TOPEKA (KSNT) – Grief, sadness, and prayer; that was the message Wednesday at a church in downtown Topeka where people came together to remember 5-year-old Zoey Felix.
The First Presbyterian Church of Topeka hosted a prayer vigil for Felix. Members of the community, city leaders and members and the YWCA were all in attendance. While many shed tears, organizers say the event showed people care and are there for one another.
Along with the First Presbyterian Church, the community prayer vigil included the First United Methodist Church, Grace Cathedral and St. John AME. The vigil included moments of silence, prayer, candle lighting and song.
With the community coming together to remember Felix, First Presbyterian Church pastor Sandra Brown said the night was very meaningful.
“We’re just really appreciative of the spirit that was in the room,” Brown said. “It was a spirit of humility, and reverence and coming together to honor a little girl whose life was taken way too soon and to come together in prayer.”
While the vigil was about Felix, members of the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment Program were also in attendance to help people process their emotions.
“We provide a number of different supports for folks that could be both residential and community-based services, emotional support, safety planning, crises intervention. All of those services are available free of charge and completely confidential,” YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment Program Director Becca Spielman said.
Reverend Jody Carrol with Grace Cathedral said the fact that community members come together to share their grief is a reminder that people not much different than one another.
“When you can be in the same space with others who are also grieving, then we just remember that we are all humans,” Carroll said. “We’re all here on this earth to do the work we’re called to do, but when something like this happens, to share that grief with others just reminds us that there’s not that much difference that separates us.”
Wednesday’s vigil also included support for survivors of sexual trauma who may be reliving their own personal experiences after this tragedy. Spielman said if someone who has experienced sexual trauma needs someone to talk to, the YWCA is always there.
“I would strongly encourage anyone who is navigating some feelings around this tragedy, particularly those who’ve been exposed to sexual violence to call our hotline,” Spielman said. “And that number is 1-888-822-2983.”
The hotline is completely anonymous and available 24/7.