Unity Inspires 'We're Better Together' Service on Sept. 17

Remembrance to honor victims of Charleston, S.C., church shooting

DALLAS (SMU) – Three months to the day after a deadly church shooting in South Carolina, Perkins Chapel will host a remembrance service Thursday, Sept. 17, dedicated to the nine victims of that tragedy.

Jonathan Allen, a Master of Theological Studies student at Perkins School of Theology, will preside over the service, which also will include a meditative dance to the scripture text – Mark 4:16-20 – the parishioners were studying at the time of the shooting.

On the night of June 17, nine people were shot and killed while attending a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, S.C. Emanuel AME is one of the nation’s oldest black churches and has long been a church at the epicenter of its community’s civil rights movement.

“The theme of this service is ‘We’re Better Together’ and will showcase how we all can thrive – as churches and as a society – when we work in harmony,” Allen said. “We want to reflect on and remember the lives of those we lost that night while, at the same time, focus on what we all can do to promote unity and address concerns of injustice moving forward.”


Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Pastoral Music (June 2016) as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.