From the Desk of Bishop Mark J. Webb: Open letter to Emanuel AME Church
I urge all United Methodist Christians in Upper New York to be in fervent prayer for the community of Charleston, S.C., our sisters and brothers of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the family and friends of the victims killed in the horrendous acts of violence committed on June 17. As people of faith, may we continue to work toward justice, including the end of gun violence and acts of racism in our society. Let us boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in word and action, lifting high the amazing love of God in the midst of violence and division that is our human condition. As a people connected throughout the world, I share with you a letter from the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, written on June 18 by the President of the Council, Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., to the bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
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