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Jul 06, 2011

South Carolina Priest Robbed at Gunpoint, Says God was with Him

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Chad Lawrence, associate priest at St. Helena's Episcopal Church in Beaufort, South Carolina, was robbed at gunpoint during the evening of Saturday, June 25, outside the church.


With a gun to the back of his head, Lawrence was forced into the church offices to retrieve his keys. After the gunman tied Lawrence's hands behind his back, he said, "Give me three reasons why I shouldn't kill you right now," the priest recalled in an interview with WTOC news service. Lawrence replied: "I have a wife and children whom I love very much ... I'm here doing God's work ... and if you do kill me you're going to have to answer to him."


The gunman then used an extension cord to tie Lawrence's hands and feet together. "I heard him clicking the gun a little bit. He put the gun again to my head and said, 'I'll be back,'" Lawrence recalled.


As the gunman left and reportedly stole Lawrence's wallet from his car, the priest managed to break free and call the police. Police are still looking for the gunman, who fled on foot when they arrived, WTOC news reported.


"God was with me in a terrible storm ... I knew that he was there and that he was in control," said Lawrence, whose father is Diocese of South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence.


Despite the harrowing experience, Lawrence was back at his Diocese of South Carolina church the following day to preach three sermons "about peace and the peace that God brings through repentance and turning to him and the forgiveness that he brings," he said.