Dear United Methodist friends,
Grace and peace to you during this time of senseless tragedy in our neighboring state of South Carolina. Let us pray continually for the love of God to flow in our world overcoming every evil and healing every loss and hurt in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.
Lord God of liberation,
you saw your people as slaves in Egypt
and delivered them from captivity.
You see works of violence and weep.
Relieve the suffering of the people of Charleston, grant them your peace that surpasses understanding and a renewed faith in your protection and care. Protect all people from the violence of others, keep all people safe from the weapons of hate,
and restore us all to tranquility and peace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(adapted from the Book of Worship)
I offer the suggestions below as you pray and plan your response to the tragedy in Charleston.
1) Reach out to your AME (African Methodist Episcopal) brothers and sisters as well as other African-American churches in your communities, offering your presence in gatherings, your prayers in solidarity, and your friendship in Christ.
2) Pray in every United Methodist Church for comfort, strength, healing and peace for the African-American community and all the people of Charleston.
3) Attend the screening of RACIAL TABOO, a film produced by Brian Grimm, tonight, Thursday, June 18, 6:30 pm, at Edenton Street United Methodist Church. The timing of this event, long scheduled, is providential for us as we continue to pray and work for racial reconciliation, justice and the cessation of violence. We will pray together for Charleston and all our communities and then engage in thoughtful reflection on the continuing impact of racial division in our common life. I look forward to this event and hope to see you there.
4) Attend the prayer service tomorrow, Friday, June 19, 11:00 am, at Wilson Temple United Methodist Church in Raleigh. I will be present in leadership of this service along with Rev. Chris Brady, pastor. We are extending an invitation to our AME neighbors in Raleigh.
Thank you for leading the response in your community to this tragedy in these and other ways as the Holy Spirit leads.
With gratitude for our life in Christ,
Hope Morgan Ward
*Photo credit: Lisa Doctor joins a prayer circle down the street from the Emanuel AME Church early Thursday, June 18, 2015 following a shooting Wednesday night in Charleston, S.C. | David Goldman / AP