Funeral Services for the Honorable Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney:
Friday, June 26, 2015
T D Arena at the College of Charleston
301 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC 29401
Charleston Plaza Hotel
4770 Goer Drive
Request: AME Churches Room Block
Guests may call the local toll free number at (888-747-1900) and ask for availability for the AME Churches Room Block. Or visit www.thecharlestonplazahotel.com, click on reservations, select the date of stay and enter AMECHU in the Group Code box.
African Methodist Episcopal Church
COUNCIL OF BISHOPS
June 18, 2015
The Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church joins with our components and worldwide membership in expressing our grief and sympathy on the senseless and tragic attack which took the lives of The Rev. Clementa Pinckney, pastor, and eight other congregants of Mother Emanuel AME Church, Charleston, South Carolina. Mother Emanuel is the oldest black church in the south and one of the most historic churches in the nation. The senseless and evil action which took the lives of those who gathered at Mother Emanuel to study and pray is indicative of a major crisis facing our nation and its people. While we are pleased that Dylann Storm Roof, the assailant and alleged murderer has been arrested, we do not believe this matter has been concluded.
First, we join in grief with Mother Emanuel Church in the loss of her pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, and Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Sharonda Singleton, Myra Thompson, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Susie Jackson, and Ethel Lance, members of that church family. We also grieve with the State of South Carolina, which also in Rev. Pinckney lost an outstanding state senator and leader. Second, we pray and ask for the God of love, mercy and grace to comfort, restore and give peace to family members and of all of us who have been shaken and saddened by this tragedy. May our faith be strengthened and our hope restored.
Finally, we call upon the nation’s political leadership, faith institutions and other organizations in this country to face the reality that race remains a problem in this nation. “The arrest of Dylann Storm Roof, the assailant and alleged murderer does not end this matter. In fact this matter makes even clearer that race is a major problem in our nation that must be dealt with,” said Bishop Julius McAllister, President of the Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. “The nation can no longer live in denial and act as if it does not exist. Every week there is some incident which involves the negative consequences of race,” he added. “The AME Church will join with other faith communities to stress the need for the United States to face, discuss and meet head on the problem of race in this country,” said Bishop John R. Bryant, Senior Bishop of the AME Church.
“African Methodist in South Carolina are strong and faithful, we will not shy away or lessen our commitment to equality and social justice,” said Bishop Richard Franklin Norris, Presiding Bishop of South Carolina. “This will make us stronger and more determined to advance God’s kingdom on earth. This tragedy will not weaken, but strengthen us. African Methodism will become stronger because of this tragedy,” he said.
The problem of race has not decreased but increased over the last several years. Listen to what has been said, “We want our country back.” The question is from whom? Mr. Roof stated that he had to kill black because of what we are doing to his country. The recent Charleston, SC tragedy, the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, Eric Garner in Staten Island, Akil Gurly in NY, Tamir Rice in Cleveland, OH and Freddie Gray in Baltimore, our nation’s president has been called “a monkey,” disrespected and had his citizenship questioned, are all indicative of a systemic race problem.
In September the African Methodist Episcopal Church will be joining with our sister communions and other partners to constrain this nation to address the issue of race in this nation. Details will be announced next month.
The Council of Bishops calls on all of our churches, and other communions and congregations to join together this week, and in particular this weekend wherever we worship to pray for those who lost their lives, their families, Mother Emanuel Church, and our nation.
Contribution to assist with the burial and expenses related to those who lost their lives can be sent to:
“Mother Emanuel Hope Fund”
Seventh Episcopal District
110 Pisgah Church Road
Columbia, SC 29203
For further information contact Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, Bishop of Urban and Ecumenical Affairs and Chair of the Social Action Commission of the AME Church at Reginald.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bishops of the AME Church
Julius McAllister, President, Council of Bishops
John R. Bryant, Senior Bishop
John F. White, Secretary, Council of Bishops
Clement W. Fugh, Assistant Secretary, Council of Bishops
William P. DeVeaux Sr.
T. Larry Kirkland
Adam J. Richardson Jr.
Richard F. Norris
Vashti M. McKenzie
Gregory G. M. Ingram
Preston W. Williams II
Wilfred J. Messiah
Paul J. M. Kawimbe
James L. Davis
David R. Daniels Jr.
Samuel L. Green Sr.
Jeffrey N. Leath
Reginald T. Jackson
E. Earl McCloud Jr.
John H. Adams
Frederick H. Talbot
Frederick C. James
Frank C. Cummings
Philip R. Cousin Sr.
Henry A. Belin Jr.
Robert V. Webster
Zedekiah L. Grady
C. Garnett Henning Sr.
Carolyn Tyler Guidry
A Litany by Bishop Adam J. Richardson
“The doors of the Church are open” is an announcement made at nearly every service. It was regularly spoken at Emanuel Church of Charleston, known to us as the “Mother” of African Methodism in the Deep South. As members of the AME Family, we feel a connection with the Connection, even on Father’s Day, and today our proud connection is more keenly felt.
O God, “The doors of the Church are still open.”
Hate and Evil – armed and dangerous – came to an intergenerational Bible Study and Prayer Meeting Wednesday night at Mother Emanuel, accompanied by unfathomable horror, leaving a trail of blood and hurt across the African Methodist Connection, Charleston and the world.
O God, “the doors of the church are still open,” and still we believe that “We sorrow not as those who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
The “Emanuel Nine” had names – and families, and lives, and careers, and places to go and things to do. They were colleagues, friends and kin: the Honorable Rev. Clementa Pinckney (41), the Rev. Daniel “Super” Simmons (74), the Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45), Brother Tywanza Sanders (26), Sister DePayne Middleton Doctor (49), Sister Cynthia Hurd (54), Sister Myra Thompson (59), Sister Ethel Lance (70), and Sister Susie Jackson (87). Then pure evil showed up at Bible Study and turned their lives to past tense, and our lives to turmoil, and made an infamous name for himself.
O God, “The doors of the church are still open,” and we affirm Your Word that “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)
Our faith will not be stolen, even by violence as heinous as the assassination of nine innocent people, and the terror that left bodies wounded and souls injured among those who survived the attack.
O God, “The doors of the church are still open,” and “our faith looks up to Thee” and “will not shrink though pressed by every foe.”
The evil one wanted a race war, instead there came an outpouring of love, sympathy and tears from white people; fervent prayers offered for him by Black people. With shock and anger still wafting in the air, family members amazingly spoke words of forgiveness, and the community sang together and spoke of hope. We have learned at least this much in our walk with God in Christ: “Unmerited suffering is still redemptive.”
O God, “The doors of the church are still open,” and we affirm Word of Christ, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. (John 14:27b)
While we are called to a heightened sense of vigilance to protect the lives of those who walk through “open doors” to find an open Altar, and to worship and study in peace, we will encourage ourselves in the Word of God, in fellowship, sharing our mutual woes and joys.
Holy God, amid so much sorrow and so many questions, we affirm Your Word, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.
Interdenominational Theological Center – PRESS RELEASE
ITC Issues Statement Regarding Shooting at AME Church
Atlanta, GA., June 18, 2015 – The Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) President Edward L. Wheeler released the following statement regarding the recent shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, SC:
“The entire ITC Community is saddened by the horrific act of violence which took place last night at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. As you may know, one of the five seminaries which make up ITC is the Turner Theological Seminary of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. This association with the AME Church crystallizes our grief even more over the loss of the six women and three men who were brutally murdered inside the walls of that historic church. The ITC Community extends its heartfelt condolences and prayers to the families of the victims.
While the reasons for this senseless killing may never be fully understood, this terrible act leaves little doubt that this nation’s journey toward complete respect for human life (regardless of class or status) and racial harmony is not yet realized. When combined with other recent acts of violence around the country, last night’s tragedy is another cry out for America to continue adjusting its moral compass in the direction that affirms the dignity of every human being and helps us move toward true liberty and justice for all.”
ABOUT THE ITC
The Interdenominational Theological Center is the world’s premier resource for Black church scholarship and faith-based solutions to the spiritual and socio-economic challenges confronting the African American community. The institution advocates a more aggressive role for churches in the renewal of American society, with special emphasis on the development of “public theologians: men and women of faith with special training for and commitment to nurturing the spiritual, moral, and economic empowerment of distressed communities throughout the nation.”
Connectional Lay Organization
URGENT – EMANUEL AME CHURCH – CATALYST FOR RENEWED ACTION
As our sisters and brothers of Emanuel A. M.E. Church spoke with God, our brothers and sisters went home to eternal rest. I’m told that there are some survivors and one person reported that the killer kept him/her alive to tell what happened. Rev Pinckney’s strong will and urgency in life gave us the benefit of compassionate and determined leadership… He accomplished much in a short window.
We are stunned yet claim the spirit of Denmark Vesey who gathered in that very same church – We are determined to keep that legacy of standing against all that besmirches justice and ALL actions which attempt to make any of God’s children second class citizens. Please take note, that as history records that, ” white clergy and people of faith stood with Denmark Vesey in the 1800s”, people of all cultures, in standing with the AME Church today are joined with us in claiming that legacy.
All of us must re-commit to do all that we can to end the misuse of guns and confront the greed that allows the production of weapons of mass destruction. Gun violence in this nation is at epidemic proportions. Whenever there is an epidemic all resources are marshaled to stamp out the disease. This disease must be stamped out now.
When we gather in Charleston this summer, there will be an action agenda!
The Connectional Lay Organization joins with the Council of Bishops along with the entire AME Church family in soliciting your continued prayers. Let us keep the faith. Thank you for being here!
Willie C Glover, President
Connectional Lay Organization
United Methodist Church
Council of Bishops
June 18, 2015
Dear Bishop Bryant and colleague African Methodist Episcopal Bishops,
Grace and Peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, the Savior of our broken world.
Your sisters and brothers in the Council of Bishops and congregations of The United Methodist Church are in prayer with and for you in the wake of the racist murders and hateful violence at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. May the Holy Spirit endow you with a full measure of love, wisdom and courage as you lead the Church and witness to the world in this consequential time.
We join in mourning the tragic loss of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, and the other victims who were meeting with prayers offered to the One who is our hope. We are all now a part of a global prayer meeting for these families and all families and communities deeply wounded by racism and violence. We unite voices in proclaiming, “If God is for us, who can be against us?…Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…No! In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!” (Romans 8)
As other recent events of violence and racism have compelled us to do, again we call on United Methodists and all people of good will to support the victims of this and all acts of violence, to work to end racism and hatred, to seek peace with justice, and to live the prayer that our Lord gave us, that God’s “kingdom come, (and) will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
We go forward in the Wesley’s assurance that “Best of all God is with us.”
In Christ’s Love,
Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., President
The Council of Bishops
United Methodist Church
Dear Fellow Methodists:
Grace and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ be with you in this time of pain and mourning.
The Norway Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in session in Halden join you in prayer grieving the murders of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney and eight parishioners during a prayer meeting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015.
There are no words to adequately describe the brutality and evil of this crime, or to express the immense pain it is causing to the victims’ families, the congregation and the community. We voice the hope and faith of David “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.”
We call upon our Methodist people to support and care for victims of hate and racism, and to take active and prayerful part in ending all expressions racism and hatred with words and acts of justice and peace.
Much prayer is needed for the Emanuel AME Church and the Charleston community – be assured that the Methodist people in Norway as well as in the other Nordic and Baltic countries join you in those prayers.
Bishop Christian Alsted
Bishop in the United Methodist Church
The Nordic & Baltic Area
The United Church of Canada
June 18, 2015
Bishop John R. Bryant, Senior Bishop,
Bishop Julius McAllister, President of the Bishops’ Council
Bishop Richard F. Norris, Presiding Prelate of the Seventh Episcopal District
Members of the AME Church, Charleston Community, and Families
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
I am writing with profound sadness at the senseless loss of nine lives in your church family last night. We are asking all our members in The United Church of Canada to pray for the members and families of Emanuel African Episcopal Methodist Church and the community of Charleston, all of whom have been touched by this incomprehensible act.
With shared Methodist roots, we are part of the same family and faith that has sustained us through grief and tears. While no one can understand the mind of someone so filled with hate that he would steal the lives of people gathered in prayer, I hope you and all the members of the Emanuel community, will take strength from Paul’s letter to the Romans: 8:38–39:
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation , will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Please know that we stand with you in condemning the racially-motivated hatred leading to such violence. It is a painful reminder that racism is a rampant evil in society, and that all of us are called to work toward transformed relationships based in a commitment to justice, peace, and love.
We share with you a prayer that is being posted on The United Church of Canada website in response to this tragedy. We hold you in our hearts and offer you our solidarity as you continue the work of healing and seeking justice.
The shooting at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church painfully reminds us that Racism is a rampant evil in our society. We can no longer deny the influence of racism; if we do, we participate in this life-stealing force.
We need your help, God, to rebuke and overpower racism:
Help us to grieve with the community of Emanuel AME Church;
Help us to mourn with the families of those who have died;
Help us to show compassion and mercy to the family and friends of the shooter;
Help us to seek ways of justice, equity and peace in our actions and responses;
Help us to lament a sanctuary desecrated by violence and hatred;
Help us to recommit ourselves as followers dedicated to creating paths of justice, equity and peace through wilds of hatred and violence.
Emmanuel, be with us in our suffering. Amen.
The Rt. Rev. Gary Paterson
The United Church of Canada
Ambler, Pennsylvania 19002
June 18, 2015
Dear Dr. Cooper:
Please accept my sincere personal condolences and deepest sympathy to you and all of the members of your church for the terrible events in Charleston.
If I can provide any technical assistance, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Harry S. Rosenthal
Letter from The Methodist Church – World Church Relationships
Click link to view letter: Charlestown Presidents Letter MCB
Letter from The United Church of Christ
Click link to view letter: UCC – CharlestonTragedy6.17.2015.MiddletonFamily
World Methodist Council
Response to Deadly Shootings at Church in Charleston, SC
Click link to view response: worldmethodistcouncil.org/response-to-deadly-shootings-at-church-in-charleston-sc
National Council of Churches
NCC Grieves With Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina
Click link to view article: nationalcouncilofchurches.us/news/2015-6_Charleston.php
Louisville Seminary Responds to Charleston, SC, Church Shooting
With heavy hearts we at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary join our voices to the chorus of those from across the United States and around the world, lamenting the slaughter of innocents in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday, June 17, at the hands of a white supremacist.
The nine victims were gathered for an evening of Bible study and prayer at Emmanuel A.M.E. Church. Emmanuel is a congregation with a rich history of activism for black people’s equality, and its murdered pastor, the Honorable Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, has been called the “moral compass of the South Carolina state senate.”
In addition to Reverend Pinckney, the victims of this atrocity were Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, the Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, the Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons Sr., the Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson. We mourn their lives cut short, and pray that God may console all who knew and loved them. We pray for the people of South Carolina, that they may look with open eyes at their state’s chronic failure to reckon with an apartheid past that is not yet past. But we also pray for ourselves here in Louisville, lest our naming of failures by others distract us from seeing racism and its painful consequences close at hand-racism in which we ourselves may wittingly or unwittingly conspire.
Our mission at Louisville Seminary is to educate men and women to participate in the redemptive ministry of Jesus Christ in the world. The massacre in South Carolina reminds us yet again that it is a world warped, broken, and marked by profound enmity, inequity, and injustice. As we teach and learn together, may God give us eyes to see the suffering caused by the sin of racism, whether far or near. May God give us courage to work for justice and speak Good News in ways that repair what has fallen and make fruitful what has been laid waste. The prophet Ezekiel wrote, “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26 NRSV).
May we be bold to proclaim this word and to live its truth day by day.
Michael Jinkins, President
Susan R. Garrett, Dean
Johanna W. H. van Wijk-Bos
Felicia Howell LaBoy
Amy Plantinga Pauw
J. Bradley Wigger
Lisa Lee Williams
The Fraternal Relations Team and The Coordinating Team of the Philadelphia Presbytery Presbyterian Church in America
To our sister home of faith, The African Methodist Episcopal Church, to Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, and especially, to the family and friends of The Nine who were so heartlessly slain on June 17th, we extend our love and prayers on behalf of the Philadelphia Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America.
We acknowledge and honor you for your long history of faithful Gospel witness, from the harsh days when Denmark Vesey and others who helped found Mother Emanuel were then hanged for alleged crimes against the slave powers, through the revival of your congregation in the fires of the Civil War, and down through your exemplary leadership in the quest for equal civil rights. Through our own blessed acquaintance with your very first A.M.E. congregation here in Philadelphia at Mother Bethel, we have known you to be a church faithful to the God of Scripture and courageous in the pursuit of freedom to worship him who has called you into the light of that beloved community of the children of God for which Martin Luther King, Jr. also gave his life.
We have been profoundly shocked and grieved that an evil enemy would invade the sanctuary of your Bible study hour to perpetrate a hateful and vengeful act aimed at you because of your courageous championing of the dignity of all African Americans. Yet in this dark hour, we have witnessed, along with the watching world, a brilliant light of Gospel witness from the hearts and lips of survivors and family at Mother Emanuel who have shown us all a picture of grace and forgiveness. It was none other than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who said, …if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:15)
Therefore, along with a grieving nation and united body of faithful believers, we honor those who fell in the midst of a hallowed congregation:
· Rev. Clementa Pinckney, your beloved senior pastor
· Cynthia Hurd
· Susie Jackson
· Ethel Lance
· Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor
· Tywanda Sanders
· Rev. Daniel Simmons, Sr.
· Rev. Sharonda Singleton
· Myra Thompson
Be assured of our ongoing love and respect as you lay these faithful shepherds and stewards of the mysteries of faith to rest and memorialize their service among the congregation and the whole community of Charleston. They will be remembered, as the others in that long list of heroes of the faith in the book of Hebrews, in the words of its author, …the world was not worthy of them… therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.(Hebrews 11:38 & 12:1-3)
We trust that the great Author of our salvation, now our great Intercessor at the throne of God, will give you peace and assurance of his blessing, now and forevermore.
In the love of Christ,
Glenn N. McDowell, Moderator
Statement of Solidarity by the Jewish Community
In an extraordinary display of unity, a broad cross-section of American Jewish organizations joined to declare this coming Shabbat to be a “Shabbat of solidarity with the African-American community.” In light of the horrific act of violence in Charleston, South Carolina, leaders of the Jewish community are asking their members to participate in this Sabbath of solidarity.
Among the suggested actions for rabbis, congregations and organizations are to speak out in synagogues this coming Shabbat on the issue of racism in society and to express rejection of hateful extremism. All rabbis and congregations are encouraged to reach out to AME churches in their communities with expressions and demonstrations of support.
The call to action is consistent with the historic ties of the Jewish and African American community going back to the Civil Rights era.
This call to action has been endorsed by all four of the denominations, including the Rabbinic and congregational arms, as well as national community relations organizations. They include: The Rabbinical Assembly, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Rabbinical Council of America, Orthodox Union, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, in association with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the Rabbinic Cabinet of Jewish Federations of North America, the International Fellowship of Rabbis, AJC, Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Hillel International.
June 23, 2015
14 Jewish Groups Call for Shabbat of Solidarity with the African-American community
Representing all the various movements within the Jewish community, a broad coalition of organizations call for Shabbat reflection on racism in society and support for the African-American community
In an extraordinary display of unity, a broad cross-section of American Jewish organizations have joined to declare this coming Shabbat, beginning the evening of Friday, June 26 and ending the evening of June 27, to be a “Shabbat of solidarity with the African-American community.” In light of the horrific act of violence in Charleston, South Carolina, leaders across the North American Jewish community are asking their members to participate in this Sabbath of solidarity.
Among the suggested actions for rabbis, congregations and organizations, are to speak out in synagogues this coming Shabbat on the issue of racism in society and to express rejection of hateful extremism. All rabbis and congregations are encouraged to reach out to AME churches in their communities with expressions and demonstrations of support.
“The Jewish community has long-standing historic ties with the African American community going back to the Civil Rights era,” explained Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, rabbi of Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac, Maryland, convener of the coalition and president of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America. “This Shabbat of solidarity is just the latest example of us standing together in the face of bigotry and hatred. We stand together, as a united American Jewish community in calling for a Shabbat of important introspection and examination of racism in the United States. We hope to convey our support to the African-American community nationwide and show all that we will not stand for violent acts driven by hatred.”
Weinblatt added, “The fact that so many responded so quickly and enthusiastically from so many different movements shows the unity of the Jewish community in reaffirming our commitment to pursue justice for all and the importance of our alliance with the African American community.”
The organizations who have endorsed this call to action include: Rabbinical Assembly, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Rabbinical Council of America, Orthodox Union, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, in association with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the Rabbinic Cabinet of Jewish Federations of North America, the International Fellowship of Rabbis, AJC, Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Hillel International.
Each of the organizations will be issuing a call to their members and constituents to take positive steps to implement this resolution.