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Statement on Charleston Shooting

from Rev. Amy Butler, pastor at Riverside Church in NYC

Words are insufficient to capture the depth of grief, anger, and despair many of us have felt as we heard the news of this violent act of terrorism fueled by a shameful legacy of racism in our country. Our prayers and our hearts go out to the families of the nine precious lives lost, to the congregation of Emanuel AME Church, and to the city of Charleston, SC.

Tragedies such as these confront us with hard questions. As people of faith, how can we speak words of peace and reconciliation when even our houses of worship cannot provide sanctuary from the violence and hatred in our world? How can we proclaim all lives are cherished and beloved by God when our brothers and sisters are targeted for the color of their skin? How can we hope for a culture of peace and justice when we do not even have the courage to limit the use of deadly weapons in our society?

Our lack of resolve, our collective failure, has created this litany of tragedies. Still, it is in these moments of despair that we need each other most. We need our churches and communities to provide comfort and to call us to action with the deep conviction of our faith - a faith that gives us the courage to speak words of hope into a culture of death, a faith that compels us to work for justice and God's peaceable kingdom on earth as in heaven, a faith that assures us love and not hatred will win in the end.


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