Jill Biden hosts tea for female faith leaders and others, including South Carolina prayer partner

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jill Biden hosted a White House listening session on Monday with about 60 female faith leaders, community leaders and others, including the South Carolina pastor's wife whom she credits with helping restore her faith in God after the Bidens' son Beau died of cancer in 2015.

The first lady said she sought Robin Jackson's help assembling the group “so that I could learn what's on your minds, and what's on your hearts."

Jackson's husband is pastor of Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia, where the women met when Joe Biden visited in 2019 as he campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination.

South Carolina is the state that helped set Joe Biden on the path to becoming the nominee in 2020, a feat he hopes to replicate next year as a candidate for reelection.

Jill Biden discussed her faith journey during a visit to the church in 2021.

But in the Blue Room of the White House on Monday, after the women were treated to a Thanksgiving tea, the first lady publicly thanked Jackson again for helping restore her faith.

“We all go through darkness at some point in our lives. Perhaps some of you are even going through it right now,” Jill Biden said. “And I hope that you have someone to help you find that light that can never be extinguished.”

She added that, "for Joe and me, your faith helped carry us forward through our darkest days and that faith has stayed with us, nourished us and strengthened us, so I want to thank you, for gratitude, too, is an act of faith.”