Dear Friends in Christ,
At 9:00 pm on Wednesday evening, a gunman entered Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and killed nine people who were joined together for prayer. They were simply seeking to be open to Jesus. I mourn their loss and the ongoing violence in our world. Persons of faith everywhere feel the pain of this community and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The details of the shooting are unclear. Charleston officials have declared the shooting a hate crime. The victims were black. The suspected killer is white. This event calls us to pray for the healing of our nation. As we look toward July 4, we are called to pray for liberty and justice for all, and for a nation and world in which every child feels safe and every adult is honored as God’s beloved child.
I invite you to take a moment today to pray for peace and for understanding among the races and religious traditions of the world. Let us pray that our steeple be a beacon of hospitality for all God’s children, regardless of age, race, country of origin, sexuality, physical or emotional condition, political viewpoint, or religious tradition.
Peace be with you,