Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ;
We offer our sympathies and our prayers as you mourn the deaths of nine members of your family and as you recover from the violation of the safety of your sanctuary. May the prayers of the faithful around our country be added to yours, so you may gather in peace, in safety, and secure in the knowledge that God’s presence goes before you always. You are not alone.
We acknowledge the deadly pervasiveness of racism, and our own participation in a culture that values some lives over others. This is not how it should be. We repent for our inaction, and for our “not enough” action.
When you offered forgiveness to the one who devastated your lives and violated your sanctuary, we were reminded that forgiveness is a subversive act. Thank you for your witness to the world that evil has not, does not, and cannot win against the redemptive Love of God. We hear your word of forgiveness as a sign of hope that our nation might yet live into our better natures. We take it as a challenge to do better and do more. We acknowledge with sadness that the time to address systemic racism and violence in our society was before it claimed the lives of your beloved family, and so many who perished before them. We pray for strength because there is still hope, there is still opportunity, and there is still work to be done.
In worship we lit candles for Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., Rev. Sharonda Singleton, and Myra Thompson. Calling our their names in lament, we are grateful for the light their lives shined on the world. We know the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. We will remember their names. We will spread their light.
We will endeavor to shine God’s light against the darkness of the world, and we will confront racism both in individual acts and in the darkness of systems of privilege, inequalities of wealth and opportunity, and unconscious bias and prejudice.
We offer our love, our prayers, and our unity in Christ Jesus. The prayers of this congregation are offered up for your congregation.
Rev. Marci Glass
and the congregation of Southminster Presbyterian Church