San Diegans talk racism as they pray for Charleston - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diegans talk racism as they pray for Charleston

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - As the Charleston church where last week's deadly shooting occurred reopens to the public, a pastor here in San Diego is using his time to speak out about racism. The Rock Church Pastor Miles McPherson dedicated Sunday's services to the topic. 

Thousands of people attend services at The Rock Church each Sunday. This Sunday, they listened as their pastor didn't hold back, saying racism is alive and well and now is a time better than any to talk about it.

“We're going to be the people of God that say God loves all people,” Pastor McPherson told the crowd.

Speaking before a packed house, Pastor McPherson addressed the issue of racism in a talk titled “All Lives Matter.”

“There's a bunch of wonderful people sitting right near you whose life experiences oppose yours and they're wonderful people, and the devil is trying to keep you away from them,” said Pastor McPherson.

Pastor McPherson says racism exists all around us, even inside their church. He asked people to make a change, challenging churchgoers to approach someone who doesn't look like them and ask, “how can I pray for you?”

“Before you leave the room where you are, I want you to go up to one of them you don't know. Some of you are very uncomfortable right now and if you are uncomfortable, I pray you can move out of that area because that is not a good place to be,” said Pastor McPherson.

The pastor's message came on the same day Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church opened its doors for the first time since last week's shooting. The morning service was so crowded people had to stand outside. Inside, Rev. Norvel Goff spoke passionately about the pain the congregation has endured and how they're moving forward.

“Many of our hearts are broken. Many of us are still shedding tears,” said Rev. Norvel Goff. “A lot of folks expected us to do something strange and to break out in a riot. Well, they just don't know us!”

Here in San Diego, the Charleston tragedy is still on the minds of many.

“My heart goes out to the families that had to experience that,” said Pastor McPherson.

Many of the churchgoers say that the pastor's talk couldn't have come at a better time.

“I just feel there's a great need to get back to God and his laws and learning to love one another and accept one another.”

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