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ELCA Commemoration of the Emanuel Nine — June 17

Jun 17, 2020

As part of the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, voting members adopted a resolution designating June 17 as a commemoration of the martyrdom of the Emanuel 9—the nine people shot and killed on June 17, 2015, during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. The ELCA resolution calls for the commemoration to be grounded in prayer, the development of litanies and worship around repentance from racism, and for deepening conversation with the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME Church) on ways of reconciliation and repentance on the matters of racism and white supremacy.

The resources referenced below are provided to help congregations mark this day. Many of these materials were recently produced for this first year of marking the commemoration; among the others are helpful ELCA websites and documents as well as resources from our ecumenical partners.

In this time of pandemic, many of the resources will need to be adapted for virtual worship, online conversation, or individual reflection and devotion. You are invited to use them in whatever ways are most helpful for your local context.

Our relationship to the shooter as well as two of the slain reminds us of both our complicity and our calling. Together we confess that we are in bondage to the sins of racism and white supremacy and, at the same time, we rejoice in the freedom that is ours in Christ Jesus who “has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us” (Ephesians 2:14). May God continue to guide us as we seek repentance and renewal, and racial justice and reconciliation among God’s precious children.

The ELCA Prayer Service for Commemoration of the Emanuel Nine will be available online at 12 p.m. Eastern time on June 17. Participants include ELCA leaders representing various leadership groups and ethnic-specific associations, and those who authored and organized the “Emanuel 9 Day of Repentance” resolution. Additionally, several ecumenical partners will participate, including the Rt. Rev. Adam J. Richardson Jr., senior bishop of the AME Church; Mr. Jim Winkler, general secretary and president of the National Council of Churches; and the Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, chair of the Conference of National Black Churches. The Rev. Herman Yoos, bishop of the South Carolina Synod, and the Rt. Rev. Samuel L. Green Sr., presiding bishop of the 7th Episcopal District of the AME Church, will co-host the service. The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop, will deliver the sermon.

The service will conclude with a call to action from three ELCA leaders, including the presiding bishop, Vice President William Horne and the Rev. Tracie Bartholomew, chair of the Conference of Bishops.

More information about the ELCA’s ecumenical relationship with the AME Church and resources to help congregations honor this day are available here.




Evangelical Lutheran Church in America