In what has become an all-too-familiar event, the shooting at the AME church in Charleston has shocked and shaken us all.And, in an all-too-familiar plea, we call for an offering of prayers for the victims, their families, and the historic church that has struggled against racism and injustice, and witnessed to Christ’s inclusive love since the 1820’s.The debate about the easy availability of hand guns will be revved up again, and we will anguish over the hate that continues to find its way into the human heart.None of us should feel helpless about all of this, and we certainly should not be resigned to it.As your pastor I ask and invite you to find some single way to counter the hatred and fear that cause such terrible things to happen.Examine your heart for enmity against another that might lurk there, reach out in a way you haven’t before to someone you know to be hurting or afraid.Don’t let a racist comment go unchallenged.And yes, pray, pray with all those of many faiths, who lift our anguished prayers to the God who answers prayer through us.We remember Martin Luther King’s words at this time:“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
Rev. Peter Shidemantle has been pastor at Pebble Hill
since 1993. A graduate of Yale Divinity
School and McCormick Theological Seminary, Peter is married to the Rev. Karen
Dimon, pastor at Northminster Presbyterian Church in North Syracuse. They have two children, Dale and Kara.