In Charlottesville, a multi-denominational, multi-racial group of clergy gathered together in support of each other as we recognized that what happened at Mother Emanuel could also have happened at any of our churches, too. We lamented the loss of life in Charleston, and we lamented the lack of community even among the clergy of our congregations as we are so busily engrossed in our own congregations that we hardly know each other.
For the past year, we have sought to change that, finding ways to be in relationship with one another, forging friendships that promise to support any one of us who might have need. Indeed, we recognized our inability to stand together as a community of faith if those friendships are not nurtured before such need arises.
We have much work to do together, but today we can stand here as the Charlottesville Clergy Collaborative and remember together the violence and hate perpetrated in Charleston last June, vowing to address the proliferation of gun violence in our own community, and working together for racial and economic justice in Charlottesville and the surrounding areas.
We encourage our congregations and the people of Charlottesville to pause for a moment of silence tomorrow evening at 9:05pm, remembering those who died at Mother Emanuel and vowing, with God’s help, to work to prevent such senseless and hate-filled violence in our world.
The Rev. Cass Bailey, Trinity Episcopal Church
The Rev. Dr. Lehman D. Bates, Ebenezer Baptist Church
The Rev. Will Brown, University Baptist Church
The Rev. Michael Cheuk, Charlottesville
The Rev. Winn Collier, All Souls Charlottesville
The Rev. Alvin Edwards, Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church
The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Emrey, New Beginnings Christian Community
The Rev. C. Neal Goldsborough, St. Paul’s Memorial Episcopal Church
The Rev. Brenda Brown-Grooms, New Beginnings Christian Community
The Rev. Hodari Hamilton, First Baptist Church, West Main
The Rev. Pete Hartwig, City Church
The Rev. Willis Logan, Christ Episcopal Church
The Rev. Benjamin O. Maton, Immanuel Lutheran Church
The Rev. G.L. Morris
The Rev. Elaine Ellis Thomas, St. Paul’s Memorial Episcopal Church
The Rev. Marilu Thomas, Christ Episcopal Church
The Rev. Greg Thompson, Trinity Presbyterian Church
Deacon Garrett Trent, All Souls Charlottesville
The Rev. Paul N. Walker, Christ Episcopal Church
The Rev. Dr. Heather Warren, St. Paul’s Memorial Episcopal Church
The Rev. Tracy Howe Wispelwey, Westminster Presbyterian Church