SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 19, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), led by President Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, is asking all individuals ? regardless of race, age or religion ? to join in honoring the nine individuals who were martyred for their faith and race at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, South Carolina on July 17.
"The NHCLC joins together with the entire Body of Christ in mourning for the nine precious lives that were taken Wednesday at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by a deranged killer," said NHCLC Board Member Dr. Joseph Castleberry, president of Northwest University. "We express our deepest sympathy with the African-American community, and we call all Christians to recognize that these brothers and sisters in Christ were murdered not only for their racial identity, but for their Christian identity?slaughtered at church during a prayer meeting.
"As prayer represents the primary locus of spiritual warfare for Christians, we recognize that they have died as martyrs, victims of a demonic attack against God's army of peace in the world," Castleberry continued. "An attack on them is an attack on us all. And so, we encourage all Christians to pick up the torch of prayer which has fallen from the hands of The Charleston Martyrs and pray harder still for love, reconciliation, peace, repentance and revival in America."
NHCLC serves more than 40,000 U.S. churches through chapters around the nation. Just this month, the NHCLC Charleston Chapter was formed. NHCLC leadership has reached out to the AME Church to offer support and is awaiting a response on how the organization can serve them in their time of loss.
"I believe the time is now for the Church to come together and pray for our city," said Pastor Luciano Soto, director of the NHCLC Charleston chapter. "Now more than ever, the Charleston community needs to hear a unified body of clergy speak words of peace and comfort. We need to pray that during this time of grief, that God will bring the peace that only He could to our city."
NHCLC is the world's largest Hispanic Christian organization. It serves as a representative voice for the more than 100 million Hispanic Evangelicals assembled in over 40,000 U.S. churches and another 500,000 congregations spread throughout the Spanish-speaking diaspora, served through its international arm, CONEL.
The organization seeks to reconcile Evangelist Billy Graham's message of salvation through Christ with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s march of prophetic activism. A bipartisan organization, NHCLC/CONEL follows the agenda of the Lamb, not the donkey or the elephant, and emphasizes "7 Directives" of Life, Family, Compassionate Evangelism, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth.
For additional information, visit http://www.nhclc.org.
SOURCE National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference