The Unified Interfaith Community Coalition Presents Important Gatherings honoring the Emanuel Nine Incident
Rev. Jeannine Smalls, 7th Episcopal District
June 16 is a date to remember as a tragedy that brought and should keep us together. Over the weekend of June 16-17, the United Interfaith Community Coalition of Beaufort (all religious groups) kicked off the “Spiritual Reconstruction of Beaufort” by hosting two events, the first on Friday night at the new Grace Chapel AME Church on Lady’s Island and the second at St. John’s Lutheran Church also on Lady’s Island.
Friday night was filled with song, prayer, and reflection about the tragedy of the Emanuel Nine, including the murder of our own Senator Clementa Pinckney. One of the many highlights of the evening was the message delivered by the Right Rev. Samuel Lawrence Green, Presiding Bishop of the Seventh Episcopal District of the AME Church and the Bell Ringers from the Baptist Church of Beaufort.
On Saturday, we gathered at St. Johns to hear speakers, followed by breakout groups of adults and children to talk about what makes our community great. Additionally, we spoke about what we need to do to establish a better understanding of the many diverse elements of our community so that we may collaborate and celebrate the oneness of community through human interaction and collaboration into the future.
These events do not stand alone and are not single occurrences. They need to grow, engage larger groups of participants along the way, and sustain the effort to better mankind and our community. Over 15 different faith groups were represented including Bahai’, United Methodist, Unitarian Universalist, Lutheran, Orisa (African Village of Beaufort), Presbyterian, Holiness, and Baptist.
The UICCB was founded by the Rev. Jeannine Smalls, the pastor of Grace Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in response to the Mother Emanuel Tragedy on June 17, 2015. Its mission is to foster interracial dialogue, understanding, and cooperation in Beaufort County among those inspired by religious commitment; to encourage all to move beyond prejudice and bias, be it historical, cultural, social, or theological; and to model a spirit of cooperation with all people in promoting peace, social justice, harmony, human rights, and respect for all creation.
The Rev. Jeannine Smalls is the Senior Pastor of Grace Chapel AMEC in Beaufort, South Carolina, and Founder of the Unified Interfaith Community Coalition (UICC).