Church Leaders Stand Behind Kalamazoo Mother

KALAMAZOO, Mich.– The church community is vowing to stand behind a mother who lost her three young children in a deadly fire this month.

Strick Strickland, Senior Pastor of Second Baptist Church, spoke to church members at Galilee Baptist Church in Kalamazoo this morning. His message was brief and to the point, urging everyone to have all the facts before passing judgement.

It’s been a devastating week since the deadly fire at Interfaith Homes killed three young kids and destroyed the homes of four families.

Pastor Strickland said recovery is slow because of the scrutiny one woman has faced. He’s referring to 25-year-old Jonetta Woods, the mother who lost her three-year old twins and baby girl in that fire. Her surviving child is now staying with a relative.

Pastor Strickland said, while Woods may have been in trouble with the law in the past and even had child protective services called on her. Strickland said woods has never been charged or cited for Neglect. In fact, he said CPS should have taken action if the kids were in danger.

“It’s unfair to everyone, to all the families affected by this fire, the people trying to restore their lives,” said Strickland. “We have to get back to our lives. This is not a usual situation; coping with the death of three young children. It’s difficult. And it’s even more difficult when we don’t have a full scope of the truth.”

“I’ve been by her side since day one,” said city commissioner, Stephanie Moore. “She’s grieving. She suffered the greatest loss any parent can imagine. On top of that, she’s dealing with police, CPS, family court, all while trying to make funeral arrangements. It’s a tremendous burden and she’s trying to cope as best she can.”

Funeral arrangements are still pending. Moore said the services will likely be held early next week at Whitley Memorial Funeral Home, and the funerals held at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, both in Kalamazoo.

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