A Christian mother and her six children died in a house fire over the weekend near Clinton, Miss. Now the family's pastor is speaking out to CBN News about the deep grief as well as the abiding faith that's carrying the family and church through this tragedy.
The mom, Brittany Presley, and her children died in a fire early Saturday morning that authorities said resulted from an electrical problem in the attic. As we've reported, the city of Clinton identified the victims in a Facebook post as Brittany Presley, 33; Lane, 13; Lawson, 12; Grayson, 6; Malcolm, 4; Felicity, 1; and Landon Brookshire, 15.
Their father, Jake Presley, survived but was injured trying to save his family. He suffered smoke inhalation, burns, cuts, and bruises, authorities said. He spent the last few days recovering at a local hospital and has been released.
Family friend Lisa Williams told CBN News on Thursday the funeral service for the members of the Presley family has been scheduled.
The visitation will be held from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Feb. 21 at Morrison Heights Baptist Church, 3000 Hampstead Boulevard in Clinton. A visitation will also be held at 10:00 am on Feb. 22 at the church followed by the funeral service at 11:00 am. A graveside service followed by interment will be at Lakewood Memorial Park, 6000 Clinton Boulevard in Jackson.
Anyone wanting to send flowers should send them to the Morrison Heights Baptist Church.
'Trusting in Our Great Lord and Savior'
The Presley family were members of the Raymond Road Baptist Church in Jackson. In addition, Brittany's mother and several other people who are related to the family attend there.
In an email to CBN News, the church's pastor Rev. Josh Horner asked for prayers for Jake, for Brittany's mother and the rest of the family, writing about how his congregation is trying to cope with the devastating loss.
"We are all going through the grieving process, but not as those who have no hope. I have encouraged our congregation to continue trusting in our great Lord and Savior despite our flawed and limited understanding," Horner said.
The pastor has encouraged his congregation to fix their eyes on Jesus during life's darkest times.
"As I often do in times like these, I encourage our families to find comfort and counsel from the Word of God, follow the Holy Spirit, and fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith. We have real pain and real circumstances, but we have hope in Jesus!" he explained.
Horner says the Jackson church sees God's hand moving throughout this tragic event.
"Our children's and youth departments have taken a great hit. However, we see God moving in this. His hand is providing for Jake's needs in the midst of this tragedy. Love is poured out from the community, our church family, and other congregations around the state, and prayers from across the nation," he continued.
The pastor says that throughout this ordeal, his congregation's faith will continue to be strong.
"We are standing, coming together and ministering to and loving the Presley family as well as the Rogers family through this difficult time. We will make it through stronger in our faith, closer as a family of believers, and more motivated to reach souls with the Gospel. We will not be shaken!" Horner concluded.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the Presley medical and funeral expenses.
As of Thursday, it had raised more than $99,710 towards its $100,000 goal.
The Raymond Road Baptist Church is also accepting donations to help with the family's needs.
Donations can be mailed to:
Jake Presley Fund
c/o Raymond Road Baptist Church
4622 Raymond Road
Jackson, MS 39212