Pastor Clementa Pinckney
One of the nine victims of the horrific shooting at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church this week was Pastor Clementa Pinckney, the church’s spiritual leader. On April 26, two months before his brutal murder, Pastor Pinckney led the “Requiem on Racism”, a moving service that called for an end to racism, bigotry, and violence. The Requiem was hosted at his church.
At this service, which was held shortly after the shooting of Walter Scott, an unarmed African-American man, by a Charleston Police Officer, Pastor Pinckney said: “We hope this program will help each of us to look deeply into our own hearts and minds and inspire us to root out any forms of violence and bigotry in our own lives.” The Pastor was joined at this service by U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn, State Representative David Mack, and Rabbi Stephanie Alexander of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim of Charleston.
Pastor Pinckney opened the service with the following prayer. “We know that only love can conquer hate, that only love can bring all together in our name…Irregardless of our faiths, our ethnicities, where we are from, together we come in love. Together we come to bury racism, to bury bigotry, and to resurrect and revive love, compassion, and tenderness. We pray that you would bless and empower all of us who are here to reach and to feel the love and to share the love.”
At the end of the service, Pastor Pinckney described the Requiem on Racism a “a funeral, a mass, a service” in which to bury racism.
Tragically, his congregation and the larger community must now bury him and the other victims of this hateful crime fueled by racism. May his wife, Jennifer, his children Eliana and Malana, his congregation and all who have been inspired by him find within themselves the the strength and courage to believe his words: “We know that only love can conquer hate, that only love can bring all together.” And may we all try to do as the Pastor asked his community to do just two months ago – pray that we all have the strength “to reach and feel the love and share the love.”
May it be a Shabbat Shalom – a Shabbat of peace for us all.