The Asian and Pacific Islander Association of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has issued a statement addressing the increase in violence directed toward Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. The ELCA Conference of Bishops affirmed the statement during their virtual meeting.
The statement follows:
The COVID-related surge in anti-Asian violence is physically and spiritually assaulting Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. This violence re-emerged from America’s historical and pervasive sin of racism. Asian American and Pacific Islander children and adults are facing assaults with racial slurs, bullying, spitting, physical injury, and even death. These are not new in communities where Peoples of Color live. These violent acts of racism have and are happening in cities and towns across the United States. The virus of racism cannot be allowed to run rampant.
We the Association of Asians and Pacific Islanders-ELCA call on our church to once again unequivocally denounce racism by taking immediate actions to defend, protect, and uphold the safety and lives of Asian Americans. 1 Corinthians 12 tells us that we are one body with many members. This member of the body is suffering. Let us bear this suffering together as one body.
We call on our church:
- to model the example of Jesus whose compassion was made visible by acts of love, culminating in embracing bodily harm to save us;
- to undergird and measurably advance its fight against racism and apathy, in all expressions of the church;
- to model how to tap into Jesus’s deep empathy as our collective power to stand against violence and promote the way of Jesus instead;
- to urge, facilitate, and invite all people in the ELCA’s sphere of influence, both within the church and beyond it, to unite in this crucial battle;
- to declare a Sunday during this Lenten season to lament in order to express solidarity, help in healing, and support the victims of violence against Asian Americans;
- to show how the ELCA will oppose racism, its death-dealing manifests, and proclaim ways to move forward as a church and society where all God’s people of color can be free to build world of true peace, equality, justice, and kindness with others.
In response to this statement, the ELCA has announced Sunday, March 21, 2021 as the day of lament, though worshiping communities may choose a different date as appropriate for their context. Worship resources are available on the ELCA website.
As March 21 is also the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Churches Beyond Borders, which includes the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Anglican Church of Canada, The Episcopal Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America released a statement with reflections and resources. Read More.