From Bishops Al Gadsden (Diocese of the Southeast, Reformed Episcopal Church), Mark Lawrence (Diocese of South Carolina), Steve Wood (Diocese of the Carolinas, Anglican Church in North America), and David Bryan (Diocese of the Southeast PEARUSA):
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. 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 Emmanuel Church and all of Charleston.
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, notes how the massacre has touched the life of ELCA:
Mother Emanuel AME’s pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was a graduate of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, as was the Rev. Daniel Simmons, associate pastor at Mother Emanuel. The suspected shooter is a member of an ELCA congregation. All of a sudden and for all of us, this is an intensely personal tragedy. One of our own is alleged to have shot and killed two who adopted us as their own.
We might say that this was an isolated act by a deeply disturbed man. But we know that is not the whole truth. It is not an isolated event. And even if the shooter was unstable, the framework upon which he built his vision of race is not. Racism is a fact in American culture. Denial and avoidance of this fact are deadly. The Rev. Mr. Pinckney leaves a wife and children. The other eight victims leave grieving families. The family of the suspected killer and two congregations are broken. When will this end?
Read the rest [PDF].
Image: DC Vigil For Charleston Murders 5 by Stephen Melkisethian, via Flickr