On March 24th, St Paul Lutheran Church joined with thousands of others in the March For Our Lives protest against gun violence and the public policies that permit the proliferation of weapons in our society. St Paul did not act alone. The conference of Lutheran bishops issued a statement at that time expressing its solidarity and support for the March For Our Lives, which can be found below.
ELCA Conference of Bishops issues statement of support
3/6/2018 4:15:00 PM
ITASCA – The ELCA Conference of Bishops has approved the following statement of support for the March for Our Lives on March 24.
STATEMENT IN SOLIDARITY WITH OUR CHILDREN AND YOUTH
Our children and youth are like a young Jeremiah prophesying to the people: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Recently, the students, faculty and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., experienced tragedy. Seventeen people – students and teachers – were killed by a 19-year-old shooter. In response, students have invited their teachers, families and allies around the nation to join with them for a March for Our Lives on March 24, 2018, in Washington, D.C.; calling our country into a deeper conversation about school safety and Second Amendment rights and responsibilities.
We recognize this incident is the latest in a long list of tragic shootings in our country and young people have been calling for protest and change for many years. Some of those young voices have been ignored or silenced because of racial and economic injustice. We cannot let that reality keep us from acting now.
Adopted in 1994, the ELCA social message on “Community Violence” remains sadly relevant today. The message speaks about the causes of violence as complex and pervasive, and of how violence breeds violence. In proclaiming the forgiveness and love of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the church addresses the root of violence while being committed to social actions that respond directly to violence and the people it affects.
From the social message: In the face of violence, God’s resolve for peace in human communities is unshakable. Deliberate acts to harm or kill innocent people violate God’s intention for human community. God’s commandment is “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13). In proclaiming God’s law, we declare that all people are accountable before God and the community to honor and respect the life God has given. Christians, as salt of the earth (Mt. 5:13) and light of the world (Mt. 5:14), are called to respond to violent crime in the restorative ways taught by Jesus (Mt. 5:38-39) and shown by his actions (Jn. 8:3-11). We are empowered to take up the challenge to prevent violence and to attack the complex causes that make violence so pervasive.
According to Lutheran theology, society is to be ruled by the civil use of the Law. Government is responsible under God for the protection of its citizens and the maintenance of justice and public order. As citizens in a democracy, we have the responsibility to join with others to hold government accountable for protecting society and ensuring justice for all, and to seek changes in policies and practices toward these ends.
That social message was amplified by a social statement, “For Peace in God’s World” (1995), which, as part of its adoption, offered concrete implementation actions, including: To call upon the members and leaders of this church to support our youth in their struggle to define their identity and vocation as present and future peacemakers….
The Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, in solidarity with our children and youth, and in response to our common baptismal vocation – living among God’s faithful people, hearing the word of God and sharing in the Lord’s Supper, proclaiming the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, serving all people following the example of Jesus, and striving for justice and peace in all the earth – offer our support, partnership and prayers for the March for Our Lives, its satellite city events, and our children and youth who are leading us forward as peacemakers.
The undersigned members have given their names in public and personal support of the statement.
The Rev. Thomas M. Aitken, Bishop | Northeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Abraham D. Allende, Bishop | Northeastern Ohio Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Jon Anderson, Bishop | Southwestern Minnesota Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Jim Arends, Bishop | La Crosse Area Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Tracie L. Bartholomew, Bishop | New Jersey Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Daniel G. Beaudoin, Bishop | Northwestern Ohio Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Wm. Chris Boerger, Secretary | Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Rev. Terry A. Brandt, Bishop | North Dakota Synod, ELCA
The Rev. David H. Brauer-Rieke, Bishop | Oregon Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Claire Schenot Burkat, Bishop | Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Michael Burk, Bishop | Southeastern Iowa Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Jeffrey Clements, Bishop | Northern Illinois Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Barbara J. Collins, Bishop | Upper Susquehanna Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Jessica Crist, Bishop | Montana Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Steven H. Delzer, Bishop | Southeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Suzanne Darcy Dillahunt, Bishop | Southern Ohio Synod, ELCA
The Rev. James Dunlop, Bishop | Lower Susquehanna Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop | Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Rev. Paul D. Erickson, Bishop | Greater Milwaukee Synod, ELCA
The Rev. R. Guy Erwin, Bishop | Southwest California Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Katherine Finegan, Bishop | Northern Great Lakes Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Mary Froiland, Bishop | South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, ELCA
The Rev. William O. Gafkjen, Bishop | Indiana-Kentucky Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Mike Girlinghouse, Bishop | Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod, ELCA
The Rev. William Gohl Jr., Bishop | Delaware-Maryland Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Jim Gonia, Bishop | Rocky Mountain Synod, ELCA
The Rev. H. Julian Gordy, Bishop | Southeastern Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Richard H. Graham, Bishop | Metropolitan Washington, DC Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Erik K. J. Gronberg, Bishop | Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Roger Gustafson, Bishop | Central States Synod, ELCA
The Rev. James Hazelwood, Bishop | New England Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Mark W. Holmerud, Bishop | Sierra Pacific Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Rick Hoyme, Bishop | Northwest Synod of Wisconsin, ELCA
The Rev. Robert F. Humphrey, Bishop | Virginia Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Rick Jaech, Bishop | Southwestern Washington Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Ralph E. Jones, Bishop | Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Donald Kreiss, Bishop | Southeast Michigan Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Kristen E.M. Kuempel, Bishop | Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Wilma Kucharek, Bishop | Slovak Zion Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Kurt F. Kusserow, Bishop | Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Felipe Lozada-Montanez, Bishop | Caribbean Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Patricia Lull, Bishop | St. Paul Area Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Brian Maas, Bishop | Nebraska Synod, ELCA
The Rev. John S. Macholz, Bishop | Upstate New York Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Gerald L. Mansholt | East Central Synod of Wisconsin
The Rev. Donald. J. McCoid, Interim Bishop | Metropolitan New York Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Wayne N. Miller, Bishop | Metropolitan Chicago Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Rodger G. Prois, Bishop | Western Iowa Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Michael Rinehart, Bishop | Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Michael L. Rhyne, Bishop | Allegheny Synod, ELCA
The Rev. S. John Roth, Bishop | Central/Southern Illinois Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Craig Alan Satterlee, Bishop | North/West Lower Michigan Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Timothy M. Smith, Bishop | North Carolina Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Pedro Suarez, Bishop | Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Ann Svennungsen, Bishop | Minneapolis Area Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Andrew A. Taylor, Bishop | Pacifica Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Ray Tiemann, Bishop | Southwestern Texas Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Kirby Unti, Bishop | Northwest Washington Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Steven L. Ullestad, Bishop | Northeastern Iowa Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Shelley R. Wickstrom, Bishop | Alaska Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Lawrence R. Wohlrabe, Bishop | Northwestern Minnesota Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Herman Yoos, Bishop | South Carolina Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Samuel R. Zeiser, Bishop | Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA
The Rev. David B. Zellmer, Bishop | South Dakota Synod, ELCA
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