Emanuel Nine, martyrs, 2015
On June 17, 2015, Clementa C. Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Lee Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson were murdered by a self-professed white supremacist while they were gathered for Bible study and prayer at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (often referred to as Mother Emanuel) in Charleston, South Carolina. Pastors Pinckney and Simmons were both graduates of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. A resolution to commemorate June 17 as a day of repentance for the martyrdom of the Emanuel Nine was adopted by the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on August 8, 2019. Congregations of the ELCA are encouraged reaffirm their commitment to repenting of the sins of racism and white supremacy which continue to plague this church, to venerate the martyrdom of the Emanuel Nine, and to mark this day of penitence with study and prayer.
Dear friends in Christ, as we remember and mark this day, I invite you to read these words from the ELCA: “Our relationship to the shooter, as well as two of the slain, reminds us of both our complicity and our calling. Together we confess that we are in bondage to the sins of racism and white supremacy and, at the same time, we rejoice in the freedom that is ours in Christ Jesus who “has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us” (Ephesians 2:14). May God continue to guide us as we seek repentance and renewal, and racial justice and reconciliation among God’s precious children.”
I invite you to pray this prayer today, remembering the Emanuel Nine, and committing ourselves to the important work of repentance and justice.
In Peace, Pastor Ruth
Prayer for Racial Justice
Save us, O God, from ourselves,
from racism often cloaked in pious words,
from the machinations of white supremacy hidden in calls for civility, from micro aggressions thinly veiled in arrogance,
from apologies when they don’t give way to action,
from forgiveness without facing the truth,
from reconciliation without reparation.
Deliver us, O God, from expecting siblings of color to continue to bear this emotional work, which is not theirs to do.
Grateful for the long arc that bends toward justice, we pray:
Grant us wisdom,
give us courage for the facing of these days,by the power of the Spirit, all for the sake of the kin-dom that we share in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(From the ELCA “Prayers, Litanies, and Laments for the Commemoration of the Emanuel Nine)