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Congregation Gives Pastor Gift Of Forgiveness After Arrest

Congregation Gives Pastor Gift Of Forgiveness After Arrest

Before the packed Grace of All Nations church Sunday morning, Archbishop A. Livingston Foxworth asked his congregation for forgiveness but never specified for what.

The pastor of the Dorchester church was one of nine men arrested last Tuesday during an online prostitution sting by the Boston Police Department’s human trafficking unit. Those arrested were responding to ads offering sex with a woman for fees ranging between $130 and $200, according to Boston police. The woman waiting for them turned out to be an undercover detective.

Hassan Williams, Foxworth’s attorney and a member of the church, said he had no comment when asked about the case before the Sunday morning service. Reporters present for service were told they could observe, but not bring notebooks inside or take notes.

Foxworth sat solemnly near his wife in a front pew, singing along with songs, but did not speak until near the end of the service, which lasted more than three hours.

Several speakers referred to Foxworth’s service in the community and encouraged the parishioners to support his family and cover him in their prayers, because they know he isn’t perfect.

Then Foxworth spoke briefly, referring to challenges in the past week. He said that perhaps legally there were certain things he shouldn’t share, but he wanted to be upfront.

He told them there had been many sleepless nights and struggles with panic attacks during the days, while praising his wife’s steady devotion and the church’s constant encouragement.

He apologized, saying that his actions reflected poorly on the membership and on his three great loves: the Lord, his wife and family, and his ministry, and that he planned to go through a period of reflection.

As he spoke, Foxworth received shouts of support and at the end, parishioners surrounded his family — including at least some of his adult children and his grandchildren — hugging them and lifting their arms in prayer.

In front of the church after the service, most parishioners declined to comment to a reporter, but two women voiced their support for Foxworth.

“Let those without sin, cast the first stone,” said Laura Langford, 76, a member of the church since 1999. “We all fall short. It’s all about forgiveness. We forgive him. We love him. We’ve all done stuff.”

According to a notice in Sunday’s church pamphlet, Foxworth planned to meet with the men of the church in the lower-level library immediately after the service.

Source: BostonGlobe.com

Date Posted: Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 , Total Page Views: 953

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