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LTSS/LRU mourns the loss of two alumni in Charleston tragedy
LTSS/LRU mourns the loss of two alumni in Charleston tragedy

The communities of LTSS and LRU grieve the loss of nine brothers and sisters in Christ, including two of their own.

The communities of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) and Lenoir-Rhyne University (LRU) grieve the loss of nine brothers and sisters in Christ whose lives were taken late Wednesday night at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. LTSS and LRU extend their prayers and deepest condolences to the people of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, The Seventh Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the city of Charleston, and all who grieve.It is with sadness and heavy hearts that LTSS/LRU learns that among the victims are two fine alumni, The Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney and The Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Simmons, Sr.The Rev. Pinckney graduated from LTSS in 2008 with a Master of Divinity degree and served as Senior Pastor of Emanuel AME Church. Dr. Susan McArver, Professor of Church History and Educational Ministry, shared, "Clementa came to us (LTSS) as a student while simultaneously serving as a Representative (and later a Senator) in the South Carolina Legislature, as well as pastor of an AME church in rural Jasper County. While at LTSS, he and his wife Jennifer welcomed their first born. Clementa balanced all of these roles, as a legislator, pastor, student, husband, and father, with grace and wisdom well beyond his years." Clementa was highly respected among faculty, staff, and students. As such a respected and loved individual, he was invited to give the commencement address for the graduating class of 2010.The Rev. Simmons graduated from LTSS in 1988 with a Master of Divinity degree and served on the ministerial staff of Emanuel AME Church. He was married to Ernestine and was an active participant in worship and bible study at the church.We give thanks to God for the lives and ministry of Pastors Pinckney and Simmons. In honor of these exceptional individuals who dedicated their lives in service to God, the flags at all campuses of LRU will hang at half mast.The Rev. Dr. Clay Schmit, Provost of The School of Theology of LRU offers these words, "Our prayers go forth, joining those of millions around our nation, for the Pinckney and Simmons families, their congregation, the city of Charleston, and for all who mourn the loss of these nine children of God. May God grant them peace. May God bring justice. May God use us to bring about a reconciled community where such hatred is replaced with love and peace."Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC, is an institution of Lenoir-Rhyne University.