Jill Biden surprises her ‘prayer partner’ in South Carolina


WEST COLOMBIA, SC (AP) – Jill Biden returned to South Carolina Baptist Church on Sunday where she says she began mending her relationship with God after her son died from brain cancer he six years ago.

The first lady quietly flew to West Columbia for a surprise appearance at the 50th birthday celebration of Pastor Charles B. Jackson Sr. of Brookland Baptist Church. But she ended up giving one of the most detailed explanations to date of how her faith faltered after Beau Biden’s death and how she found her way back to God with the help of her “prayer partner.” – Robin Jackson, the pastor’s wife.

Biden praised Charles Jackson for presiding over a ministry that helps feed the hungry, offers college scholarships, and runs a health and wellness program.

“You have brought countless people to the grace of God,” she told him. “You remind us that we are the body of Christ.

But she opened her remarks by telling the story of how she and Robin Jackson met, saying the relationship had “shaped my life.”

They met in May 2019, shortly after Joe Biden visited church with his wife after announcing his candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Both women said Jackson approached Jill Biden and asked her to pray with her.

“And I don’t know if she sensed how moved I had been by the service,” the first lady said on Sunday. “I don’t know if she could still see the sorrow I still feel behind my smile.”

“But I know when she spoke, it was like God was telling me, ‘Okay, Jill, you’ve had enough time. It’s time to go home.

The Bidens’ son Beau, 46, married with two young children, died of brain cancer in 2015. The first lady said she was praying and praying for him to live, and was devastated when her prayers went unanswered and he passed away.

“I felt betrayed, broken,” she said on Sunday, her voice broken. She said her own pastor occasionally sent her an email to register and invite her to return to service.

“But I just couldn’t go. I couldn’t even pray. I wondered if I would feel joy again, ”she said.

Four years later, she had this chance meeting with Robin Jackson.

“Every Wednesday, Robin texted Dr Jill to let him know that she had called their names in prayer,” the city’s newsletter said in January 2021. “Dr. Jill would always return a text expressing her appreciation Jill Biden uses the professional title “Dr.” because of her doctorate.

Jill Biden told talk show host Kelly Clarkson in February 2021 that regular contact with Robin Jackson made a difference.

“It really helped me regain my faith,” the first lady told Clarkson.

She occasionally accompanies the president, a devout Catholic, to mass and was with him on Saturday when he worshiped at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington.

His role in the celebration of the pastor’s 50th birthday was meant as a surprise to Robin Jackson. The Jackson’s son, Reverend Charles B. Jackson Jr., said his mother didn’t know the first lady was coming.

“It took everything in us to hide it from him,” he told the audience after the first lady concluded his remarks, calling her appearance “an expression of love and friendship.”

The White House did not publicly announce Sunday’s trip and the first lady flew, apparently by coincidence, on an unmarked DC Air National Guard plane. But she also travels in a motorcade with police escorts, flashing lights and sirens, and U.S. Secret Service agents show up at her destinations in advance to make sure properties are secure.

She arrived at the church about half an hour before the start of the event and, wearing a black face mask, shared a front row bench with the Jacksons and Crystal Person, who is originally from the area and married to Fran Person. , longtime personal assistant to Joe Biden.

Robin Jackson was among the religious leaders who recited prayers for Joe Biden during a virtual prayer service the morning after his inauguration in January.

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