PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WRBL) – City Leaders gathered the community in Phenix City following the death of Smiths Station Mayor and Pastor ‘Bubba’ Copeland, after he took his own life. Copeland was the center of an online controversy. Following Copelands death, City Leaders say now is the time to come together.

 “What I am saying, and I am not ashamed to say it, is that you can’t have a good government or good city or region without God.”

Eddie Lowe – Phenix City Mayor

As the sunset over the Chattahoochee River a morning community gathered at the Phenix City Amphitheatre. The Smiths Station Community lost a leader and public servant to suicide the first week of November. As they grapple with this loss of Former Mayor and Pastor ‘Bubba’ Copeland, city leaders have one message to share.

“When people are hurting, one of the best things and only thing to do is pray, and show compassion and love.”

Eddie Lowe – Phenix City Mayor

Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson says as a City Leader people look to you for answers but many times Henderson himself has more questions than answers.

“I don’t understand how people treat each other with malice in their heart. I don’t understand how you can have a neighbor and be so unneighborly. I don’t understand how we somehow think we’ve been put here to judge others and somehow we take great offense when they judge us.”

Skip Henderson, Columbus Mayor

Many in the crowd and on the stage wept as prayers for the city of Smiths Station, First Baptist Church, and for Unity, Compassion, Love, Grace and Empathy echoed along the Chattahoochee.

“On both sides of the river, there are people who are dealing with things that they don’t understand, don’t judge them, don’t ridicule them. Reach out to them and give them a hug. I don’t know why we have gotten so far away from empathy. Its gone missing.”

Skip Henderson, Columbus Mayor

Mayors and pastors from both sides of the river stood holding hands as a united front, giving their worries and hurt of today to a higher power.

Two mayors from two different states brought the region together with one mission, to spread more love and compassion.