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A Message From Bishop Yoos Marking the Fifth Anniversary of the Emanuel Nine shooting

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Yesterday at Deacon Katie Justice’s ordination service, the opening hymn was The Canticle of the Turning. The refrain reads, “My heart shall sing of the day you bring. Let the fires of your justice burn. Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near, and the world is about to turn.”

It seems these words speak powerfully about the kind of yearning for God’s justice that we see not only in this country through the “I Can’t Breathe” protests but also around the world as well. I believe we are witnessing a Kairos moment in history where people of different races, colors and cultures are walking together calling for change to systemic racism that has infected this country since its beginning.

This week will mark the fifth anniversary of the Emanuel Nine shooting and the powerful witness of God’s forgiveness and grace we saw through the families of these martyrs. This Wednesday, June 17, at 12:00 p.m., will also mark the first ELCA commemorative prayer service that uses prayer, litanies and laments written for this commemoration and are available for congregations to use. Bishop Samuel Green of the 7th District AME Church and I will cohost this virtual prayer service. The link is below.

This Saturday at 11:00 a.m., Bishop Green is inviting the faith community to meet at Allen University for a march of solidarity to the Capital. Bishop Jonathan Holston of the United Methodist Church, Bishop Andrew Waldo of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, and I along with other judicatory leaders will participate in this walk. Hopefully, many of you will be led to join in this walk as well.

As I started with the hymn, The Canticle of the Turning, so I will close with another hymn; In Christ There is No East or West. “In Christ there is no east or west, in him no south or north; but one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth.” In these turbulent times, may we ever reflect “this one great fellowship of love” in all our words and actions!

In Christ,
Bishop Herman Yoos

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