Our Worship Service last Sunday was dedicated to identifying with the tragic killings at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.  We ended by providing an opportunity for people to write personal notes to the congregation of that church.  Here are some of the expressions that were turned in:

“We are taking time during our Sunday morning worship service today to reflect on the deaths of your nine members.  We are a multicultural church  in the Los Angeles area, striving to figure out how to live as God’s people.  As a white woman, I understand my privilege and want to use it to help stop these acts of racial violence and hatred that occur too often.  I want you to know that I am listening.  I have not lived as a black person in this country, but I have heard my black friends describe their experiences with racism.  I promise that I will speak truth to those around me.  Keep doing your important work of loving each other and your community in God’s name.  Your efforts are not in vain, and I am confident that God will use this tragedy for good.”

“Precious family, you have gone through so much.  I just can’t wait for the moment when we hear the trumpet blast and we are united in victory – when our people are redeemed.  The world is praying for you.  The world is lifting you up.  We love you and want to help carry your burden.”

“Your faith and kindness to forgive a man who epitomizes darkness brings glory to God.  May God comfort and love you; may he give you strength to carry on.”

“Dear Mother Church, we are sincerely sorry for your great loss.  We know that these dear ones are dancing with Jesus forever.  May God continue to comfort and bless you.”

“Thank you for being martyrs for Jesus Christ.  I’m praying that, in the future, any time you feel the intense hurt and loss, you will be able, through God’s grace, to feel love and forgive again.”

“Emanuel AME Church: You are powerful.  You are fearless.  You will continue, because you are beautiful.  With Black Power and Black Love.”

“Brothers and sisters in Christ: We love you.  We grieve with you.  We pray with you.  We thank God for all of you.”

“My heart is with you.  I’m so sorry for what has happened.  Don’t let ‘him’ win.  We all are one in the Lord.  Again, I wish you well, and may grace continue on and overcome.  Please forgive us white people.  We are not all evil.  I love you in the Lord with all my heart, and I am so sorry for your loss.”

“My heart aches for you.  I am awed by the forgiveness your Body of Christ has extended – a true example of Christ himself.  My love and prayers are with each of you, and with the Body there.”

“Jesus shines through you in your beautiful attitude of forgiveness.  What an example for the world!  May our Comforter be with you all in your grieving, constantly lifting you up.”

“My heart goes out to all of you, especially the families of the slain.  Violence never helps; it seems to relieve frustration, but in the end creates a worse situation for everyone.  Our prayers are for your congregation, and also for the family of the young man who did the shooting.  It’s clear he was not taught about the love of God and the forgiveness we all need.  The acceptance God gives to us should be an example of how we should treat others.”

“May God grant us the strength and peace of mind to do the right thing.  I pray, dear Lord, that the nine will not have lived and died in vain, but that they will help us all draw near to you .and bring us an understanding of how to live your love.  God, bless us.  God, forgive us.  God, help us find peace.”

“We love you.  We are praying for all of you.  Be strong.  We are all children of the King.”

“There are no words to express how sad we are for you.  We are truly humbled by your love in the midst of this horrible experience.  May our God comfort you and bring you peace.  We love you, we cry with you, we feel anger with you.  We will continually pray for you.”

“Just reaching out and sending love, light and hope your way.”

“I am so sorry for your loss.  This unfortunate tragedy has had an affect on people around the world.  We are praying for you, yesterday, today and tomorrow.  May God give you peace and comfort.”

“My heart aches for the loss you have suffered and the violence perpetrated against you.  I stand with you in your grief and anger.  I am taught by you in your love and forgiveness.  I will continue to choose to call out injustice against all of those who are persecuted because of who they are.  I am embracing you as my kin and wrapping my arms around you. With love and prayers, trusting Jesus, in life and death.”

“My prayers are with you, my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I, too, am a work in progress, and I pray that God will deliver us all from negative thinking and dark hearts.  As Jesus prayed, ‘How long?’  Our country needs healing, and I believe it has started there with you.  May the healing continue, in Jesus’ name.”

“I am with you in prayer and support at this devastating moment in your church’s history.  I also want to ask your forgiveness for so often ignoring and turning a blind eye to the racism in my own heart.  I am thankful to be in a church that helps me understand and enter more deeply into the pain of those who face racism on a regular basis.  May God enrich your ministry in Charleston and beyond.”

“Jesus Christ died absorbing in his body the violence of mankind against his fellow-man.  These nine brothers and sisters have followed Christ in their deaths, absorbing that same violence.  We cry out.  We wait with you for the justice of resurrection.”

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If you’d like to add your own thoughts to our corporate response, please send an email, so we can include them in our love package to the people of Emanuel AME Church.