CHARLESTON, S.C. (BP) — Christians are uniting in prayer and benevolence across racial distinctions in Charleston, South Carolina, after a 21-year-old man massacred nine Christians in a June 17 prayer service at historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, said neighboring Southern Baptist pastor Keith Biggs.
“Everyone together — white, black, Hispanic, everybody — we’re coming together in unity to see this not only [as] an attack on people, but an attack on the body of Christ,” said Biggs, associate pastor of Citadel Square Baptist Church, Charleston, which neighbors the site of the crime.
The FBI identified the shooter as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, of Columbia, South Carolina. Roof was arrested the morning of June 18.
Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President Ronnie Floyd was joined in a statement by K. Marshall Williams, president of the SBC National African American Fellowship (NAAF); A.B. Vines, NAAF’s immediate past president; and Russell Moore, president of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
“The brutal massacre of those in prayer at Emanuel [AME] Church should shock the conscience of every person. There is hardly a more vivid picture of unmasked evil than the murder of those in prayer.
“The assault on Emanuel AME Church is an assault on all of us. When any part of the Body of Christ hurts, the whole Body of Christ hurts. We grieve, but we grieve in hope. We remember, after all, the meaning of Emanuel Church’s very name, a meaning that makes devils tremble: God is with us.”
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