6/24/2015 4:00:00 PM
CHICAGO (ELCA) – In a public statement following a shooting that claimed the lives of nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston, S.C., the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), called for a "day of repentance and mourning." Local authorities called the killing racially motivated.
In a June 24 letter to ELCA rostered leaders, Eaton said she would like the day to take place Sunday, June 28. The worship staff of the ELCA churchwide organization developed a "Service of Prayer in Remembrance" for use among the nearly 10,000 congregations of the denomination.
"I hope you will have an opportunity to use significant portions (if not all) of this liturgy this Sunday," Eaton wrote. "I also want to encourage you to share with your congregations, ideally from the pulpit during Sunday's worship, the June 18 public statement.
"The members of this church, no matter where they are located, must think about, discuss and deal with this crucial issue of justice and compassion. It is the church's work.
"God's intention for all humanity is that we see the intrinsic worth, dignity and value of all people. Racism undermines the promise of community and fractures authentic relationships with one another. We need to talk and we need to listen, but we also need to act and speak out against inequity. Look with newly opened eyes at the many subtle and overt ways that racism infects and affects our communities. Above all pray – for insight, for forgiveness, for courage. I thank God for your faithful service to the gospel and God's work, and I thank you for your partnership in helping all of us to address the sin of racism."
Eaton's June 18 public statement is available at http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/long_season_of_disquiet_letter.pdf and "Service of Prayer for Remembrance" is at http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/A_Service_of_Prayer_in_Remembrance.pdf.
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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.8 million members in nearly 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.
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773-380-2956 or Melissa.RamirezCooper@elca.org
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