On Wednesday evening a young man entered the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church near downtown Charleston, South Carolina. An hour later he walked out, having created havoc after ending the lives of 9 of our brothers and sisters in Christ and wrecking the lives of their loved ones in the process.
Police have arrested 21-year old Dylann Roof of Columbia, South Carolina. They found him at about 11 am on Thursday morning about an hour west of Charlotte, North Carolina, after locals reported a suspicious vehicle in the area. A gun was found in his vehicle at the time of arrest, and thus far authorities say he has been “cooperative.”
As soon as his name was made public, news outlets began combing through Roof’s life to see what they could dig up about him. One of the things they found was a picture of him in High School wearing a jacket with flag patches of racist-era South Africa and Rhodesia. Definitive proof of racism, no, but an indicator of where his values lie, yes. As of Wednesday afternoon investigators from Charleston were flying up to question him about the shootings in Charleston.
Back in South Carolina 6 women and 3 men are dead, having been martyred for their faith and having likely been murdered for the shade of melanin in their skin. Among them, their Pastor, 41-year old Clementa Pinckney, who also happened to be a Democrat and a South Carolina state senator.
Clementa Carlos Pinckney (1973-2015)—a Democratic member of the South Carolina Senate and the senior pastor of Mother Emanuel A.M.E. [African Methodist Episcopal] Church—was martyred last night, along with eight other church members, while leading a Bible study and prayer meeting within his church in Charleston, S.C.
Pinckney (age 41) is survived by his wife, Jennifer (whom he married in 1999), and their two children, Eliana and Malana.
At the age of 23, he was the youngest African-American in South Carolina history to be elected to the legislature. He began preaching when he was 13 years old and was first appointed to preach at the age of 18.
After earning a degree in business administration and a master’s degree in public administration, he enrolled in Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (ELCA) in Columbia, S.C., graduating with an MDiv in 2008.
In 2010 he was named pastor of Mother Emanuel AME. He was a fourth-generation pastor.
The group gathered at Mother Emanuel AME was in the middle of a Bible study, gathered together to learn God’s Word when a monster entered their midst. Our hearts break for our dear brothers and sisters in Charleston, the pain felt now so unnecessary and dark. We weep with them as they mourn the loss of these 9 innocent lives.
The shooting should remind us of two very real evils loosed in our culture today – the sin of racism still breathes in America and the persecution of the saints is real. This evil man chose a church for a reason. He could have gone to a mall or a restaurant or a grocery store or just about anywhere… but he chose a church. That is not insignificant.
Our prayers and love go out to the people of Mother Emanuel AME. We mourn with you for this horrible and destructive act, we mourn the passing of our brothers and sisters, and we weep with you for the pain that you are suffering through. May our God be glorified through you even in this terrible experience. We love you and we will be praying for you.
Here is Pastor Pinckney giving a short history of the very important Mother Emanuel AME Church, which is the oldest AME church in the South and was founded in 1816. Over the years they have known persecution, martyrdom, pain and victory…