To the Faithful across the Carolinas:
Greetings to you in the matchless Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
As the eyes of the nation turn toward Charleston we commend her to your prayers. Our hearts are crushed by this violent act. Our minds reel as we consider the pain of our brothers and sisters who have lost loved ones—mothers and fathers, children and grandchildren, family and friends—as well as for those who have lost faith and hope from such a senseless act of hatred and insanity. Among those killed was one from our own Anglican family, Myra Thompson, the wife of The Rev’d Anthony Thompson, a priest in the Reformed Episcopal Church.
It is right that you feel sickened and angry. It is right that you struggle to know what to do. We all do. Scripture tells us that in the diminishment or suffering of one the whole church suffers. We are enjoined to weep with those who weep and to mourn with those who mourn. Today, we mourn and we weep with our brothers and sisters at Emanuel Church and all of Charleston.
Together we shall seek God’s face on how he will have us respond as dioceses, as congregations, and as individual members of the Body of Christ—ambassadors of reconciliation—in this broken and fallen world for which His Son our Savior, Jesus Christ, has died that He might redeem.
Please join us in prayer as we remember:
- The families of those killed
- The members of Emanuel AME
- The members of our law enforcement and first responders community
- The members of the Charleston community
And pray that:
- That there would be no further acts of violence
- There would be peace in our city
- That unity may overcome estrangement
- That joy might conquer despair
Lastly, we commend the following prayer to our congregations across the Carolinas:
“O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples and races of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and those who are near: Grant to those who have lost love ones your hope, comfort and peace; grant to those members of Emanuel AME Church a sense of your presence; look with compassion on the whole human family here in Charleston and across our nation; show us how to respond to one another’s hurt and suffering; shed abroad your Spirit on those who have lost faith, hope and trust in You and one another; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that in your good time all peoples and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Your faithful servants,
The Rt. Rev’d Al Gadsden, Bishop of the Diocese of the Southeast (REC)
The Rt. Rev’d Mark Lawrence, Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina
The Rt. Rev’d Steve Wood, Bishop of the Diocese of the Carolinas
The Rt. Rev’d David Bryan, Bishop of the Diocese of the Southeast (PEARUSA)