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Emanuel 9 Feast Day

Resolution to memorialize June 17th as a Feast Day of Repentance from Racism

On June 17th, 2015,

A 21-year old white supremacist attended a prayer service and Bible Study at the historic African-American church, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

He was warmly received by the group.

Together, they all participated in Bible Study for 40 minutes.

He waited for them to begin praying.

Then he raised a gun, espoused racist rhetoric and epithets, and for 6 horrific minutes, fired at all the participants, killing 9 beautiful brothers and sisters in Christ.

They are forever remembered as the Emanuel Nine.

We have work to do.

The shooter was baptized in the ELCA and was on the rolls of an ELCA congregation. Two of his victims, Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons Sr., and Rev. Clementa Pinckney, were graduates of the Lutheran Theology Southern Seminary, one of 8 ELCA seminaries.


A Permanent Emanuel Nine Feast Day Would Include:

Repentance

A permanent day of repentance would include saying aloud how we have committed racist thoughts and deeds, including inaction.

Prayer

This Feast Day will be grounded in prayer, as the Emanuel 9 were murdered while in prayer.

Remembrance

The names of the Emanual 9 will be added to ELCA publications to venerate their martyrdom and lead us to repentance.



“A Feast Day of Repentance from racism reconciles us with our God. It calls us to highlight voices of color in all our ministries. It fosters active and intentional listening to those voices. In these actions we do the work the Gospel.” #emanuel9feastday

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After that shooting, for a few hours, we came together–not as black and white–as human beings. There was a kind of empathy and unity that came about from that tragedy that we have not seen in this state since the Civil War. But how long does it last? I suspect that it’s fading as we speak. Now that the tragedy is over, the status quo is hardening and legislators are making it even harder to get rid of the Confederate Flag. People sink back into their old ideologies.

Dr. Leo Twiggs, Requiem for Mother Emanuel

” Their forgiveness is also an act of resistance to the attempts to lay the blame for this horror at the feet of one man. If America is serious about this moment, we cannot just cry ceremonial tears while at the same time refusing to support the martyred Reverend and his parishioners’ stalwart fight against the racism that gave birth to the crime. “

Reverend Dr. William Barber

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“I am tired of waiting for the ELCA as a collective body to take meaningful actions on race. Our congregations need to do more. We need to do more. The sin of white supremacy must be called out and dismantled at every opportunity.”

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The ELCA passed its resolution “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture when I was a child. Since then, the church has continued to struggle with deeply ingrained racism on an institutional level and within the individual congregations whose members continue to foster stereotypes and support policies that actively hurt people of color. We can see this most clearly in the actions of the self-proclaimed white supremacist who committed murder at Emanuel AME church on June 17, 2015. The shooter was a baptized Christian and a member of a Lutheran Church in Columbia, Virginia. As fellow Lutherans, we are guilty in fostering a culture that allowed seeds of white supremacy to take root in this man, and we have an obligation to our brothers and sisters in Christ in the AME church to atone for our collective sins.

I am now in my 30s, and I am tired of waiting for the ELCA as a collective body to take meaningful actions on race. Our congregations need to do more. We need to do more. The sin of white supremacy must be called out and dismantled at every opportunity.

R.M. Rochester NY, Upstate New York Synod

As a pastor I try to use this event for calling attention to my racism and the racism inherent in our society. A formal day would give me further reason to continue to lift up our sin, and repentance.

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As a classmate of Rev. Clem Pinckney, this tragedy continues to disturb and afflict me. As a pastor I try to use this event for calling attention to my racism and the racism inherent in our society. A formal day would give me further reason to continue to lift up our sin, and repentance.

K.B. Aberdeen, SD, South Dakota Synod