This morning I awoke to a Facebook message asking for clergy to gather at 10am to pray for Charleston. I quickly asked myself, “what happened in Charleston?” This may sound naive, but I thought possibly an earthquake or a large fire – Not a Church Shooting! As I read the news encounter, it became clear to me that this was even more than a church shooting, it was outright racism. It was an act of hate on my brothers and sisters of African decent, as they had gathered together in a sister Methodist church, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
As a pastor, two things come to mind:
1- When we are in the Sanctuary gathered for worship, Bible study, you name it, we all think that we are in a safe place – hence the name sanctuary. Yet, these believers, who were gathered in the name of Christ to learn more about God, about the Holy Scriptures, were gunned down. Gunned down, not only because they were Christian, but because they were black. To me, they are Children of God.
2- It is time for this type of nonsense to stop. It seems as if we are going back in time, as if nothing has been accomplished, as if there has been no progression over the past 60 years. I should not have to write a post calling for peace because of disunity between the color of our skin … I should be writing a post about the unity we share as the Body of Christ, and the beautiful Body of Christ at that; made up of all of God’s children.
Today, as the pastor of the Belwood Charge, I am calling for a time of prayer for unity, a time of prayer for the mourning of the nine brothers and sisters gunned down, a time of prayer for how we will respond to the racists acts. Today at noon, I am calling for anyone in the Belwood, West Lincoln, Fallston, and Lawndale areas to gather at the churches (Knob Creek, Kadesh, St. Peter’s, Hebron, Laurel Hill, David’s Chapel, Friendship, Kistlers, First Lawndale, Palm Tree, Oak Grove, Pleasant Hill, etc…) to pray. I am urging our church leaders to stand-up, to stand-firm and prepare these places of worship as places of prayer today. I pray that we will be able to be in solidarity in our area of the world and to show the entire world that we will not stand for acts of hate.
Grace and Peace,