Gov. Mark Dayton was a surprise guest at St. Peter's African Methodist Episcopal Church in Minneapolis Sunday, where congregants were celebrating services for the first time since a massacre left nine dead inside a South Carolina A.M.E. church, apparently at the hands of a white supremacist.
Read the Star Tribune story about the service here.
In an interview Monday morning, Dayton said he was encouraged by the service as a call to action: "This is a step backward, but we have to rally ourselves and become better as individuals, as a state and as a nation," he said of the incident in Charleston, S.C. "It's not enough to be there. We have to pull ourselves up and walk forward."
Dayton said he grew up going to Presbyterian church where a couple times per service the congregants would stand and sing a hymn from the 18th century. By contrast, he said, he was enlivened by the spirit of the gospel music and energetic service at St. Peter's.
The pastor Rev. Nazim Fakir said all would be for naught if the visitors -- including a number of state legislators and other elected officials in addition to Dayton -- did not return. Dayton said he will do so for an event in September.