Vigil Held For Ailing Aretha Franklin At Church Her Father Pastored

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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Supporters of Aretha Franklin are holding a prayer vigil for her at the Detroit church her father once pastored as she battles a grave illness.

A friend of the Franklin family reported that Aretha, known as the “Queen of Soul,” was “gravely ill” and that she was “asking for your prayers at this time.” Supporters gathered at New Bethel Baptist Church before sunrise Wednesday to hold a prayer vigil and help speed her recovery. (RELATED: Aretha Franklin ‘Gravely Ill’ At  Hospital, Surrounded By Family And Friends)

“We’re asking you to touch the Queen of Soul,” New Bethel’s pastor Robert Smith prayed, according to The Detroit News. “We’re lifting our sister up to you.”

Congregants who attended the vigil joined Smith in fervent invocations of God for miraculous healing.

“When medical extremity comes, that’s God’s opportunity, not for a healing, but for a miracle,” attendee Ruby Ann Dowling told The Detroit News. “I came to claim a miracle only God can give. He is the great physician.”

Franklin’s supporters held the vigil a day after Stevie Wonder, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Franklin’s ex-husband, actor Glynn Turman, visited her, according to The Associated Press. News of Franklin’s worsening health follows her cancellation of a series of concerts earlier in 2018 on the orders of her doctor. She announced in 2017 that she was planning to retire and, in her last performance in Detroit, asked the audience to pray for her.

Franklin’s father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, pastored New Bethel for decades until his death in 1984. He was a prominent figure in the communities efforts in the civil rights movement.

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