The Church of God In Christ extends truly deep and sincere condolences to the families of the 9 innocent victims who lost their lives during a Bible study at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church on Wednesday, June 17th in Charleston, South Carolina.
We join with the millions of voices throughout the world in decrying the senseless shooting of worshippers at Mother Emanuel Church. Sadly, we are living in an increasingly perilous time.
We believe this particularly egregious hate crime to be indicative of the bitter fruit that hate always produces.
Hate crimes against the African American community are instigated by powerful voices that misinform susceptible individuals about the desperate plight of our community. Instead of honestly addressing the systemic causes, voices of ignorance and hatred attribute problems within the African American community to race. Buying into this lie justifies actions such as we witnessed in Charleston, SC last night.
The tragedy at Mother Emanuel Church is yet another wake up call to the entire African American Church, calling for effectual prayer coupled with sustained action. In this moment, our hope is that the Body of Christ will come together in unity, as never before, to address the violence, the poverty, the racism, the economic disenfranchisement and inequality that is ripping the fabric of our communities and indeed the entire nation apart.
While it is certainly difficult to comprehend such senseless acts of hate and terror, we stand in solidarity with Christians everywhere, believing that the peace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, surpasses all of our understanding. May the hearts of the victims’ families be comforted by this sustaining truth alone.
Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.
Church of God in Christ, Inc.