Agency deplores shootings, unrelenting racism of killings in Charleston, S.C.

The General Board of Church & Society of The United Methodist Church joins with people of faith everywhere in praying for the victims of the brutal, senseless shootings Wednesday night of nine members of the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. The victims, including the pastor, were killed during a weekly Bible study at a church known as “Mother Emanuel,” and whose centuries-long history includes notable civil rights involvement.

Our hearts are broken for our Methodist sisters and brothers in Charleston.

We deplore the epidemic of gun violence that continues unabated in the United States. This tragic occurrence of firearms-related killing is further exacerbated by the unrelenting evil of racism: All the victims were black. The U.S. Dept. of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney's Office are launching a hate-crime investigation into the killings.

Our United Methodist Social Principles declare that racism “plagues and cripples our growth in Christ, inasmuch as it is antithetical to the gospel itself.” This heinous act in a church during a Bible study reinforces our resolve to stand steadfastly against such evil.

We pray for God’s comfort for the families of the victims and the members of Emanuel AME as a whole, and we continue to pray for God’s shalom for this world.

The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe
(Member of United Methodist South Carolina Annual Conference)
General Secretary
General Board of Church & Society
The United Methodist Church

Bill Mefford
Director of Civil & Human Rights
General Board of Church & Society
The United Methodist Church

June 18, 2015

Note to editors: The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination.

Contact Info

Wayne Rhodes
Director of Communications
General Board of Church & Society
The United Methodist Church
(202) 488-5630 / wrhodes@umc-gbcs.org