MINNEAPOLIS (June 18, 2015) – The Minnesota Council of Churches, the Minnesota Catholic Conference, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and Dakotas issued the following statement in response to yesterday’s murders in Charleston, S.C.
“The Minnesota Council of Churches, the Minnesota Catholic Conference, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and Dakotas condemn as an affront to God and humanity the reprehensible murderous hate crime committed at the ‘Mother Emanuel’ AME Congregation in Charleston, South Carolina. We pray in solidarity for the victims and their families and friends; the church; the people of Charleston; and our nation. We support all levels of law enforcement in the investigation of this crime and swift prosecution of this perpetrator.
“The murders are a stab to the heart of all decent people, everywhere. Churches and houses of worship in the United States and throughout the world are places of prayer, contemplation and protection. For the historic black churches, their sanctuaries were the heart of non-violent peaceful protest, often in the face of violence, in the national struggle to secure civil rights, voting rights, and dignity.
“Yesterday’s murders are a reversion to some of the worst moments of our nation’s history. The words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in response to the September, 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing which killed four African American girls echo sadly and loudly today. These murders are ‘one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity.’
“Yet the faith community has already demonstrated its solidarity with the victims. Religious organizations across the country have reached out to the African Methodist Episcopal Church leadership and South Carolina Council of Churches in support.
“At noon today, the Minnesota Council of Churches will convene a prayer vigil at the Minnesota Church Center (122 Franklin Avenue West, Minneapolis, MN 55404). Bishop Bruce Ough of the Dakotas and Minnesota Annual Conferences of the United Methodist Church will preside.
For more information about the vigil, please visit: http://mnchurches.org/respectfulcommunities/PrayerVigilforMotherEmanuelAME.html.
“All those gathering will ponder: ‘Oh Lord, when there is no peace in sanctuary, we pray for the violence in this land and the division in our lives to end.’
“Contributions to ‘Mother Emmanuel’ AME congregation in Charleston can be made at http://www.emanuelamechurch.org/.”