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Note to the synod: Prayers for Charlottesville, VA

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The Church has a distinct voice in condemning hatred, racism, bigotry and violence that rage around us. On Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia religious leaders from various traditions stood with those who are victimized by bigotry, racism and hatred to provide a witness to the Gospel in the name of the God of mercy, grace, peace, justice and love that we name in Jesus Christ. We stand with them, pray with them in our homes and congregations. Bishop Bill Gafkjen, on behalf of the ELCA Conference of Bishops, offered the following prayer which was posted on the Southern Ohio Synod Facebook page.

Just and merciful God, we give you thanks for our sisters and brothers – bishops, pastors, deacons, people of God – who this Saturday walk the way of the cross in Charlottesville, Va. On this day and in that place, they join other courageous and faithful people across time and space to stand against bigotry, hatred and violence; to stand with those who are intended victims; and to stand for justice and mercy, peace and equality for all people. 

We stand with them in prayer, asking you to empower them, protect them, and use their witness as a hopeful sign of your resurrection reign afoot in your beloved and troubled world. By your might, break the bondage that bigotry, hatred and violence impose on their victims and their perpetrators. May your kingdom come on earth as in heaven. And, we pray, empower us in our own communities to follow their lead as fellow servants to your dream of a community in which all people and their gifts are welcomed and honored, cherished and celebrated as beloved children of a just, merciful and loving God; through Jesus Christ crucified and risen for the life of the world. Amen

We cannot remain silent on issues of racism, hatred, bigotry and violence. To be Christ’s presence in the world is our call. I invite you to use the above prayer, modify or pray your own, but don’t be silent. Our world is watching how we respond.


Together in Christ’s Name,

Bishop Suzanne Darcy Dillahunt

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