PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The usual Thursday evening “Power of Prayer” service at Legacy International Worship Center in Pittsburgh took on a special meaning.
A little more than 24 hours ago, a Syrian refugee living in Pittsburgh was arrested and charged in connection with a terror plot aimed at this small Christian church on the North Side.READ MORE: 'I Can't Believe It's Been Three Years:' Community Prepares To Remember, Reflect On Tree Of Life Shooting
“We were not here just to come to church, but we were here to celebrate,” said Pastor Michael Day. “God kept our church, our community safe. We’re still here, it was a celebration more than anything.”
According to federal investigators, 21-year-old Mustafa Alowemer said he was inspired by ISIS and hoped his deadly plan would inspire other ISIS brothers around the nation.
Day did not mention Alowemer by name, but he did make reference to him.READ MORE: Cleveland Browns Quarterback Baker Mayfield Hopes To Play Sunday Against Pittsburgh Steelers
“We hope that his life is changed as well,” Day said. “It is not our job to judge, it is not our job to be the jury or judge, it is our job to love.”
After the service, the reaction was a mix of shock and support for the church and congregation.
“Something like this to happen in this neighborhood, to come this close to us, is shocking and amazing,” said Pastor Timothy Caldwell.
Karen Reaves just wanted to be present for the congregation.MORE NEWS: 'Stand Up And Speak Out Against Antisemitism': President Biden, Other Pa. Officials Offer Tree Of Life Remembrances
“I just came to support and pray for everybody,” she said.