Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In the public statement I made June 18, the day after the shooting in Charleston, S.C., I called for a day of repentance and mourning. I would like that day for the ELCA to be this Sunday, June 28.
The worship staff of the churchwide organization has developed a “Service of Prayer in Remembrance” for your use this Sunday. I hope you will have an opportunity to use significant portions (if not all) of this liturgy this Sunday.
I also want to encourage you to share with your congregations, ideally from the pulpit during Sunday’s worship, the June 18 public statement. You might also wish to insert it into bulletins, duplicate it as a handout and/or post it on your congregation’s website.
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 address the sin of racism.
Your sister in Christ,
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America