SC pastor in Pittsburgh after shooting to ‘show solidarity’
The Rev. Eric S.C. Manning, senior pastor at Mother Emanuel Church AME, was in Pittsburgh on Friday visiting with members of the Tree of Life Synagogue, where 11 people were killed last week after a gunman opened fire on worshipers.
Mother Emanuel was the site of a 2015 shooting when Dylann Roof, an avowed white supremacist, entered the Charleston, South Carolina, church during a bible study and killed nine black members.
Manning said he flew to Pittsburgh on Thursday night from Charlotte, North Carolina, to “show solidarity” with synagogue members. “A lot of times advice shared with the congregation of Mother Emanuel is the ministry of presence means so much, just if people can look up and see you, receive a hug, receive a handshake, receive a handkerchief that may be able to wipe away the tears that are falling down from their cheeks,” Manning told CNN’s “New Day” Friday. “That helps immensely and goes a long way.”
Manning said he would share words of wisdom based on his own experiences, but he is also willing to silently support the grieving community.
“We always look for the right words to say, and sometimes we just have to be silent and just stand there with them,” Manning said.
Manning said if he was to share advice with the Tree of Life congregation, it would be that time will help them move forward and tell the stories of their neighbors and loved ones.
On Sunday, Manning preached to his own congregation that “words matter,” encouraging congregants to treat one another with love.
He also used the sermon to criticize President Donald Trump’s response to the shooting, the Huntington Post reported. He compared Trump’s call for armed guards at the synagogue with President Barack Obama’s trip to Charleston, during which he sang “Amazing Grace” with the congregation after the shooting there.
“The tongue has the power of life and death,” Manning said Sunday. “Sometimes we don’t think that other people are paying attention, but they are indeed paying attention. They hear exactly what you’re saying, and sometimes people unfortunately utter certain thoughtless phrases that instead of lifting up a certain people, they begin to rally around a dog whistle.”
Stones are placed on the Stars of David bearing the names of the shooting victims at Tree of Life Synagogue.