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Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary responds to Charleston, SC, church shooting

Jun 20, 2015
candlesWith heavy hearts we at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary join our voices to the chorus of those from across the United States and around the world, lamenting the slaughter of innocents in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday, June 17, at the hands of a white supremacist.

The nine victims were gathered for an evening of Bible study and prayer at Emanuel A.M.E. Church. Emanuel is a congregation with a rich history of activism for black people’s equality, and its murdered pastor, the Honorable Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, has been called the “moral compass of the South Carolina state senate.”

In addition to Reverend Pinckney, the victims of this atrocity were Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, the Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, the Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons Sr., the Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson. We mourn their lives cut short, and pray that God may console all who knew and loved them. We pray for the people of South Carolina, that they may look with open eyes at their state’s chronic failure to reckon with an apartheid past that is not yet past. But we also pray for ourselves here in Louisville, lest our naming of failures by others distract us from seeing racism and its painful consequences close at hand—racism in which we ourselves may wittingly or unwittingly conspire.

Our mission at Louisville Seminary is to educate men and women to participate in the redemptive ministry of Jesus Christ in the world. The massacre in South Carolina reminds us yet again that it is a world warped, broken, and marked by profound enmity, inequity, and injustice. As we teach and learn together, may God give us eyes to see the suffering caused by the sin of racism, whether far or near. May God give us courage to work for justice and speak Good News in ways that repair what has fallen and make fruitful what has been laid waste. The prophet Ezekiel wrote, “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26 NRSV).

May we be bold to proclaim this word and to live its truth day by day.

Michael Jinkins, President
Susan R. Garrett, Dean

Johanna W. H. van Wijk-Bos Matthew Collins Carol Cook Steve Cook
Shannon Craigo-Snell Grant Crusor Christopher Elwood Kilen Gray
Clifton Kirkpatrick Felicia Howell LaBoy Tyler Mayfield Debra Mumford
Amy Plantinga Pauw Marion Soards Jenny Schiller Loren Townsend
J. Bradley Wigger Lisa Lee Williams Scott Williamson
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