Remembering Rev Pinckney and Rev Simmons

The Reverend Clementa Pinckney

by Gretty

I comment today because my heart is broken because of the tragedy at Mother Emmanuel AME.

I grew up in Emmanuel and it’s been a part of my family for generations. I’m so sad for the victims, their families, my Emmanuel family and my family in Charleston.

They are torn up and they all have some connection to the people that were killed. Although I’m on the other side of the country and can’t be there during this tragic time, my heart and soul is in Charleston.

Also, I want to share my story and brief moments with Rev Pinckney and Rev Simmons. I thought people should know how these two kind and thoughtful men helped me during a sorrow time of my life.

My mother passed away and her funeral was held at Emmanuel AME on June 1st. Before she passed, my mother was in & out of the hospital since March. When she first went into the hospital she was diagnosed with kidney failure. At that time the doctors wanted me to decide to either put my mother on dialysis or to place her in hospice. I wasn’t ready and couldn’t make that decision for her …..

Knowing my mother’s health had gotten worst, I became scared, upset and heartbroken. I didn’t know what to do. The next morning, I woke up thinking I should call my mother’s church and speak with the pastor; he would be able to help me.

I don’t know why I had that thought, but something in me said to call. I haven’t communicated with Emmanuel since I left Charleston over thirty years ago.

When I called that morning, I reached the church secretary. I told her that I needed to speak with the pastor about my mother who was a long time member and I gave her little background of why I was calling. She said she knew my mother and she was going to contact the pastor as soon as possible.

….  my phone rang and it was Rev Pinckney. He greeted me with his strong voice and said he was so sorry to hear about my mother. He had just visited her at the hospital the week before. He said that they had a good time talking and she made him laugh. He also went on to say that he understood my dilemma and asked was I ready to make the decision, did I talked to the doctors and family members?

I told him, I had not made a decision and yes I spoke to my family, but they left it up to me. I cried and told him I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t want to let my mother die, but I also didn’t want her to be in pain or suffer.

He told me it’s going to be alright and he prayed with me. He said overall, he couldn’t tell me what to do, it’s up to me and the family, but he would be there for me anytime day or night.

My family and I eventually decided that we couldn’t let my mother suffer any longer so we put her in hospice. When I arrived in Charleston I called Rev Pickney and told him we made a decision and it would be a matter of time. Again, he prayed with me and asked if I needed anything.

A week later she passed.

Rev Pinckney called me and told me Rev Simmons will be contacting me about the service. I met with Rev Simmons at Emmanuel. He greeted me with open arms and told me that he was there for me.

While planning the service, Rev Simmons knew I was too distraught, so he guided me through the process. There were a few times I called Rev Simmons for some reason or another and without hesitation; he took the time to talk.

Last week I received a voicemail from Rev. Simmons checking up on me. I called him back and we talked briefly. He asked will I be coming back to Charleston and I told him not anytime soon, but I was so grateful for his help and thanked him for everything.

The Saturday before my mother’s funeral we met with Rev Pinckney. It was a very busy day for him, he had a wedding to officiate and family events to attend, but he texted me to let me know he would be running late but would come to the church and he’ll meet with my cousin and I shortly.

We waited for only a few minutes. When we finally met face to face, he greeted us with a big smile and hug. He told me it was great to finally meet me and again asked if I needed anything.

We prayed and talked for a while about our decision, his eulogy and my mother.

While in his office, I noticed he had a picture of Rev Pinckney and Vice President Biden, I smiled to myself and realized we had a lot in common. I didn’t ask him about the picture because it wasn’t the place or time, but I assured myself that mom’s eulogy would be in good hands and it was.

He gave a beautiful eulogy and after the services, he greeted the family and I gave him a big hug and thanked him for everything. After the burial, although he was very busy, he stayed, chatted and laughed with us at the repass and that was the last time I saw him.

I will never forget Rev Pinckney and Rev Simmons.

They helped me get through a very difficult time in my life and I deeply appreciate it.

I know it is part of their jobs to be there for families when a church member passes away, but I didn’t perceive it that way.

The time they took with me and my family was genuine, sincere, generous and thoughtful.

God bless them!

Annie Simmons, wife of 24 years of Daniel Simmons Sr., holds a photo of her husband at her home in North Charleston


Endless thanks to TOD ‘lurker’ Gretty for sharing this with us today, the kindness of Rev Pinckney and Rev Simmons shone through in her words.

May they and all the Charleston victims rest in peace.

And may Gretty’s mother rest in peace too.

73 Responses to “Remembering Rev Pinckney and Rev Simmons”

  1. 1 sabreen60
    June 21, 2015 at 10:19 pm


  2. June 21, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    I so hoped you’d feature this beautiful tribute, {{{{{{Chips}}}}}

    Thank you for doing so!!!

  3. June 21, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    Gretty, just can’t thank you enough for sharing this, an absolutely beautiful tribute to these two wonderful men. I’m just so sorry you had to meet them in such sad circumstances, again, may they and your mother rest in peace.

  4. June 21, 2015 at 10:23 pm

  5. 8 99ts
    June 21, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Good to read it again, thank you Chips and thank you Gretty

  6. 9 JER
    June 21, 2015 at 10:27 pm

  7. June 21, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Thank you Gretty for your testimony.

  8. 11 jacquelineoboomer
    June 21, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    First bigger count I’ve seen.

    • June 21, 2015 at 10:35 pm

      It’s at least 10K. Of course, #WhiteSupremacist #NEWSTAINERS will do everything they can to minimize especially given how many WHITE people are on that bridge.

      bbl …. time to prep sup ……

      • 13 jacquelineoboomer
        June 21, 2015 at 10:37 pm

        Enjoy your dinner, Bob.

        Luckily, the police departments usually officially size up the crowds … doesn’t mean the “news” yokels will use those figures, but we’ll see ’em.

  9. 14 GGail
    June 21, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Gretty, thank you for sharing this warm tribute to a couple of God’s Shepherds and your mother. May you continue to be blessed ❤️

  10. 15 jacquelineoboomer
    June 21, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    Timely reminder. Always.

  11. 16 Judith Fardig
    June 21, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    This is such a moving personal story. Thanks to Gretty for telling us about how the Reverend Pinckney and Simmons helped this family tenderly through a difficult time.

  12. 19 jacquelineoboomer
    June 21, 2015 at 10:36 pm

  13. June 21, 2015 at 10:38 pm

  14. 22 jacquelineoboomer
    June 21, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Thank you again, Gretty. Sleep well tonight, knowing you’ve enlightened others by your beautiful tribute.

  15. June 21, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    {{{ ❤ Gretty ❤ }}}

  16. 24 jacquelineoboomer
    June 21, 2015 at 10:57 pm
  17. June 21, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    Does anyone know if there is a site for donations to the church or the families? I spoke about the victims of this tragedy today and one of the church members suggested that we make a donation.

  18. 29 misspat
    June 21, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    I hope the fathers of TOD had a good day and got loads of presents. I got me a father’s day card that had a bow tie and a mouthstach. My daughter buys me candy every father’s day because she said I was both mother and father. So we honor single mothers as well as the single fathers that have to mother and father; they deserve honorable mentions. Step-father’s too, they should be honored and cherished too.

    So nine angels went home to heaven, so inspiring to see their legacy already taking shape; change is coming. Goodnight folks, I am always late but I am always here.

  19. 30 hopefruit2
    June 21, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    Glad to see Gretty’s moving tribute to Revs Pinckney & Simmons front-paged. Thanks Chips! 🙂

  20. 31 hopefruit2
    June 21, 2015 at 11:08 pm

  21. June 21, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    found this at POU:

    Nelba Marquez-Green, whose beloved precious daughter Ana was murdered in Sandy Hook wrote this on Facebook few days ago:

    April 2013.

    I was invited to fly down to Washington DC to strategize for gun responsibility and meet a bunch of really important legislators.

    We were all sitting around a table and the question was asked, “what’s the one thing that needs to change in our culture to reduce gun violence?”

    My answer? “The hearts of white men”. Everyone stared at me uncomfortably. I was the only person of color in the room. But, I was clear. Why? And why did I leave the “movement”?

    Because NO ONE wanted to talk about racism. NO ONE wanted to talk about privilege. NO ONE wanted to own that my child had just been murdered by a man raised in affluence, with access to medical care.

    You know what many did want to talk about ? “thugs” “ghettos” “gangbangers” “drug dealers” “single parents”. Code for people who look like me. But they didn’t know. My skin is light and my hair was straight and my husband was not present. They didn’t know some of the other families from newtown were equally appalled.

    NOT ONE was brave enough to stand up and even name the disease that is “hatred”. Fear of the other. Racism, discrimination.

    NOT ONE willing to discuss the increase of angry, young adult White male mass shooters.

    NOT ONE willing to talk about criminalizing parents for buying their ill children guns. Or holding them responsible for the crimes they commit. (Unless we were talking about poor, urban ones).

    NOT ONE wanted to talk about the importance of parental accountability in child rearing (unless we were talking about poor, urban folks).

    NOT ONE in any way, shape or form really wanting to talk about mental health from a prevention perspective…..from cradle to grave.

    NOT ONE wanting to discuss the changing landscape of America and the impact on the white male psyche.

    NOT ONE willing to talk about the need for love.

    I left the “movement” for many reasons. The brown family that lost their baby in sandy hook just didn’t fit in. Anywhere. And we weren’t talking about real issues.

    We were better off remembering our child on our own. We were better off “promoting love, community and connection for every child and family”.

    We were all victimized on 12/14. We were robbed of the unique, amazing contributions that those murdered people would have made in the world.

    We were all victims this week as well.

    I haven’t pledged since 12-14. I will pledge when we can really say we are “land of the free, home of the brave”. I didn’t see bravery. I saw a bunch of cowards in DC.

    I am so, so sorry Ana Grace. I am so, so sorry Isaiah. You deserved so much better than this.

  22. June 21, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    What beautiful men and what a beautiful story. Thank you for allowing us to hear it. Think of the peace they brought to so many people over the years they served. This is a quote I found from the Reverent Pinckney: “Loving God is never separate from loving our brothers and sisters,” Pinckney said. “It’s always the same.” He was called to ministry at age 13 and accepted his first pastorate at 18. Obviously he was a man who loved God, lived out that love throughout his life.

  23. 43 gretty
    June 21, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Oh my gosh! I didn’t expect you to feature my tribute, but thank you so much for sharing Chips. I tell this story because it helps me as I grieve and I also want everyone to know Rev Simmons and Rev Pinckney are true men of God.

    I was close to moving forward and this horrible tragedy at Emmanuel has me mourning again. With the help of my love ones and friends, I know that I’ll get through this.

    Thank you TOD for being a place of solace for strangers like myself. I appreciate all of your condolences and I promise, I’ll comment more often. 🙂

    • 44 desertflower
      June 21, 2015 at 11:38 pm

      Miss Chips is pretty wonderful like that:) It was so worthy of sharing…thank you again, Gretty. I have a feeling that your mom is looking down on you and smiling now…proud as you may. Hugs to you…time is a wonderful healer.

  24. 45 paulita
    June 21, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    Love you guys. I just have prayers and hugs and endless gratitude for this place. There is a special place in Heaven for you Chips.

  25. June 21, 2015 at 11:37 pm

  26. 51 desertflower
    June 21, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    Night all….

  27. 53 vcprezofan2
    June 22, 2015 at 12:12 am

    Here is another report of a church service that was ‘authentic’.

    Today I Went to Our Local AME Church
    by Steven D
    Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 04:15:50 PM EST

    // ……………………………………………………………..

    Indeed the service at Baber AME (after a musical prologue of some truly stirring gospel music and much welcoming and hand shaking by the church members) opened with a call and response reading, as follows verbatim:

    Leader: We were considered 3/5ths a human by the United States Constitution, and often dehumanized, segregated and treated like cattle.
    People: But we were made in your image. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful (Psalm 139)

    Leader: Middle Passage, Slavery, Jim Crow Laws, Poll Taxes, fire hoses, dogs, lynchings, the KKK, illegal choke holds, right wing rhetoric, racial profiling, mass incarceration and the list goes on and on and on.

    People: If it had not been for the Lord at our side they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us. Praise the Lord, who has not let us be swallowed by their teeth. (Psalm 124)

    Leader: From the outhouse to the statehouse, to the courthouse – and in 2008 – to the White House.

    People: For with God nothing shall be impossible. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

    Leader: Sing a song full of faith that the dark past has taught us, sing a song full of hope that the present has brought us;

    People: Facing the rising sun of the new day begun, let us march on till victory is won.

    Nothing could have stated the gulf between the white churches I grew up in as a child, and even the wonderful Unitarian Universalist faith that I practice now as an aging adult, than this opening message. Filled with the long history of oppression, I was struck immediately by the power of that beginning, and how important the message and community of African American churches have been and still are. Many times over the course of the service I was moved to tears, both of joy and sorrow. Joy from the sheer exuberance and grace and celebration of faith among these people who have endured so much hardship. Sorrow at the reason I finally landed in their midst on this Sunday morning – one more mass slaughter of African Americans at the hands of people who believe that a “white race” exists and that it deserves to reign supreme over all others, but most especially over the people who surrounded me today and embraced me with their love and kindness.

    This is not to say that their anger and frustration and righteous fury were repressed or denied. Rev. Simmons sermon was so powerful because he admitted that he had to ask for help to find the love in his heart for the murderer, Dylann Roof, and for the all the white people in America who have cost him and his congregation and black members of AME and other Black denominations across the country so much hurt, so much terror, so much ruination of so many lives. He stated flat out that his initial reaction was not one of love or to turn the other cheek, but instead a desire to curse Dylann Roof and all the other white racists who have killed and murdered African Americans for so long in this country. But he kept coming back to one message, from the text of Paul’s second letter to Timothy, which he repeated over and over.

    Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. 2 Timothy 4:2

    And what was the word? The word was love. Do not to fall into the trap of committing the sins of hate and anger and murder that your enemies commit. Do not let their hatred engender hatred in return. No eye for an eye. No revenge seeking. No killing of others as “payment” for the crimes of those who practice evil.

    Meet hatred with love, and love will find a way. ………………………………..

    …………………………….. ///


    • 54 99ts
      June 22, 2015 at 1:04 am

      Thanks vc – welcoming everyone into their church when one that they welcomed committed such a horrendous act. True christians in every possible way.

      • 55 vcprezofan2
        June 22, 2015 at 1:09 am

        Hi TS. This is not the same church in question – only a branch of it. Though if I am not mistaken the church in question was open to everyone for yesterday’s service too.

        • 56 99ts
          June 22, 2015 at 1:19 am

          I realise that it was a different church vc – but it was an AME Church – and they welcomed everyone – in spite of, or because of what happened – or much more likely, because they have always welcomed everyone.

  28. 57 Anna
    June 22, 2015 at 12:35 am

    gretty, thank you for the beautiful story about beautiful people. They are true Shepherds of God, not like those on TV instilling fear and begging for money. Like the President, they walk the walk. Extending heartfelt sympathy to you.

    • June 22, 2015 at 12:42 am

      So sorry! Could a blog tyrant delete this please? It wasn’t meant to be posted here and I don’t know how that happened! I must have tried to copy another url to post and it didn’t actually copy. 😦

  29. 60 jacquelineoboomer
    June 22, 2015 at 12:40 am

  30. June 22, 2015 at 12:55 am

    Ok, I’ve got to get to sleep for work.

    Campaign Donations Linked to White Supremacists

    The leader of a white supremacist group that has been linked to Dylann Roof, the suspect in the murder of nine African-Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church last week, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns, including those of 2016 presidential contenders such as Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Rand Paul, records show…


  31. 62 vcprezofan2
    June 22, 2015 at 12:56 am

    Yo, Dudette, are you around? Remember that Pony Express google doodle I was bragging about in April because I made it to 50? Well, it occurred to me to ‘google’ it, and lo and behold, you can still access it.

    Here you go – give it a couple of tries! 😀 😀

  32. 63 jacquelineoboomer
    June 22, 2015 at 1:06 am

    Charleston trivia (per Wiki):

    Mayor Joseph Riley (D) of Charleston, SC, is the one of the longest-serving mayors that is still living and in office, having served 10 terms starting on December 15, 1975.

    Also: When the Confederate battle flag was flown above the South Carolina statehouse, Riley organized a five-day protest walk from Charleston to Columbia to promote its removal. The march began on April 2, 2000, with about 600 marchers; the crowd dropped dramatically during the week but rebounded to about 400 marchers before a protest held on the statehouse grounds on April 6, 2000.

    South Carolina State House: The building’s grounds are home to several monuments. On the north side, leading to the main entry, is the Confederate Monument which includes a flagpole flying a traditional version of the Confederate battle flag. The monument was established after a controversy during the state’s 2000 presidential primary about the Confederate flag flying over the dome of the State House. The flag, originally placed over the dome in 1962 in observance of the American Civil War Centennial, was moved to its present location on July 1, 2000, after passage of the South Carolina Heritage Act of 2000. On the east side is the African-American History Monument, authorized by Act 457 of the General Assembly and unveiled on March 26, 2001.

    And that’s a wrap! Goodnight, TODville!

  33. June 22, 2015 at 1:36 am

    Well, well.. no surprise. GOP prez candidates getting money from Dylann Roof white supremacist group:

    • June 22, 2015 at 2:03 am

      Those racists people are part of the the Republican base.

    • 70 57andfemale
      June 22, 2015 at 6:10 am

      What is the surprise, Bill, is that it’s being covered. Watch the instant outrage on cue, and the MSM retreat from this vital story.

      These extreme views that used to be the “fringe” are now the rank and file GOP. They are so skillful at calling things like fair pay or clean environmental “extreme leftist views” and our side is lousy at calling them out for who they are. Sigh.

  34. June 22, 2015 at 1:51 am

    Will remain hopeful and incessantly prodding of those who have the cache to make a major difference ….


    good night TOD

  35. 73 Nena20409
    June 22, 2015 at 11:53 am

    I ❤ this post.
    Brava, Chips.
    Thank you Gretty.

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