Local News

Spotlight Continues To Shine On Edwards

Posted July 12, 2004

— Sen. John Edwards was back in the nation's capital Sunday night after a rousing weekend homecoming.

Saturday, some 25,000 people greeted Edwards and Democratic presidential running mate John Kerry in Raleigh. Senator Kerry returned to Boston Saturday night.

Before Edwards left for Washington Sunday, he went to his hometown church and also discovered that little is routine for him anymore.

Never before had Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, gotten so much attention for going to church. But, joining the Democratic presidential ticket can change a person's life.

"He's a regular member, and he comes when he's in town, and he brings his children," church member Lois Frazier said.

A wide range of people turned out to see Edwards -- Democrats, Republicans, even a

convicted peeper

.

Edwards' staff said the candidate had no idea he was speaking with Samuel Ferebee on Sunday morning. Ferebee spent four months behind bars for secretly looking at a girl changing her clothes in a store in New Bern.

He is also banned from Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campuses over accusations of stalking female students.

The Secret Service questioned Ferebee, but said he had a right to be in the crowd.

Despite the media and heavy Secret Service presence, Edenton Street United Methodist worked to keep the focus on faith, and not its famous church member.

"Politics stops at the church door," said Ed Turlington, former Edwards campaign chair. "We're bound by our faith here. There are people of all political parties."

Inside, attendance was said to be typical for a summer Sunday. The Edwardses were not formally recognized in the service. They took part in communion just like everyone else.

Although it looked like any other campaign stop, their church played a signficant role in the Edwards' lives. The congregation helped the family heal after the death of their teenage son, Wade.

"Our church embraced that and ministered to them at that time in a way that they became members of our church," said Becky Roberts, the church's education director.

Following church, Sen. Edwards headed to the airport and boarded his new campaign plane bound for Washington -- back to politics and week two of life as a vice-presidential candidate.

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