Please share this post with families and friends who believe that America can be a different place where all people are accepted and that America is no longer a place of hatred and violence in our churches and communities. Please join one or more of the groups on social media listed below to designate June 17 each year as the day we remember THE MARTYRS OF CHARLESTON.
Our America is rampant with hatred, violence and discrimination. The unfathomable occurred on the evening of June 17, 2015 when a lone white gunman participated in a Bible Study for over an hour before killing the senior pastor and eight others. The shooting occurred at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historical black church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. One internet site states that it is the worst attack in an American place of worship in history alongside a 1991 shooting at a Buddhist temple in Arizona.
Twelve people attended the Bible Study and welcomed the shooter into their community. News accounts say that the shooter had second thoughts about the murder one hour into the Bible Study “because everyone was so nice to him.” Instead, he decided to let his hatred override their love.
It is inspiring that the families and loved ones who remain have publicly professed their forgiveness for the killings. Michael Daly in a blog on The Daily Beast writes, “Appearing in court to address the shooter, family members gave testimonials of forgiveness that stunned a nation with their power and faith. Even the most cynical atheist had to have been in awe as the family members of the murdered faithful rose one after another in the Charleston courtroom and proved the power of their own faith in the face of crushing loss.”
“I forgive you,” Nadine Collier said through tears to the accused killer of her mother, Ethel Lance. “You took something very precious away from me. I will never get to talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you, and have mercy on your soul.”
President Barack Obama talked about grace during his eulogy at the funeral of the Senior Pastor, Honorable Reverend Clementa Pinckney. Click here to read the President’s remarks. President Obama also broke into the hymn, Amazing Grace, which can be viewed on this youtube video. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmRAxJIa0u8)
In the Episcopal Church we honor major feast days such as Christmas and Easter, but also have a compilation of other feast days to honor a wide range of people including 2nd century Bishops and modern-day heroes such as Martin Luther King, Jr.
I have started a social media campaign to designate June 17 as a day of commemoration each year to honor the Servants of God who gave up their lives for their faith, and the incredible witness of forgiveness and grace exhibited by those who are left behind.
If you are in support of this designation, please go to one of these sites on social media and join the group. A petition will be prepared to request that June 17 be officially recognized as a feast day in the Episcopal Church honoring:
THE MARTYRS OF CHARLESTON
You do not need to be Episcopalian or attend a place of worship to join these groups. This is about all Americans coming together united as one body.
As our hearts break for families and friends of The MARTYRS OF CHARLESTON, we are still confident that God’s love will prevail.
Blessings, my friend,
Links to social media action campaigns:
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1175267942490730/
LinkedIN Group: https://www.linkedin.com/grp/home?gid=8333873
Pinterest Board: https://www.pinterest.com/agatha08/martyrs-of-charleston-june-17/