During the trial of Dylan Roof, St. Michael’s Church was fully engaged in four different ways. First, the connection center on Broad Street was turned into a respite center for officers covering the trial. We called it our LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) hospitality room. Second, we hosted lunches nearly everyday for the families of Mother Emanuel. St. Michael’s staff and volunteers came together to provide a safe respite in the Kinloch Room for Mother Emanuel. Third, The Rev. David Booman accompanied the families of Mother Emanuel into the courtroom. He was with them as they heard the horrible tragedy retold countless times in court day after day after day. Fourth and finally, we hosted a prayer service on the final day of the trial in the Chapel of the Belser Building. It was a beautiful sight, seeing these now friends worshiping under the joint musical leadership of our own organist Matthew Wilkinson and their organist Wayne Singleton. Many thanks to everyone who had a hand in this ministry outreach to Mother Emanuel, specifically The Rev. David Booman, Hallie Seibels (Chair of the Galatians Task Force on Race Relations), staff members Jeanine Branham, Angela Stanley, Arthur Bailey and countless volunteers! Our next step is to pray about what this means for our future with Pastor Eric Manning and his flock of Mother Emanuel.
It was a humbling honor and a privilege to be part of the Spiritual Support Team for the families of Mother Emanuel. First, I was blessed to be able to see firsthand our legal system operate at the very highest level. Second, I was blessed to spend time with and learn from an extraordinary team of SLED chaplains, counselors, and victim advocates. Finally, and most importantly, I was blessed to support the families of Mother Emanuel as they journeyed through a trying season with grace, honesty, and astounding faith. I will never forget their courageous testimonies, their heartfelt prayers, and their expressions of forgiveness and love and that have forever changed our nation and the world. ~David Booman