By Rev. Eric Wolf, Assistant to the Bishop
There are moments in life and culture that we look back on and realize that they were a turning point. Last year on June 17, we experienced such a turning point in the South Carolina Synod of the ELCA when an estranged member of one of our congregations murdered nine people at Mother Emanuel AME in Charleston.
In the wake of this unspeakable tragedy, we recognized that though many of us in the South Carolina Synod have been actively striving against racism and toward racial reconciliation for years, it was time for us to stand together and say “No More”, taking a more public and more intentional stand against a culture permissive of racist ideologies and that nurtures a deep reverence for violence.
In the wake of the second racially and sexually motivated mass murder in less than a year, this time fifty LGBTQ people Pulse in Orlando on their LatinX night, we realize together that this service of reconciliation and commemoration is even more crucial than we could have imagined, as we’ve seen an actual increase in publicly accepted and endorsed hate speech toward those in minority demographics whether it’s race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or fiscal stability.
On Thursday June 16 at Mt. Tabor, West Columbia, we gather at 6:30 in the evening to commemorate not only the anniversary since the martyrdom of nine saint of God at Mother Emanuel, but we also carry in our hearts the knowledge that this is bigger than just Mother Emanuel – this is the ardent and urgent prayer that God’s will finally will be done on earth as it is in heaven, allowing a space for all people to live productive, healthy lives in a just society that finally looks like the Kingdom that is coming; a kingdom in which Jesus has promised us that he is preparing a place; a kingdom in which God cares for those who our society in its brokenness would rather forget; for in God’s house, there are many rooms.
Join us in prayer. Join us in solidarity.
Come, let us worship the Lord.