Methodist Leaders Respond to Charleston Tragedy

Date Posted: 6/18/2015

Our hearts are broken today. As more information is coming in about the tragic shootings in Charleston, we learn about the beautiful, Spirit-filled, faithful lives lost and also the hate-filled young man. I ask you to join millions of the faithful today as we pray for the nine saints, their families, Emanuel AME Church, their entire community devastated by this tragedy and the one who has lost his way.
Bishop Janice Riggle Huie

See Letter to the Texas Annual Conference from Bishop Huie

O Lord, hear our prayer! 
Last night, a young white man entered an historic African American Methodist church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine including their pastor.  The choice of this church as a target was significant.  This congregation has been the mother church of African American Methodist churches in the region.  In addition, it has been a leader for justice, righteousness, and civil rights in the area.
O Lord, hear our prayer.
For those who gathered in peace to hear Your Word and now have been gathered into the arms of the Prince of Peace.  
For their families which have been ripped apart by the deaths.
For the young man who somewhere along the way allowed his soul to be captured by the violence he wrought.  
For our nation and all that continues to divide and destroy.  
And for each of us, for all who pray "Thy Kingdom come" each Sunday, may we on this day and every day be servants of nothing less.
O Lord, hear our prayer.
Dr. Steve Wende, Senior Pastor, First UMC, Houston

In response to the murders of the pastor and eight others during a prayer meeting at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015, the Southeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops of the United Methodist Church offers the following response:
"The College of Bishops of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church stands with our Methodist family at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, with our brother Bishop Richard Franklin Morris of the Seventh Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and with our colleague Bishop Jonathan Holston, of the South Carolina Conference.

We condemn this act of violence in the house of the Lord.  We commit ourselves anew to the work of reconciliation in the midst of hatred.  And we lift high the cross of Jesus Christ, as God's witness to the violence and division that is our human condition.
Please join us in acts of prayer, compassion and justice on behalf of our Pan-Methodist sisters and brothers."
We also commend the Statement on Racism offered at the Council of Bishops in Berlin, Germany, May 7, 2015. 
SEJ College of Bishops
As the media around this nation tells the story of last night’s tragedy in Charleston, we are shocked and disturbed to hear that an armed young man entered the Emanuael AME Church in downtown Charleston and after sitting with church members for an hour, opened fire, killing nine individuals and wounding one more during their weekly Bible study. (See full message at
L Jonathan Holston, Bishop, South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church
United Methodist Bishops Reach out After Charleston Shooting
Washington, D.C.: In the wake of a tragic shooting of nine people attending Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is reaching out to their colleague bishops in the African Methodist Episcopal Church with a message of prayer and healing. 
The bishops also called upon United Methodists to support victims of violence and to work to end racism and hatred. Their message echoed that of a pastoral letter on racism issued by the Council to the people of The United Methodist Church in early May.
A letter from the President of the Council, Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., to the bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church reads:
Dear Bishop Bryant and colleague African Methodist Episcopal Bishops,
Grace and Peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, the Savior of our broken world.
Your sisters and brothers in the Council of Bishops and congregations of The United Methodist Church are in prayer with and for you in the wake of the racist murders and hateful violence at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  May the Holy Spirit endow you with a full measure of love, wisdom and courage as you lead the Church and witness to the world in this consequential time.
We join in mourning the tragic loss of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, and the other victims who were meeting with prayers offered to the One who is our hope.  We are all now a part of a global prayer meeting for these families and all families and communities deeply wounded by racism and violence.  We unite voices in proclaiming, "If God is for us, who can be against us? ... Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... No! In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!" (Romans 8)
As other recent events of violence and racism have compelled us to do, again we call on United Methodists and all people of good will to support the victims of this and all acts of violence, to work to end racism and hatred, to seek peace with justice, and to live the prayer that our Lord gave us, that God's "kingdom come, (and) will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
We go forward with Wesley's assurance that "Best of all God is with us."

In Christ's Love,
Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., President
The Council of Bishops