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Burlington County Pastor Revived By Congregation After Suffering Heart Attack

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By Robin Rieger

LUMBERTON, N.J. (CBS) -- A pastor in Lumberton, Burlington County is lucky to be alive after collapsing from a heart attack during his Easter Sunday service.

“I have the faith,” sings Hanifah Sanders. She sings in her father’s Share The Love church in Lumberton. Faith was needed when her dad, Reverend Jimmy Williams, collapsed from a heart attack in front of his congregation in the middle of his Easter Sunday sermon

“They said, i said ‘watch this’ and that was it. I was standing right in front,” said Williams in his church on Wednesday.

Then police say he was dead on the floor.

“What kept playing in my mind was him falling and its the hardest thing to see the strongest man in your life fall,” said Hanifah.

“When we heard his head bump on the step, everybody just jumped to their feet,” said Lorna Higgs Smith. She and her brother, Jon Castillon, and his wife, Charlotte, were happy to see Williams on Wednesday, it was their CPR skills that helped save his life. The women are registered nurses, who said he had no heart beat.

“I started chest compressions and when I got tired she took over, and when she got tired my husband, Jon took over,” said Castillon.

Lumberton Police Corporal Joe McHugh responded to the 911 call with an automatic external defibrillator, that shocks the heart.

“There are two pads, one goes on left side of chest, one goes to the right underneath the heart,” said McHugh, who demonstrated how the machine works.

He says one shock was all it took.

“The machine did it. The machine brought him back.”

Williams thanked McHugh, whom he sees often around Lumberton, and the others who showed up at the church to greet him.

“For him to be the one that showed up, along with angels that was already in place, its just amazing,” said Williams.

“I think it just wasn’t his time, God’s not finished with him yet,” said Castillon.

“I still have a lot to do,” said Williams, who plans to get back to his sermons in a few weeks.

He said doctors put in a few stents while he was in the hospital. He feels great and say his message on Easter Sunday, which was ‘How close is your relationship to God,’ has even more meaning now.

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