A New Vision, A New Voice ~ The North Texas Conference
Emanuel AME Church in Charleston
Upon hearing the news early this morning of the murders of nine African American persons in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, I was unable to find the words to express the horror, anger, confusion, and questions that were arising out of my soul. One would think that people studying the Bible would be safe in a church. We have learned that they are not. A young White man is the alleged murderer of the nine African Americans. Unfortunately, many of our African American sisters and brothers are concerned for their safety and the safety of their children. Last night’s act affirms why many of them have these feelings.
As I continued praying, I was drawn to some words of a folk ballad, “When will we ever learn?” And I wonder when will we learn that racism is taught? When will we learn that racism leads to hatred, and hatred can lead to violence?
“When will we ever learn?” You and I must ask the question of ourselves and of our congregations. You and I can no longer be silent. Why? The answer is that you and I can – indeed, we must – be living witnesses to God’s unconditional love for all people. We witness by our language and our actions that either harm or help. We teach by naming racism as a sin that is either taught at home or in society at-large. And we covenant to pray and act that our society and common life may more closely resemble God’s dream for all humankind.
As you have offered your individual prayers, I now ask that we join together in all of the churches of the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church by praying a prayer for those who have been murdered, their families, and the congregation of Emanuel AME Church.
I offer this collective prayer:
The senseless act in Charleston breaks our hearts, and we acknowledge that your heart was the first to break. Pour your love and peace into the brokenness of all our lives. Wrap your arms of everlasting love around those who are deeply hurting. Teach us how to be prophets of hope and messengers of peace, and may we express boldly the truth that all lives matter to you. O, God, may we learn that neither racism nor hatred have a place in our hearts.
In the name of Christ, I pray.
In your services this weekend, I hope that each of you will remember, in prayers and in other ways of worship, our brothers and sisters of Emanuel AME Church.
May God bless you in your work and your lives.
Bishop Michael McKee
North Texas Episcopal Leader