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Response of Rhode Island Faith Leaders to Shooting in Charleston Church

from the Rhode Island State Council of Churches

We reach out in loving concern to the people of Charleston, South Carolina, and especially the members and friends of the individuals who were slain while attending a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last night. We not only honor the life of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney who lost his life shepherding his flock, but we also honor those who were gathered in prayer and reflection. Houses of worship must be safe havens for all who are in distress and seeking God. When any sacred space is violated, all faith communities are diminished.

Although when such a senseless act of violence occurs, we are filled with many emotions, but we cannot respond to a hate crime with more hate. One Charleston resident is reported to have said, "We must love our way through this." We concur. Let our response go beyond our expression of empathy and grief.  Let us recommit ourselves to the hard work of racial reconciliation and building communities of safety and love. As our Presbyterian colleagues have stated, "Arresting the shooter is the job of law enforcement. Arresting hate is the work we are all called to do."

Rev. Dr. Don Anderson, Executive Minister,
The Rhode Island State Council of Churches

Rabbi Sarah Mack, President,
The Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island
Temple Beth-El

The Right Rev Dr. W. Nicholas Knisely, Bishop,
Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island

Rev. Dr. Tom Wiles, Exec. Minister,
American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island

Rev. Barbara J. Libby, Interim Conference Minister,
RI Conference of the United Church of Christ

Rev. Sammy Vaughn, President,
The Rhode Island Ministers Alliance,
St. James Baptist Church

Swami Yogatmananda,
Vedanta Society of Providence

Fr Andrew George,
RI Orthodox Clergy Fellowship

Father John A. Kiley,
Ecumenical Representative,
Diocese of Providence

Imam Farid Ansari,
Muslim American Dawah Center of Rhode Island

Hilmy Bakri,
President of the Board
The Islamic School of Rhode Island

Rabbi Barry Dolinger,
Rabbi and Spiritual Leader of Congregation Beth Sholom,
VP of the RI Board of Rabbis

Rabbi Leslie Y. Gutterman,
Temple Beth-El

Pastor Jabulani McCalister, Senior Pastor,
Calvary Baptist Church

Mufti Ikram,
masjid Al Islam (N Smithfield RI)

Rev. Betsy Aldrich Garland, President,

Abdelnasser Hussein, Principle,
the Islamic School of Rhode Island

Advocacy and Justice Commission,

Rev. Marie Carpenter, Director,
Eldercare Ministries,
American Baptist Churches of RI

Martha Yager,
American Friends Service Committee

Masjid Alrahman,
Muslim Society of Rhode Island

Rev. Lynn Baker-Dooley,
URI Chaplain

Joanne Friday, Dharmacharya,
Tiep Hien Order,
RI Community of Mindfulness

Rev. Charles Berkley, Jr.,
Providence Assembly of God

Qutaiba Albluwi,
Imam of Muslim Community Center of Kingston,
Chaplain of University of Rhode Island Chaplain

Abdul-Giyath Mayaleeke,

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