On Thursday evening last week (September 20) a 16-year-old young man gave his life to protect his 14-year-old sister. The family consists of members of the Beacon Light Seventh-day Adventist Church in Phoenix, according to The Arizona Republic daily newspaper.
Andrew Murphy saw someone aiming a gun at his sister and ran to protect her. He was shot in the chest and died later that night in the hospital. Police have taken an 18-year-old man into custody and charged him with murder and armed robbery, reports the newspaper.
Murphy “loved God and loved his church,” the newspaper said. He was a volunteer in the church’s community service program that fed the homeless and he served as a deacon on Sabbath. His sister told the newspaper that as he lay dying he whispered a prayer. Perhaps he was remembering the prayer of his Lord whispered when he was near death, “Father, Forgive them.”
Andrew’s father gathered the family around him as he was given word of his son’s passing and much to the surprise of the newspaper reporter, said to them, “We must not only forgive the young man who took Andrew’s life, we must love him too.” In an editorial, the newspaper described the family as “people who have the courage to live their faith.”
Beacon Light Church is a historically African American congregation with nearly 700 members. The pastor is Dr. Calvin B. Rock, who returned to local ministry when he declined re-appointment as a general vice president of the General Conference. He also served for many years as president of Oakwood University.
The church building is located at 2602 North 51st Avenue in Phoenix. The Arizona Republic announced that a fund has been established in the name of Andrew Murphy and the church can be reached by telephone at (602) 285-9391.
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