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On June 17, 2015 a 21-year white man entered Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and after spending more than an hour in Bible study with the African Americans gathered, shot and killed nine of the participants. When apprehended a day later he confessed to the shooting claiming he hoped to start a “race war.”
    People in Charleston, across the country and beyond, reeled in shock and grief. Many, held a collective breath, waiting to see if the city would erupt in race riots, similar to what was occurring in Ferguson, MO.
    Two days after the murders, survivors and relatives of the victims faced the confessed killer in a courtroom via videoconferencing and, surprising the world, offered words of forgiveness, rather than hate.
        In the days following the murders thousands traveled to Emanuel AME not to protest but to pray, weep and lay flowers, cards and gifts at the church’s gates. Blacks and whites, people of all races, rather than being polarized, came together.
    Prayer vigils were held, tens of thousands congregated on the Ravenel Bridge in a show of unity called  the Bridge to Peace.
    Many from the Diocese of South Carolina, whose offices are just a few blocks from ‘Mother Emanuel,” participated in services, and sought ways to respond in which God could redeem what was unthinkable. Reflections from members of our  Diocese may be found below.
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