On June 17, 2015, nine innocent people were killed in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. All of the victims were African-American. The killer was identified as white. Officials are labeling this a hate crime.
We at United Theological Seminary wish first to express our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of those who were victims of this heinous act. Our hearts cry out for God’s comfort, healing and strength for the people of Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. We mourn with you the loss of these precious and beloved sisters and brothers.
Further, we decry the ongoing pattern of violence against African Americans in our country. We call upon pastors, professors, public officials, law enforcement officers, and others in positions of authority, including ourselves, to make every effort and to use our influence to protect African-American citizens and bring an end to this sinful and shameful pattern of hateful violence. We commit ourselves to addressing these issues in our classrooms, worship services, and other arenas in which we have influence.
We pray that God will cause justice to “roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24) and heal the brokenness of our nation that results in acts of violence against African-Americans. May God never allow us to remain complacent in the face of injustice, or to turn a blind eye to those who are suffering in our midst.
Wendy J. Deichmann, President
David F. Watson, Academic Dean
Vivian Johnson, Associate Dean
Harold H. Hudson, Associate Dean