(The State) From the pulpit: Midlands SC pastors reflect on Charleston massacre

[The] Rev. Ronnie Elijah Brailsford Sr., pastor, Bethel AME Church, Columbia

“We are a resilient people of faith in God. Why? Because God is with us. Emmanuel means, ”˜God is with us.’ We (the AME church) are a people of the Christian faith. We will celebrate 200 years of being formally organized as the AMEC in July of 2016. Nearly 200 years ago, the founding father, Bishop Richard Allen, lead his people courageously through many trials, temptations, tests, threats and dangers. He had to fight to be free and remain free. He had to overcome fears from within and without. He had to overcome racism and bigotry. Yet, with faith in God, he stood strong and boldly.

“So this is not the first time our resolve as a people of faith, whose color happens to be black, has had to withstand difficult and trying times. . . We have come too far to turn around. The power of our love is too strong for hate.

“And our faith is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. Thus, we stand. The work of the Lord shall go forward. Why? Because we are the people of Emmanuel. God is with us.”

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