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ELCA Presiding Bishop Marks Sept 11 With Churchwide Letter

''With you we are joined in our resolve to build a world of justice and peace. With you we are at the table of the Eucharist where Christ reconciles us and sends us into the world with the ministry an
( [email protected] ) Sep 10, 2004 09:03 PM EDT

According to a recent survey by the Associated Press, the Sept. 11 terrorist attack left an indelible mark on the hearts of 98% of Americans nationwide. With only one day remaining before the third year anniversary of the deplorable attack, the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) sent a letter of comfort to those still recovering from the unforgettable memories.

"As we stop to remember the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, we are mindful of those for whom the painful realities of that horrific day continue," Bishop Mark S. Hanson wrote. "We remember in prayer this day the countless family and friends who mourn the deaths of loved ones; those whom the trauma revisits in terrifying dreams; those who still experience the haunting silences, the fear of separation, the absence of trust; and those who live with the loss of income and the disintegration of community. We pray for those who know the isolation of being suspect simply by virtue of their ethnicity.”

Hanson is the head of the 5-million member ELCA, as well as the president of the 66-million member Lutheran World Federation (LWF). In lieu of the Lutherans who have been mourning since 9/11/2003, Hanson said they are “joined in our resolve to build a world of justice and peace.”

During the recent annual assembly of the LWF, Hanson and 70 other international Lutheran leaders released a document calling for international peace and an end to terrorism.

Ultimately, Hanson’s Sept 10 letter reflected the sentiments written in the LWF resolution: “May our merciful and loving God continue to bless you with strength and courage in these days.”

"With gratitude to God, we remember you who continue to proclaim the Gospel, who work to heal fragile lives, and who have been 'called the repairers of the breach, the restorers of streets to live in,'" Hanson wrote.

The following is the entire text of the letter, released on Sept. 10, 2004 by the ELCA:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we stop to remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we are mindful of those for whom the painful realities of that horrific day continue. We remember in prayer this day the countless family and friends who mourn the deaths of loved ones; those for whom the trauma revisits in terrifying dreams; those who still experience the haunting silences, the fear of separation, the absence of trust; and those who live with the loss of income and the disintegration of community. We pray for those who know the isolation of being suspect simply by virtue of their ethnicity.

With gratitude to God, we remember you who continue to proclaim the Gospel, who work to heal fragile lives, and who have been “called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in” (Isaiah 58:12b). With you we are joined in our resolve to build a world of justice and peace. With you we are at the table of the Eucharist where Christ reconciles us and sends us into the world with the ministry and message of reconciliation, healing, and hope.

May our merciful and loving God continue to bless you with strength and courage in these days.

Living in God’s amazing grace,

Mark S. Hanson

Presiding Bishop