Grammy-winning Gospel artist CeCe Winans comforted mourners with a song and a brief message at Saturday's memorial service for the University of Virginia football players who were shot and killed.
The service celebrated the lives of football players Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D'Sean Perry, who died during a shooting six days earlier.
Winans, a 15-time Grammy winner, sang Goodness of God, a Bethel Music song that Winans included on her 2021 album Believe For It.
"I just want to ... give my condolences to all the families," Winans said before singing. "We know we serve a God who's able to take us through, and He's gonna take you through one day at a time. I pray that all of us would understand the beauty of life and that we would make the decision to accept Jesus as our Savior. So that whenever the time comes for us to leave here, young or old, that we're ready. Remember that God loves you, He's with you, and that He is good."
WINA's Jay James, the memorial's host, said Winans embraced the Virginia community.
"The University of Virginia has received tremendous support from not only the Charlottesville community but the entire nation. After this tragedy, one special individual took notice and wanted to be here for the services today," James said of Winans.
Virginia coach Tony Elliott referenced his faith when he addressed the service.
"To everyone here, I say, we will turn today's tragedy into tomorrow's triumph," he said, according to ESPN. "We have a mission going forward, and that mission requires a tremendous amount of responsibility. Amidst the pain and suffering, there is hope. Weeping is going to last for the night, but great joy is coming in the morning. Because of 1, 15, 41, we have the responsibility to rebuild this community and program on the legacy of their stars and do so in such a way as to bring light unto the world.
"Lavel, Devin, D'Sean, I'm so looking forward to the strength, motivation, courage and love that you all will provide as we triumph in the days ahead," Elliott said. My young kings, may you celebrate in paradise, and we will celebrate on this side each and every day."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Pool
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.