RCA Laments Charleston Shooting

Date Posted: 
Friday, June 19, 2015

Today, the RCA mourns with Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina, following the senseless events of Wednesday evening. A young white man entered the prayer meeting of a historically black congregation and shot ten people, killing nine. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the shooting as a hate crime. We lift up to God in lament and prayer the congregation, the families of all involved, and issues of ongoing racial tension.

The shooting happened just days after delegates at General Synod 2015 engaged in conversation about the RCA’s multicultural future. We want to live a large and integrated life together,” said general secretary Tom De Vries. “The RCA will be better as a mosaic…that’s what it means to be the body of Christ.” (Read the full story at www.rca.org/news/we-need-you-be-you.)

The tragedy of Wednesday evening reminds us that we live in a lost and broken world. But as people of faith, we know that broken world is also so loved by God. We pray that our churches—and all churches across the world—will continue to be seen as places of refuge, of love, and of hope, rather than places of fear. We seek God’s guidance as we try to make sense of what has happened and respond as Christ would. We pray for the future of our nations and for our integrated life together.

As we mourn, we invite you to join us in praying these words from the Christian Reformed Church’s Office of Social Justice:

Lord, in our shock and confusion, we come before you.
In our grief and despair in the midst of hate,
in our sense of helplessness in the face of violence,
we lean on you.

For the families of those who have been killed we pray.
For the shooter—help us to pray, Lord.
For the community of Charleston—its anger, grief, fear—we pray.
For the African Methodist Episcopal Church, we pray.

In the face of hatred, may we claim love, Lord.
May we love those far off and those near.
May we love those who are strangers and those who are friends.
May we love those who we agree with and understand,
and even more so, Lord, those who we consider to be our enemies.

Kyrie Eleison. Lord, have mercy.
Heal our sin-sick souls.
Make these wounds whole, Lord.

The World Communion of Reformed Churches has also issued a statement on racial reconciliation in the wake of the events in Charleston; read it here.

Prayer used with permission; sign up for the weekly OSJ Prayers email.