Lutheran communion stands with church in U.S.

7 Jan 2021
We stand with you in prayer and solidarity, wrote general secretary Junge to presiding bishop Eaton. Photo: LWF/Johanan Celine Valeriano

We stand with you in prayer and solidarity, wrote general secretary Junge to presiding bishop Eaton. Photo: LWF/Johanan Celine Valeriano

LWF leader sends message of support to ELCA following storming of U.S. Capitol

(LWI) - The global Lutheran family stands with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) as it seeks to accompany, reconcile and work for justice and peace during this critical moment in the nation’s history.

In a letter to Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the ELCA, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) general secretary, Rev. Dr Martin Junge expressed his “shock and dismay” over the storming of the US Capitol on 6 January. The action by armed protesters left four people dead and temporarily disrupted the constitutional process to confirm the election of the next president, Mr Joe Biden and vice-president Ms Kamala Harris.

Wednesday’s events, Junge said, represented “the predictable culmination of what we have observed from afar.” We know from history and present situations “that words of incitement, division and hatred unleash violence,” he wrote, especially “if they are normalized and left unchallenged.”

People need to talk and listen to each other again. Broken relationships need to be mended. People need to trust again so that they can live and work together. People need to heal from their pain and their wounds.
LWF General Secretary, Rev. Dr Martin Junge

Reflecting on the “enormous pastoral and theological challenges” facing the ELCA at this time, the LWF leader noted that “broken relationships need to be mended,” trust needs to be rebuilt and “people need to heal from their pain and wounds.” Junge thanked Bishop Eaton for her “bold and consistent witness to justice, peace and reconciliation,” as the ELCA takes up the call “to accompany people and the US society at large in their journey of grief and healing.”

Speaking of the prophetic role of the church in working for justice and peace, Junge said recent events have shown that “democracy cannot be taken for granted” but instead it “needs to be constantly nurtured and fostered.” Recalling his own experience of military dictatorship in Chile, he spoke of the threats to “the vulnerable, the minorities, the marginalized,” when “the separation of powers is undermined, the rule of law attacked, and Human Rights altogether ignored.” Yet these are the people, he added that Jesus calls his disciples to place at the center of their attention and concern.

Offering prayers for all people in the U.S., the LWF leader assured Bishop Eaton that “you and your church are not facing this alone,” but as part of “a global communion of churches, united in altar and pulpit.” We are eager to receive guidance from you on how to stand even closer to you in the time ahead, he said, adding that the experiences of other churches can offer valuable resources, “equipping and supporting you for powerful witness” at this time.”