Pennsylvania Lutheran Bishops Respond to Violence at Tree of Life Synagogue

A statement from the seven Lutheran bishops in Pennsylvania in response to the violent crimes at Tree of Life synagogue.

Our hearts are broken for the bereaved families of those who were killed on Saturday, October 27, for the congregations of Tree of Life, Dor Hadash, and New Light, and for the city of Pittsburgh.  Your loss is also our loss, for we belong to each other.

We are also painfully aware that the very name of our church, “Lutheran,” carries a memory of hurtful rhetoric and systemic violence against Jewish people because of the words of Martin Luther and the catastrophe of the holocaust in lands where Lutherans were numerous.

Our church has firmly rejected Luther’s invectives and the complicity of Lutheran churches in actions of great evil, most notably in the 1994 Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to the Jewish Community, saying:

“We recognize in anti-Semitism a contradiction and an affront to the Gospel, a violation of our hope and calling, and we pledge this church to oppose the deadly working of such bigotry, both within our own circles and in the society around us.”

In the spirit of that declaration, we call others in our state and our country who are associated in any way with anti-Semitic speech and action to repudiate those evils and to join with us in praying for and working for peace.


The Rev. Michael Rhyne, Bishop, Allegheny Synod, ELCA

The Rev. James Dunlop, Bishop, Lower Susquehanna Synod, ELCA

The Rev. Samuel R. Zeiser, Bishop, Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA

The Rev. Ralph E. Jones, Bishop, Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA

The Rev. Patricia A. Davenport, Bishop, Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA

The Rev. Kurt F. Kusserow, Bishop, Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA

The Rev. Barbara J. Collins, Bishop, Upper Susquehanna Synod, ELCA


Recent Comments

  • 11.1.18

    By: Phyllis Pelletier

    I feel as if I’m in grieving also. Whatever is done to others is done to us all. I love celebrating with others when good things happen, but lately it feels as if there is a lot less to celebrate. It seems that we hear about the evils in our midst, but we don’t hear about the good. In Florida, after the hurricane, a man returned to his home, but its was gone. He did however find his bar-be-cue grille and his freezer. He took the meat out of the freezer and lit the grille. He proceeded to cook meat for anyone who was hungry. He is a great example of GOD’S PEOPLE. Why do some reach out and others reach for guns, bombs, or whatever is at hand to wreak havoc? No matter what, I firmly believe that GOD’S PEOPLE outnumber the others. I also believe they always will.

  • 11.2.18

    By: sig arnesen

    Solid. We grieve with our neighbors and at the same time we self-examine ourselves.

Add Your Own Comment

Mail (will not be published) (required)