Posts Tagged ‘rev

26
Jun
15

The Eulogy

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President Obama’s Eulogy at the Funeral of Rev Clementa Pinckney

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Giving all praise and honor to God.

(APPLAUSE)

The Bible calls us to hope, to persevere and have faith in things not seen. They were still living by faith when they died, the scripture tells us.

(APPLAUSE)

They did not receive the things promised. They only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

We are here today to remember a man of God who lived by faith, a man who believed in things not seen, a man who believed there were better days ahead off in the distance, a man of service, who persevered knowing full-well he would not receive all those things he was promised, because he believed his efforts would deliver a better life for those who followed, to Jennifer, his beloved wife, Eliana and Malana, his beautiful, wonderful daughters, to the Mother Emanuel family and the people of Charleston, the people of South Carolina.

I cannot claim to have had the good fortune to know Reverend Pinckney well, but I did have the pleasure of knowing him and meeting him here in South Carolina back when we were both a little bit younger…

(LAUGHTER)

… back when I didn’t have visible gray hair.

(LAUGHTER)

The first thing I noticed was his graciousness, his smile, his reassuring baritone, his deceptive sense of humor, all qualities that helped him wear so effortlessly a heavy burden of expectation.

Friends of his remarked this week that when Clementa Pinckney entered a room, it was like the future arrived, that even from a young age, folks knew he was special, anointed. He was the progeny of a long line of the faithful, a family of preachers who spread God’s words, a family of protesters who so changed to expand voting rights and desegregate the South.

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Clem heard their instruction, and he did not forsake their teaching. He was in the pulpit by 13, pastor by 18, public servant by 23. He did not exhibit any of the cockiness of youth nor youth’s insecurities. Instead, he set an example worthy of his position, wise beyond his years in his speech, in his conduct, in his love, faith and purity.

As a senator, he represented a sprawling swathe of low country, a place that has long been one of the most neglected in America, a place still racked by poverty and inadequate schools, a place where children can still go hungry and the sick can go without treatment — a place that needed somebody like Clem.

(APPLAUSE)

His position in the minority party meant the odds of winning more resources for his constituents were often long. His calls for greater equity were too-often unheeded. The votes he cast were sometimes lonely.

But he never gave up. He stayed true to his convictions. He would not grow discouraged. After a full day at the Capitol, he’d climb into his car and head to the church to draw sustenance from his family, from his ministry, from the community that loved and needed him. There, he would fortify his faith and imagine what might be.

Reverend Pinckney embodied a politics that was neither mean nor small. He conducted himself quietly and kindly and diligently. He encouraged progress not by pushing his ideas alone but by seeking out your ideas, partnering with you to make things happen. He was full of empathy and fellow feeling, able to walk in somebody else’s shoes and see through their eyes.

No wonder one of his Senate colleagues remembered Senator Pinckney as “the most gentle of the 46 of us, the best of the 46 of us.”

Clem was often asked why he chose to be a pastor and a public servant. But the person who asked probably didn’t know the history of AME Church.

(APPLAUSE)

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(Malana Pinckney, daughter of Rev Clementa Pinckney, looks over at the President during the funeral for her father)

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As our brothers and sisters in the AME Church, we don’t make those distinctions. “Our calling,” Clem once said, “is not just within the walls of the congregation but the life and community in which our congregation resides.”

(APPLAUSE)

He embodied the idea that our Christian faith demands deeds and not just words, that the sweet hour of prayer actually lasts the whole week long, that to put our faith in action is more than just individual salvation, it’s about our collective salvation, that to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and house the homeless is not just a call for isolated charity but the imperative of a just society.

What a good man. Sometimes I think that’s the best thing to hope for when you’re eulogized, after all the words and recitations and resumes are read, to just say somebody was a good man.

(APPLAUSE)

You don’t have to be of high distinction to be a good man.

Preacher by 13, pastor by 18, public servant by 23. What a life Clementa Pinckney lived. What an example he set. What a model for his faith.

And then to lose him at 41, slain in his sanctuary with eight wonderful members of his flock, each at different stages in life but bound together by a common commitment to God — Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, DePayne Middleton Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel L. Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson.

Good people. Decent people. God-fearing people.

(APPLAUSE)

People so full of life and so full of kindness, people who ran the race, who persevered, people of great faith.

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To the families of the fallen, the nation shares in your grief. Our pain cuts that much deeper because it happened in a church.

The church is and always has been the center of African American life…

(APPLAUSE)

… a place to call our own in a too-often hostile world, a sanctuary from so many hardships.

Over the course of centuries, black churches served as hush harbors, where slaves could worship in safety, praise houses, where their free descendants could gather and shout “Hallelujah…”

(APPLAUSE)

… rest stops for the weary along the Underground Railroad, bunkers for the foot soldiers of the civil-rights movement.

They have been and continue to community centers, where we organize for jobs and justice, places of scholarship and network, places where children are loved and fed and kept out of harms way and told that they are beautiful and smart and taught that they matter.

(APPLAUSE)

That’s what happens in church. That’s what the black church means — our beating heart, the place where our dignity as a people in inviolate.

There’s no better example of this tradition than Mother Emanuel, a church…

(APPLAUSE)

… a church built by blacks seeking liberty, burned to the ground because its founders sought to end slavery only to rise up again, a phoenix from these ashes.

(APPLAUSE)

When there were laws banning all-black church gatherers, services happened here anyway in defiance of unjust laws. When there was a righteous movement to dismantle Jim Crow, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached from its pulpit, and marches began from its steps.

A sacred place, this church, not just for blacks, not just for Christians but for every American who cares about the steady expansion…

(APPLAUSE)

… of human rights and human dignity in this country, a foundation stone for liberty and justice for all.

That’s what the church meant.

(APPLAUSE)

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 We do not know whether the killer of Reverend Pinckney and eight others knew all of this history, but he surely sensed the meaning of his violent act. It was an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…

(APPLAUSE)

… an act that he imagined would incite fear and recrimination, violence and suspicion, an act that he presumed would deepen divisions that trace back to our nation’s original sin.

Oh, but God works in mysterious ways.

(APPLAUSE)

God has different ideas.

(APPLAUSE)

He didn’t know he was being used by God.

(APPLAUSE)

Blinded by hatred, the alleged killer would not see the grace surrounding Reverend Pinckney and that Bible study group, the light of love that shown as they opened the church doors and invited a stranger to join in their prayer circle.

The alleged killer could have never anticipated the way the families of the fallen would respond when they saw him in court in the midst of unspeakable grief, with words of forgiveness. He couldn’t imagine that.

(APPLAUSE)

The alleged killer could not imagine how the city of Charleston under the good and wise leadership of Mayor Riley, how the state of South Carolina, how the United States of America would respond not merely with revulsion at his evil acts, but with (inaudible) generosity. And more importantly, with a thoughtful introspection and self-examination that we so rarely see in public life.

Blinded by hatred, he failed to comprehend what Reverend Pinckney so well understood — the power of God’s grace.

(APPLAUSE)

This whole week, I’ve been reflecting on this idea of grace.

(APPLAUSE)

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Continue reading ‘The Eulogy’

21
Jun
15

Remembering Rev Pinckney and Rev Simmons

The Reverend Clementa Pinckney

by Gretty

I comment today because my heart is broken because of the tragedy at Mother Emmanuel AME.

I grew up in Emmanuel and it’s been a part of my family for generations. I’m so sad for the victims, their families, my Emmanuel family and my family in Charleston.

They are torn up and they all have some connection to the people that were killed. Although I’m on the other side of the country and can’t be there during this tragic time, my heart and soul is in Charleston.

Also, I want to share my story and brief moments with Rev Pinckney and Rev Simmons. I thought people should know how these two kind and thoughtful men helped me during a sorrow time of my life.

My mother passed away and her funeral was held at Emmanuel AME on June 1st. Before she passed, my mother was in & out of the hospital since March. When she first went into the hospital she was diagnosed with kidney failure. At that time the doctors wanted me to decide to either put my mother on dialysis or to place her in hospice. I wasn’t ready and couldn’t make that decision for her …..

Knowing my mother’s health had gotten worst, I became scared, upset and heartbroken. I didn’t know what to do. The next morning, I woke up thinking I should call my mother’s church and speak with the pastor; he would be able to help me.

I don’t know why I had that thought, but something in me said to call. I haven’t communicated with Emmanuel since I left Charleston over thirty years ago.

When I called that morning, I reached the church secretary. I told her that I needed to speak with the pastor about my mother who was a long time member and I gave her little background of why I was calling. She said she knew my mother and she was going to contact the pastor as soon as possible.

….  my phone rang and it was Rev Pinckney. He greeted me with his strong voice and said he was so sorry to hear about my mother. He had just visited her at the hospital the week before. He said that they had a good time talking and she made him laugh. He also went on to say that he understood my dilemma and asked was I ready to make the decision, did I talked to the doctors and family members?

I told him, I had not made a decision and yes I spoke to my family, but they left it up to me. I cried and told him I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t want to let my mother die, but I also didn’t want her to be in pain or suffer.

He told me it’s going to be alright and he prayed with me. He said overall, he couldn’t tell me what to do, it’s up to me and the family, but he would be there for me anytime day or night.

My family and I eventually decided that we couldn’t let my mother suffer any longer so we put her in hospice. When I arrived in Charleston I called Rev Pickney and told him we made a decision and it would be a matter of time. Again, he prayed with me and asked if I needed anything.

A week later she passed.

Rev Pinckney called me and told me Rev Simmons will be contacting me about the service. I met with Rev Simmons at Emmanuel. He greeted me with open arms and told me that he was there for me.

While planning the service, Rev Simmons knew I was too distraught, so he guided me through the process. There were a few times I called Rev Simmons for some reason or another and without hesitation; he took the time to talk.

Last week I received a voicemail from Rev. Simmons checking up on me. I called him back and we talked briefly. He asked will I be coming back to Charleston and I told him not anytime soon, but I was so grateful for his help and thanked him for everything.

The Saturday before my mother’s funeral we met with Rev Pinckney. It was a very busy day for him, he had a wedding to officiate and family events to attend, but he texted me to let me know he would be running late but would come to the church and he’ll meet with my cousin and I shortly.

We waited for only a few minutes. When we finally met face to face, he greeted us with a big smile and hug. He told me it was great to finally meet me and again asked if I needed anything.

We prayed and talked for a while about our decision, his eulogy and my mother.

While in his office, I noticed he had a picture of Rev Pinckney and Vice President Biden, I smiled to myself and realized we had a lot in common. I didn’t ask him about the picture because it wasn’t the place or time, but I assured myself that mom’s eulogy would be in good hands and it was.

He gave a beautiful eulogy and after the services, he greeted the family and I gave him a big hug and thanked him for everything. After the burial, although he was very busy, he stayed, chatted and laughed with us at the repass and that was the last time I saw him.

I will never forget Rev Pinckney and Rev Simmons.

They helped me get through a very difficult time in my life and I deeply appreciate it.

I know it is part of their jobs to be there for families when a church member passes away, but I didn’t perceive it that way.

The time they took with me and my family was genuine, sincere, generous and thoughtful.

God bless them!

Annie Simmons, wife of 24 years of Daniel Simmons Sr., holds a photo of her husband at her home in North Charleston

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Endless thanks to TOD ‘lurker’ Gretty for sharing this with us today, the kindness of Rev Pinckney and Rev Simmons shone through in her words.

May they and all the Charleston victims rest in peace.

And may Gretty’s mother rest in peace too.

19
Dec
13

Chat Away

Chat away – and don’t forget:

1:15: Rev Al Sharpton interviews the First Lady

wvon.com * iHeart

24
Aug
13

The March on Washington: The Speeches

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Continue reading ‘The March on Washington: The Speeches’

31
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

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Today (all times Eastern)

10:10: The President meets with the House Democratic Caucus, United States Capitol

11:25: Meets with the Senate Democratic Caucus, United States Capitol

(C-Span have live coverage listed for 11:15, but the meetings are closed so they’ll probably just show statements after)

2:10: President Obama welcomes the NCAA Champion UConn Huskies to honor the team and their 2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship

3:0 Congressional leaders join together for a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (C-Span 3)

4:30: The President and VP Biden meet with Secretary of the Treasury Lew

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Steve Benen: Economic growth exceeds expectations

Going into this morning, expectations for economic growth in the second quarter — April, May, and June of this year — were quite poor, making the actual GDP report a little more encouraging.

The U.S. economy grew at a 1.7% annual rate in the second quarter, buoyed by a solid gain in consumer spending and a sharp increase in business investment, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected growth to total 1.0%.

To be sure, 1.7% GDP growth is not, by any fair measure, good news. It tells us the economy is growing, but the recovery is at best sluggish. But given the news we were expecting, 1.7% is a relatively pleasant surprise, especially since the previous quarter’s growth was revised down to 1.1%.

More here

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Bloomberg: Economy in U.S. Expands More Than Forecast on Inventories

The economy in the U.S. grew more than projected in the second quarter, reflecting an unexpected pickup in inventory building as consumer spending cooled. Growth in the previous three months was revised down.

Gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced, rose at a 1.7 percent annualized rate, after a 1.1 percent gain the prior quarter, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 85 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 1 percent advance for last quarter. Consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, climbed 1.8 percent after increasing 2.3 percent.

Job gains and rising home prices are shoring up Americans’ confidence and lifting automobile sales and production, making it likely the U.S. will pick up once government spending cuts and tax increases pose less of a restraint. The report also showed inflation is falling further below the Federal Reserve’s goal….

More here

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Steve Benen: Reality gets in the way of far-right shutdown scheme

As a large group of Republicans push for a government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act, Norm Ornstein offered some compelling context. “You could say it’s a do-nothing Congress but that doesn’t do justice to it,” he said. “These guys are doing something, which is to destroy the economic fabric of the country by holding the functions of government hostage to a non-negotiable demand to eliminate Obamacare.”

That’s plainly true, though Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), arguably the main ringleader of the scheme, apparently believes destroying the economic fabric of the country by holding the functions of government hostage to a non-negotiable demand to eliminate Obamacare is a fine idea. As Sarah Kliff reported, however, there is a flaw in the right-wing premise…..

More here

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Steve Benen: ATF finally poised to move forward with real leadership

Ask conservative opponents of gun reforms what they’d like to see from law enforcement, and you’ll probably get a predictable answer: we should enforce the gun laws we already have, not approve new ones. For the last several years, however, that’s been easier said than done.

Enforcement of existing gun laws generally falls under the purview of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which has lacked a permanent, Senate-confirmed leader for the last seven years, thanks to opposition from Republicans and the National Rifle Association, both of which have reflexively balked at the very idea of an ATF chief.

With this in mind, we may be poised for a breakthrough this week….

More here

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ThinkProgress: Texas Lawmakers Are Too Busy Focusing On Abortion Restrictions To Get Anything Else Done

Just over an hour after Texas legislators concluded their second special session — an extra lawmaking session they used to enact sweeping abortion restrictions — Gov. Rick Perry (R) called them back for a third one. An outstanding highway funding bill is the only item on the agenda. “When it comes to transportation, the stakes facing our state could not be higher,” the governor noted in a statement.

Perry cited that same transportation measure as one of the reasons he believed it was necessary to call the first special legislative session at the beginning of June. But instead of focusing on getting that done, the governor demonstrated a different set of priorities — adding a slew of anti-abortion provisions that were unable to advance during the state’s regular session to the docket.

More here

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Bob Cesca: Bradley Manning Lives in a Nation of Laws, and, Hero or Not, He Broke 16 of Those Laws

While fleeing from the law in Hong Kong, Edward Snowden encouraged a return to “the rule of law rather than men.” In spite of his politically incorrect usage of “men” instead of “men and women,” he’s right. Generally speaking, individual citizens shouldn’t be held above the law — least of all a soldier named Pfc. Bradley Manning who stole 720,000 classified documents and handed them over to be be indiscriminately posted for public consumption by Julian Assange’s Wikileaks.

More here

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Two years ago today:

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden shake hands in the Oval Office following a phone call with House Speaker John Boehner securing a bipartisan deal to reduce the nation’s deficit and avoid default, Sunday, July 31, 2011. (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MoooOOOooorning!




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