Community offers prayers

Published 11:11 pm Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Law enforcement officals stand in front during a prayer service at city hall last night. | Photo courtesy of Endsley Givhan

Law enforcement officals stand in front during a prayer service at city hall last night. | Photo courtesy of Endsley Givhan

More than 150 people, including 11 ministers, two musicians, and a host of law enforcement officers gathered in Andalusia City Hall last night to memorialize the lives lost last week, to pray for their families, and to pray for the safety of those who protect and serve in the local community.

The Rev. Darryl Calloway, pastor of Whatley Street First Baptist Church, and Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor of East Three Notch First Baptist Church, organized the event, the second of its kind held in little more than a year to promote peace and unity, and to denounce the violence the plagues the country.

“A year ago, we memorialized the deaths of many in a church in Charleston,” Karthaus said. “After the events of last week, we are here to memorialize all of those who lost their lives because all lives matter. We are here not as black and white, but as brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Calloway said, “Jesus wants us to be together. He wants us to pray and tack an active role, not an passive role.”

Words were spoken about each of the fallen, and a candle was lighted to honor each of them. Memorialized were:

• Alton Sterling, 37, who was shot in Baton Rouge, La., last Tuesday;

• Philando Castile, 32, who died last Wednesday in Minnesota;

• Brent Thompson, a 43-year-old transit police officer, Dallas;

• Patrick Zamarripa, a 32-year-old officer who served three tours in Iraq;

• Michael Krol, a 40-year-old member of the Dallas police force;

• Lorne Ahrens, a 14-year- veteran of the Dallas police;

• Michael Smith, 55, also an officer.

Prayers were offered for each of them, for their families, for the shooters, and for the families of the shooters.

Other participating ministers included Lee Crowder, Phillip Morgan, Bob Madsen, Mike Flowers, Leroy Cole, Jason Thrower, Terry Powell, Darryl Bush and Calvin Feagin.

Andalusia Police Chief Paul Hudson said, “These men and women chose their employment for a better future for families, a safer society, and to work to make justice prevail. A choice of each of my offices as of late has been to leave home to protect its citizens, who in some circumstances ridicule and demonize the badge.

What my officers, myself, and hundreds of thousands of other officers do is to work to protect you, your families, our families and the communities in the midst of anger, hatred and turmoil.

“For the officers at APD, I can’t make a promise that they will return home,” he said. “I can’t tell a spouse, child or a parent that their husband, their wife, their mother or father, or their child, will be unharmed.

“I can promise that they will have an administration that stands behind them and they will be equipped with the best training and equipment within my means to make a safer watch,” he said. “I can also promise each officer a prayer is said every night for their safety.”

Karthaus said it is his hope that the people of Andalusia can send a testimony to community, state and nation.

“Our community can live together, and stand together as one country under God,” he said.