Dear friends,

ChapelHillVigilI am deeply saddened by the tragic news of the loss of three students in North Carolina. Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were pillars within their communities, supporting and advocating for social justice issues.

This act of violence weighs heavy on my heart. As I try to digest the news, I remember that yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, after 27 years of incarceration. Following his release, Mandela spoke to the South African people saying “The need to unite the people of our country is as important a task now as it always has been.” So let us join together as one.

Jesus’ greatest commandment was to love God and love neighbor. Our brothers and sisters within the Muslim community are our neighbors. I ask that you join me in praying for the families and friends of these three students, and let us continue to work together to create welcoming, accepting communities for all people.


Michael Rinehart