The month of June brought NCS a special treat – not only for its members but spouses and special guests as well. We offered a special screening locally of the documentary film, Emanuel, winner of the Best Documentary Award at the 2018 Bentonville Film Festival. Producer and Pastor Dimas Salaberrios was our special guest in attendance for the screening.
While the title of the film may not ring any bells, a synopsis of the movie will.
On June 17th, 2015, 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Roof walked into a bible study and murdered nine African Americans during their closing prayer. Featuring never before seen interviews with survivors and family members of the victims, "Emanuel" tells the painful but hopeful story of a murder that shocked the nation, and an act of forgiveness that helped it heal.
Approximately 90 attendees sat riveted for 70 minutes as the story unfolded. Afterwards, Pastor Salaberrios spoke to the group and his involvement in the making of the powerful film. Salaberrios, a pastor who preaches in the Bronx, had immediately brought his family to Charleston to provide support to local ministers and families as soon as he heard about the tragic shooting. He has been connected to the Emanuel AME Zion community ever since.
The film made an impact on everyone who saw it – and here is what a couple of our members and guests had to say after the screening:
It was all so senseless.
“What I didn’t expect was the way we were taken so deeply into the lives of the families affected by this tragedy. Seeing how each of the nine deaths impacted the dynamics of the families they were a part of was so well communicated, and I could feel their pain and sympathize with their loss. It was all so senseless. Their lives would now be forever changed over an issue that has plagued this country for far too long. The fact that these murders were committed based solely on the color of someone's skin continues to be a narrative that will never make sense to me.”
“The most powerful thing for me was to witness how each family member of the nine victims faced Dylann Roof in the courtroom, shared how his senseless act would change their lives forever and then offered him forgiveness for the murders. Despite their deep loss, several of these precious people went on to explain how Dylann could find forgiveness for what he had done through a relationship with Jesus Christ. It was a stunning demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Recommend movie to others: Yes
“I already have and will keep sharing the message of this story. We need to continue to face the racial issue amongst us and help dispel the evil behind generations of division between races. Movies like Emanuel show the darkness of the heart of man and how the power of a relationship with Jesus Christ is our only hope.”
-Annette Menconi, wife of Larry Menconi with NCS Brookberry Farm
We receive His unmerited favor.
“In the documentary, I was astonished to see the police officer holster his weapon as he approached the armed suspect in the vehicle. I was also surprised to discover that after the suspect, Dylann Roof, was arrested he was taken to get something to eat before going to jail. As an African-American male, it left me perplexed about the inequities still prevalent in our society. As I reflect on the past several years’ news stories involving police and the shooting of minority suspects, I can’t help but wonder if the officer’s actions would have been the same if Roof was a minority.”
“I think the act of forgiveness by the families of the victims glorified God. Their ability to forgive made me think of God’s grace and mercy. God extends us grace daily, though we are unworthy. We receive His unmerited favor. God shows his mercy toward us by not condemning or punishing us for our many sins. The responses of the victims’ families illustrated real-life examples of grace and mercy.”
Recommend movie to others: Yes
“It is a powerful testimony of God’s love. I believe it shows us how His love can heal our hearts and how we can do and withstand all things through Christ who strengthens us. The documentary shows how we should respond as Christians when we are offended by others. So often we isolate ourselves based on our differences; different skin color, socio-economic groups, political affiliations, etc. These differences are based on worldly things that cause separation, anger, and dislike. However; if we focus on the teachings of Christ, we see man as our brother. We are reminded daily of the power of our Father’s love which can over power any obstacle seeking to divide us.
-Guy Morgan, NCS East Member