Mother Emanuel participates in statewide event on gun violence

CHARLESTON, SC – Worship leaders sent a message across the state today to honor the victims of the Emanuel AME killings this past summer.

More than 1,300 faith congregations across South Carolina “stood up” to address gun violence.

Sunday morning at Mother Emanuel, the church bells rang and parishioners prayed, but a deeper and more political message was behind many sermons throughout the state on Sunday.

Stand-Up Sunday began as an idea for communal day in the Charleston area but quickly swelled as word spread and faith leaders statewide signed onto the event sponsored by Gun Sense SC, a nonpartisan, grassroots group that formed in the aftermath of the Emanuel AME tragedy and whose aim is to reduce gun violence in South Carolina.

On Stand-Up Sunday, January 31st, or Stand-Up Sabbath on that same weekend for faiths that meet on Friday or Saturday, congregations across the state will honor the nine lives lost in a Charleston church. They will address the epidemic of gun violence in South Carolina and take steps to support nonpartisan legislation on background checks that don’t threaten the 2nd Amendment right to lawfully own guns.

At Mother Emanuel’s Sunday service, after a moment of silence, Board Trustee Blondelle Gadsden and dozens of her fellow parishioners stood up in support of the message.

“I think it’s important for mother Emanuel especially,” said Gadsden. “It is very meaningful to know that our neighbors and other churches around the world are taking this as an important issue.”

Stand-Up Sunday is supported by the bishops and leaders of nearly every denomination, here in Charleston and Charleston and beyond.

The leadership of 14 different Christian Denominations are participating (Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Catholics, Episcopalians, Reformed Episcopalians, Lutherans, AME’s, Unitarians, United Church of Christ, Russian Orthodox, Unity churches, Quakers, Non-Denominational churches) along with Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim congregations.

On Stand-Up Sunday — endorsed by the SC Christian Action Council and supported by the Bishops and leaders of nearly every denomination — congregations will stand up for the 9:

  • The 9 killed by a gun purchased without a completed background check at Emanuel AME on June 17, 2015.
  • The 9 citizens of our state killed by guns every 5 days.
  • The 9 out of 10 South Carolinians who want background checks on all gun purchases (Public Policy Polling, 2015), along with 85% of gun owners nationally.

“We’re inviting people to contact their representatives as a part of standup Sunday. “Pastor Jeremy Rutledge of Circular Congregational Church in downtown Charleston says his sermon on Sunday was about making the community safer for everyone.

Rutledge told News 2, “Have a background check. Be safe and close the loophole that allowed Mr. Roof to come to our city and cause so much destruction.”

Gadsden spoke about the service at Mother Emanuel and Sunday and said, “It felt like we were unified in our efforts to speak out and say that we’ve had enough and that we don’t intend to stand back and be idle while these kind of things continue to happen.”

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