A Prayer for Charleston


We are again a people in mourning. In a year punctuated by a public awareness to racial incidents across the country, the deep wound of hate confronted us again last night. The holy space of a church was turned into a place of tragedy. The location shocks us, the violence disturbs us, and the depth of the heartbreak wounds us.

There are many questions to be asked in the coming days, as there are with any such tragedy. Why did this happen? How are we as a society going to address deep and abiding racial animosity? What role are firearms going to play in our society? Are there are appropriate mental health resources for those who need them?

Each of these questions will take courage to confront and honesty to begin to address. For the victims of this attack and the many others we have mourned this year, let us have the fortitude to begin this work.

As we begin, we grieve. Your chaplains are available to dwell and reflect with you in this moment of sorrow should you so desire. Our friends at the Center for Multicultural Equity & Access and CAPS also offer open doors and support for all who wish it. Together we offer this prayer for the nation and ourselves:

Almighty God, you have created us all in your image.

We pray to you for the self-inflicted wounds of our nation that are rooted in the beauty of diversity. We struggle this day that a sanctuary dedicated to you should be so violated, and that a place of peace should become a place of great tears. Be with us in our tears, be with us in our fears.

We ask that in you we may find the courage to confront the biases of our society, so that the darkness of hate rooted in race may at last vanish in your light. As a people of faith, may we heed your call to the challenges of this work and seek the larger betterment for all our community.

As we commit ourselves to this endeavor, we pray for your comfort for the congregation and the families that know poignantly the cost of hate. Give them your solace.

We pray for comfort. We pray for justice. We pray for hope.

In Grace and Hope,

Rev. Bryant Oskvig (new window)
Protestant Chaplaincy Director

Rev. Gregory Schenden, S.J. (new window)
Roman Catholic Chaplain