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United Methodist pastor Walter Everett has preached many sermons on forgiveness.
The Rev. Walter Everett (preaching to congregation): “Jesus showed the disciples that God can bring good out of tragedy…”
But living what he preached was one of the most difficult things he ever did … after someone murdered his son, Scott.
The Rev. Walter Everett/United Methodist Church of Hartford: “I knew that my anger was destroying me, keeping me from doing my work.”
Scott was the oldest of Everett’s three sons. He was shot to death by a drug dealer and addict who lived in his apartment complex.
Mike Carlucci/Killed Preacher’s Son: “I remember having a gun against Scott’s head, and I knew if I pulled the trigger, he was going to die and I was going to go to jail for the rest of my life.”
After he went to prison, Mike Carlucci received a letter from the pastor, who told him about the pain of his son’s death, but also told Carlucci he forgave him. They later visited in prison.
Mike Carlucci: “I like to say that I got rescued, I didn’t get arrested.”
Carlucci was locked up less than three years, after Everett told the parole board he should be released early.
The Rev. Walter Everett: “God prodded me, prodded me, until I was able to forgive. And I’m thankful for that. I feel sorry for people who can’t, because they live with that pain for the rest of their lives.”
Eighteen years after the murder, the two remain steadfast friends. Carlucci is a supervisor at a trucking company. And Everett puts his preaching into practice.
The Rev. Walter Everett: “I can never forget what happened to Scott. It has forever changed my life. But when I look at Mike, I don’t see somebody who hurt Scott. I see somebody whose life has been changed by God, and I celebrate that.”
Walter Everett plans to retire from the ministry in June and move to Pennsylvania. He’s writing a book about his experiences in forgiving the man who killed his son. And he plans to spend more time encouraging other crime victims to forgive. He recently became one of the organizers of Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights, a group that’s working to abolish the death penalty.
To hear more of Rev. Everett’s story, see Father forgives man who murdered his son.
And for an in-depth look at the topic of forgiveness, click here.