Today, as the latest in our Tuesday's Focus installment we bring you the story of Rev. Walt Everett of Connecticut:
In 1987 Walt Everett’s son, Scott, was shot and killed at the age of 24. For almost a year afterwards, Walt’s emotional state moved from rage to depression. He found it difficult to even go through the motions of his work as pastor of a United Methodist Church.
It was only at the sentencing when he heard Mike Carlucci express remorse for killing Scott that Walt felt God nudging him towards forgiveness. Walt describes this journey as the most difficult thing he has ever had to do.
He wrote to Mike on the first anniversary of Scott’s death. Thus began a correspondence, which led to visits and finally to Walt’s testifying on Mike’s behalf at a parole hearing. Based on this testimony, Mike obtained an early release and went to work for a trucking firm where his boss described him as “the best supervisor I ever had.”
Walt and Mike often speak together at universities, churches and community groups about the healing power of forgiveness, healing for both the forgiven and forgiver.
Walt is a pastor of United Methodist Church of Hartford, Connecticut. He met his wife at a bereavement group and between them they have six children, four of whom are still living, and eight grandchildren.
Walt is an ardent advocate of the anti-death penalty movement and is active in numerous abolition and restorative justice organizations. His story has been told in numerous publications including an extensive profile in Rolling Stone.
Links to Walt’s Journey:
Father Forgives the Man Who Murdered His Son
The Transformative Power of Forgiveness
The Mercy Minute: Unconditional Love
Yesterday, I drove Walt Everett and his wife Nancy to an event at a Catholic church in McKinney, Texas.
Sermon: One Hand Clapping
State Counts Down to Killers Death
Speakers on Capital Punishment audio file