Beloved in Jesus, the Prince of Peace;
Our hearts are breaking today as we take in the news of another mass shooting. Today’s crime, apparently motivated by racial hatred, has taken the lives of nine innocent victims while they were gathered in prayer and Bible study.
Church bells are being rung across the nation calling us to prayer for the victims and for all who’s lives have been forever shattered by this tragedy. I ask that all of our congregations who can, do so tomorrow on Friday the 19th. Many are ringing their bells for 10 minutes to mark all who have died.
Bishop Charles vonRosenberg, the Episcopal bishop in South Carolina, has asked those who can, to pray the prayer of St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.Amen
I have joined with other religious leaders in the state of Rhode Island in issuing the following statement:
We reach out in loving concern to the people of Charleston, South Carolina, and especially the members and friends of the individuals who were slain while attending a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last night. We not only honor the life of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney who lost his life shepherding his flock, but we also honor those who were gathered in prayer and reflection. Houses of worship must be safe havens for all who are in distress and seeking God. When any sacred space is violated, all faith communities are diminished.
Although when such a senseless act of violence occurs, we are filled with many emotions, but we cannot respond to a hate crime with more hate. One Charleston resident is reported to have said, “We must love our way through this.” We concur.
Let our response go beyond our expression of empathy and grief. Let us recommit ourselves to the hard work of racial reconciliation and building communities of safety and love. As our Presbyterian colleagues have stated, “Arresting the shooter is the job of law enforcement. Arresting hate is the work we are all called to do.”
XIII Rhode Island
More here on the Diocese of Rhode Island website.
Thank you for this
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