Suffolk Partner Andrew Page had the opportunity to attend “From Hate to Healing: A Suffolk Prayer Vigil for Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church” at the Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church in Suffolk, Virginia. The event was coordinated by Revered T.F. Irby, Reverend Derrell Wade, and Bishop Carlton R. Upton, Sr. The purpose of the event was to allow the terrible event in Charleston, SC to help Suffolk citizens reach across the racial aisle and lift each other up in a spirit of togetherness and unity against hate, and for healing.
The service included reading of Scripture, prayer, a multi-racial choir, and statements from several local political and community leaders. A special song was sung, written particularly for the occasion, called “They Met to Read the Bible.” All rose out of respect for Alana Simmons (pictured below), granddaughter of one of the victims, Daniel Simmons, as she addressed the crowd of how their family have moved beyond hate to the point that they were able to look the killer in the eyes at a bond hearing and tell him, “I forgive you.”