Dear beloved in Christ,
Many of us awoke this morning to the news that nine lives were taken in a shooting at Emanuel AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church in Charleston, S.C. last night. News sources are reporting that the shooter was a white male in his early 20s who attended the prayer service at Emanuel, sitting next to worshipers for a hour, before opening fire and killing the pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pickney, and eight others. Pickney was also a state senator and Emanuel church has a long history of working for equality and justice. The crime is being investigated as a racism-fueled hate crime.
We will join other churches around the nation and gather at Noon today for prayer. We will begin with the tolling of our church bells for ten minutes - nine minutes for each of the lives that were taken and one minute for us to kneel before God in confession. We will share in prayer and song. We will close by walking or driving to Bethel AME (401 Yuma) where will leave flowers and notes of love and care for our friends there. Steve's Floral is donating flowers for us to carry and Pastor Rachel and I have been on the phone making arrangements. She thanks us for our concern during this incredibly bewildering and sorrow-filled time.
This event is open to the entire community. Please share with your friends and colleagues. I look forward to seeing you at Noon. If you are unable to make it, please consider lighting a candle or keeping silence wherever you are.