The Rev. Michael Sullivan of Greenville, S.C., surely has a newfound appreciation for the old proverb that the Lord works in mysterious ways, after his small, predominately Black church received a donation and apology letter from a self-described reformed racist.
Who sent the anonymous letter and check for $2,000 to Nicholtown Presbyterian Church remains a mystery, according to local TV station WSPA.
But amid several racially charged incidents that have made national headlines, including a noose found at Washington’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and a racial slur spray-painted on NBA star LeBron James’ Los Angeles house, the gesture seems to come at the right time.
In the typed letter dated May 13, a copy of which was posted on The Greenville News’ website, the mysterious writer said he/she was primarily motivated by two reasons: to atone for past thoughts and words as a “terrible racist” and as proof that Jesus and the Holy Spirit perform miracles.
“I send this donation as a heartfelt apology to the African-American community, as a sign of God’s love for you, and as a sign of my love for you as well,” the letter stated.
Sullivan told WSPA that he was blown away by the act.
“When I read the letter, I said ‘Wow … Look at how God works,’” Sullivan said.
“I don’t care whether we are talking Black or white [or] whether we are talking about Christian or Islamic: If we can hear the heart of this man as being a heart that represents all of us, I think all of us can become better.”
The church did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Greenville News reported that the church, which has been around since 1951, has 25 members and was in the process of seeking $1,400 to fund transportation for youths to attend church on Sundays.
Sullivan told WSPA that the church intended to use the donation for youth outreach and to defray operational costs in order to make room for new ministries.
“I’m praying that what we will do is use it for some kind of outreach manner,” the pastor said.