Robert Griggs prays with others outside Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, SC

United Methodists send message to Charleston neighbors after church massacre

In response to the tragic shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, United Methodist Communications will send a message of healing, hope and peace from The United Methodist Church to encourage the people of Charleston, S.C. and the A.M.E. Church.  A full-page color ad will appear in the Charleston Post and Courier Sunday, June 21, conveying a simple, straightforward message: “Our neighbors. Our hearts. Our thoughts. Our prayers.” The ad calls for communities to join together in support of the victims and their families and asks readers to share their prayers on the denomination’s Facebook page. (See the ad here.)

In a letter to bishops of the A.M.E. Church, United Methodist Bishop Warner Brown, Jr., president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops wrote, “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, His will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.'”

The Rev. Ken Nelson attends a prayer service June 18 at Bethel AME Church in Columbia, SC.

The Rev. Ken Nelson, a UMC South Carolina Conference staff member, attends a prayer service June 18 at Bethel AME Church in Columbia, SC.  Matt Brodie photo, UMNS

United Methodist Communications has ofttimes used advertising to relay messages of concern to a hurting community in the aftermath of violence and natural disasters — times when people are suffering and may need a reminder of God’s love.

United Methodists across the U.S. are joining in prayer and offering whatever help they can to their African Methodist Episcopal brothers and sisters after June 17’s deadly church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

“As a people of faith committed to social justice and opposed to gun violence and racism, we grieve the lives lost and destroyed by this horrendous act of violence,” said South Carolina’s United Methodist Bishop L. Jonathan Holston in a request for prayer. “The reality is that no one is unaffected. We are all impacted by the horror that occurred in this place of worship.”

For more information about how United Methodists around the nation are responding to the tragedy visit  For information on UMC resources on responding to violence, visit

Most of this article was prepared by Diane Degnan, UMCom

Featured photo: Robert Griggs (center) prays with others outside Morris Brown African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. United Methodists joined AME members in prayers following the deadly shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.   Lekisa Coleman-Smalls photo, UMNS