The attack against worshipers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, earlier this week has again exposed the seemingly rampant racism and violence plaguing the United States.
The World Communion of Reformed Churches joins its voice to those of its many members calling for prayer and action in the wake of this most recent tragedy. We call on our sisters and brothers in the United States to continue to address the realities of racism and violence that are too frequently converging in tragedies across the country.
The words we shared only in December in response to a series of events and judicial decisions remain relevant: In the spirit of a worldwide family, called to communion and committed to justice, we are inviting member churches and ecumenical partners to join our sisters and brothers in the USA in their struggles for justice and in prayer and solidarity through messages and expressions of support. “Then you will understand righteousness and justice, as well as integrity, every good course.” (Prov. 2:9)
As a Communion we feel the hurt and pain of our members. This incident has struck all too close:
Many of our member churches have been responding to the murders in Charleston with prayers. Please join us in praying with them:
Christian Reformed Church in North America
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.
Presbyterian Church (USA)
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, God who has brought us thus far on our way, only you know why someone would enter into your house of worship and open fire on your children. Only you know why hate would run so deep that it would cause one of your creations to kill others you have formed. In our confusion over this senseless act, we appeal to you for understanding and courage to continue to fight for justice. We pray right now for the families of those who lost lives at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. on June 17, and ask that you would wrap your loving arms around them and the entire community. Likewise, we pray for an end to the continued racial unrest and violence that permeates the United States and the world, and ask you to guide us to work earnestly for change. Now unto you who is able to keep us from falling, we pray all these things. Amen.
United Church of Canada
The shooting at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church painfully reminds us that racism is a rampant evil in society.
We can no longer deny the influence of racism;
if we do we participate in this life-stealing force.
We need your help, God, to rebuke and overpower racism:
Help us to grieve with the community of Emanuel AME Church;
Help us to mourn with the families of those who have died;
Help us to show compassion and mercy to the family and friends of the shooter;
Help us to seek ways of justice, equity and peace in our actions and responses;
Help us to lament a sanctuary desecrated by violence and hatred;
Help us to recommit ourselves as followers dedicated to creating paths of justice, equity and peace through wilds of hatred and violence.
be with us in our suffering.
United Church of Christ
Dear God of many Names, we come to you in our time of grief. Help us dear God to understand how such tragedy occurs in the midst of your beloved family. Because you have made us One Body, help us dear God to reach across the lines which divide us. At this time, we ask for special prayers for our beloved family in Charleston, South Carolina and all who connect to them in life and spirit. Keep them close to your heart dear One and protect them with power of your Holy Spirit. We pray all this in the blessed name of Jesus the Christ, our Rock and our Redeemer.