Ferguson-area churches offer aid after police killing

In the weeks since the fatal shooting by police of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri, F. Willis Johnson has led prayer vigils, met with community leaders, and comforted protesters.

Johnson is pastor of Wellspring Church, a predominantly African-American Unit­ed Methodist congregation, located about a block from the police station in the St. Louis suburb and less than a mile from where most of the protests have been taking place after Brown was shot August 9.

“The ultimate concern is this: under no pretense does someone deserve to lose their life, and in this case to have innocence stripped,” said Johnson, who is the father of a teenage son. “Innocence is not defined by court law but by the fact all life is sacred. In our faith tradition, that is enough to stand on.”