Church saved by prayer

Published 12:01 am Thursday, January 3, 2008

NATCHEZ — The New Year came with an unexpected bang at Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church Monday night.

And it was likely prayer that kept everyone safe.

Church members were gathered at the church for a watch service, when what they believe to be a bullet came flying through the window.

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The Rev. Birdon Mitchell had just called everyone up to the altar for a midnight prayer.

“It kind of startled everybody, but I continued the prayer,” Mitchell said.

The bullet hit a pew — where someone had been sitting all night — during the prayer. Mitchell said at any other time during the night, someone would have been hit.

“We finished the prayer and a fellow member went looking,” Mitchell said. “He discovered what seemed as a bullet and saw the hole from the window to the seat cover.”

The police were called, but the bullet was never recovered.

The alleged bullet left a hole in the seat cushion and hit the wood, Mitchell said.

“The police tried to reach in to see whether they could recover the bullet,” he said. “I asked them not to tear through the cushion.”

Police Chief Mike Mullins said the incident was logged as “a flying object, possibly a bullet.”

Mitchell said he didn’t think the incident was the result of crime.

“It was because of the New Year,” he said. “I think it happened in another area. The bullet was on a downward direction as it came in through the window.”