

The Missouri State Highway Patrol announced Sunday afternoon the curfew from midnight to 5 a.m. would be enforced on Monday as the unrest continues.