Wright said the man, who has not been identified by police yet, was carrying the rifle without a clip in one hand and a loaded ammunition clip in the other hand. But, Wright said, he didn’t know if the rifle had a round of ammunition in it.

Wright stepped down quickly from the pulpit when he saw the man, who appeared to be in his late 20s. The man continued moving toward the front of the church, pointing the rifle into the air. The two met, near the front of the sanctuary.”Can I help you?” the pastor asked the man.

Wright, who is a 57-year-old retired soldier, said the man’s answer determined his next action. “If he was belligerent, I was going to tackle him,” said Wright, who is 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds. But the stranger was calm, and Wright took the weapon from him. He then patted him down, and the pastor summoned four strong deacons to embrace the disarmed man, in an effort to make him feel welcome. Wright then prayed for the man, who fell to his knees and began crying.

The man was then invited to sit on the front pew, and Wright resumed the Watch Night service. During the altar call at the conclusion, the man came forward and asked for salvation.

“He gave his life to Christ,” Wright said in an interview Saturday with The Fayetteville Observer.

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