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SC Churches Receive Death Threats

At least three Black churches in South Carolina have received letters threatening violence against female pastors.

Society Hill AME Church, Reevesville AME Church and one other that was not identified received letters at their residence of peace.

The letter received by Pastor Mary Rhodes used Bible verses to warn her to stop preaching “or you and children will die.”

“Whoever wrote this letter has taken the time to find out who I am which means you may know my children, my grandchildren, and I have no clue who you are,” Rhodes told WIS-TV.

Pastor Valarie Bartley received a similar letter. Hers said that “the woman cannot be head of the man in church, home and the world.”

“A lot of people do not respect female pastors,” Rhodes explained. “Sexism in the church has been around for the longest time and it always gets, to my opinion, sort of hidden under the other issues that are there.”

The letters were signed by Prophet Harry Leon Fleming.

The Clarendon County Sheriff’s Office said they are taking the threats seriously.

“The Clarendon County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their quest in attempt to locate the person or persons responsible for distributing the letters and will have deputies posted at every church that received the letter,” a statement from Clarendon County Sheriff Randy Garrett said. “The citizens of Clarendon County will be able to worship in peace…”

Tragedy has struck a number of AME churches in South Carolina. Nine members of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston were killed by white supremacist Dylan Storm Roof in June.

Other churches have been set on fire. 

Check back for updates.