A Message from Katy Grindberg, Assistant to the Bishop

A Message from Katy Grindberg, Assistant to the Bishop

Today, June 17, marks a somber day in our history and a new day of remembrance in our church. Five years ago an avowed white supremacist walked into a Bible Study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. He was welcomed and included, and after spending time in scripture study and prayer with them, he pulled a gun, opened fire, and murdered nine beloved children of God – Clementa C. Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Lee Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson.

We, in the ELCA have a particular connection to this tragic event – the shooter was raised in an ELCA congregation and two of those who were murdered were educated at an ELCA seminary. Last summer, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly designated June 17 as Commemoration of the Emanuel Nine on our church calendar. We are all invited to times of reflection, penitence and prayer – and information for two services being offered are below. If you are not able to join them live, please make time to watch the recordings at a future time.

And we need to do more. We need to speak up. We need to learn. We need to listen. We need to be clearly and persistently committed to the work of anti-racism and identifying and dismantling white privilege and systemic racism – and we need to do this work in our church and as a church. We need to be teaching, learning, praying, preaching, talking about these things and opening ourselves to the work that will change each of us individually and as congregations, ministries, and communities. All people are beloved of God – our mandate and invitation is to work toward a world where everyone experiences the same levels of justice, respect, and regard.

Pr. Katy Grindberg