Local News

Minister Wants To Offer More Than Prayer In Funeral Service Of Seven Church Members

Posted November 14, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— A funeral service will be held Thursday for seven people who died in a weekend house fire. The minister leading the service will not just offer words of comfort, but has made it his mission to help prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again.

Even after 32 years on the pulpit, the funeral service for seven family members will not be easy for Rev. Thomas Walker. Six children and one adult died in the Sunday morning fire.

"Seven. I have never had that many and never imagined having that many," he says.

Walker plans to preach from the book of Job, a man favored by God who lost all 10 of his children when a house collapsed. Walker believes the hundreds of people who will fill his pews will sense comfort in spite of their circumstances.

"Clearly, words are hard to find for something of this nature, but the spirit of God gives us the strength to see things in a spiritual manner and to help people to rise to a higher level," Walker says. "It will clearly require a lot of prayer and really be focused to hear what God will say because human words are inadequate for a disaster like this."

Walker is asking Rocky Mount leaders for tougher enforcement of rental housing laws. His church is even fixing run-down houses so renters can be homeowners.

The funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Rocky Mount.