Members of the Christ Community Church in Montreat, North Carolina, are overjoyed at Turkey's release of evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson.
A Turkish court on Friday convicted Brunson on terror-related charges but released him from house arrest and allowed him to leave Turkey. The decision is expected to ease strained U.S.-Turkey relations.
Debi Forester, the church's communications director, says the church's Rev. Richard White has been with the Brunson family in Turkey for a day or two. The U.S. Consulate is handling Brunson's travel arrangements to return to the United States.
She quotes White as saying the group is "all just shouting 'Hallelujah!' and doing the happy dance." She says the church will have a welcome home party for Brunson sometime.
The court sentenced Brunson to a little more than three years in prison, but since the 50-year-old North Carolina native has already spent two years in detention, he won't serve more time.
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