On the evening of June 17, 2015, a mass shooting took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, United States. White suspect Dylann Roof entered Emanuel A.M.E’s evening bible study, sat with parishioners for an hour, and then fatally shot nine attendees. He admitted that this was an attack fueled by racism and hatred, saying “I have to do it. You’re raping our women and taking over the country. You have to go.” His motive behind this atrocious act was, in his word, “to start a race war.”
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church issued a letter to the whole of the ELCA in the aftermath of this tragedy. She affirms that racism is indeed a sin, and is a dark, violent shadow deeply rooted in our country. Acknowledging that darkness is quickly followed by not just a call but a DEMAND for us to take action.
Listen to Bishop Eaton, and sit with her words. As an Urban ELCA Congregation, we are more fueled than ever to continue striving for racial justice America. We will not stop fighting, praying, and supporting. God’s presence is strong, and he gives us the strength and desire to keep moving forward. And we will do just that until racism in America is truly, genuinely eliminated from our thoughts, words, deeds, and structures.
From the front page of Charleston’s paper The Post and Courier.