CHICAGO, IL (June 19, 2015) — Gary Walter, president of the Evangelical Covenant Church, responds to the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, with an open letter to AME leadership.
An Open Letter to the African Methodist Episcopal Church
Senior Bishop Rev. Dr. John R. Bryant
General Secretary Rev. Dr. Jeffery Cooper
500 8th Ave South
Nashville, TN 37203
June 19, 2015
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
With heavy hearts for your loss and a heavy burden for the brokenness of our land we stand with you in the tragedy befalling your congregation, “Mother Emanuel” AME Church of Charleston, South Carolina.
We give thanks for the fruitful lives and faithful witness of Rev. Clementa Pickney, Tywanza Sanders, Cynthia Hurd, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., and Myra Thompson.
As people of faith, we sit in the pain with the hope that God will take this brokenness and weave redemptive purposes through it. We stand with you to that end.
That the perpetrator espoused racial hatred reminds us that the “dividing walls of hostility” that Christ came to destroy stubbornly need breaking down still. We stand with you in in the journey toward greater racial righteousness.
They died studying about and praying to God whom they loved, in a place dedicated to God’s glory, through the ministry of a congregation committed to serving all of God’s children. We stand with you in wanting to raise up even more disciples who will study about and pray to God whom they love, in places dedicated to God’s glory, through the ministries of congregations committed to serving all of God’s children.
This tragedy reminds us of just how much we need people of hope, not hate. For more than 200 years the AME has been a beacon of hope, founded in godly aspiration in response to hate. May the AME continue to be for us and other denominations a leader in what it means to have the resolve of a prophet and the heart of a shepherd.
The Evangelical Covenant Church