From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
ELCA Expresses Shock, Sorrow at Apparent Terrorist Attacks
News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Tue, 11 Sep 2001 16:27:42 -0500
ELCA NEWS SERVICE
September 11, 2001
ELCA EXPRESSES SHOCK, SORROW AT APPARENT TERRORIST ATTACKS
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Rev. H. George Anderson, presiding bishop of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), expressed "shock" at
today's apparent acts of terrorism in at least three locations in the
eastern United States. ELCA congregations, pastors and members "are
praying for the comfort of all people affected by these incredible
acts," he said in a statement.
Anderson also urged that people be cautious in their response to
the disasters in New York, Washington, D.C., and western Pennsylvania.
"As Christians, it is important that we behave responsibly at this time
and not act harshly," he said. "We offer prayers for our leaders, who
must reassure a shaken nation and investigate today's terrible deeds."
"I join with all of you in mourning these enormous human
tragedies," he said. "We pray that those who have been affected most
will find comfort and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our first thoughts
should be to respond to our fellow human beings with love and
compassion. In the Psalms, we find these words: 'God is our refuge and
strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear.'"
Anderson said many ELCA congregations are open for prayer and many
were planning to hold special services. At the ELCA churchwide offices
here, staff packed the chapel for a special mid-day prayer service.
METROPOLITAN NEW YORK SYNOD STAFF SAFE
In New York, the Rev. Stephen P. Bouman, bishop of the ELCA
Metropolitan New York Synod, who was in his office in upper Manhattan,
said he and the staff watched as the World Trade Center buildings were
hit by jetliners and collapsed.
"We watched both building disappear in a cloud of smoke," he said.
"It was the scariest thing I've ever seen."
Bouman said he wanted to assure ELCA members that the synod staff
in New York is safe. Each had made contact with most of their family
members who may have been in the World Trade Center area. No ELCA
congregations are located in the immediate area where the World Trade
Center buildings stood, he said.
"People were calling schools this morning," Bouman said,
recounting the morning's events. "People are upset, and kids are
crying." The city is "locked down," he said, adding that
transportation in Manhattan had been disrupted.
The Metropolitan New York Synod offices are located in an
ecumenical center in New York. A prayer vigil there was held, led by
PENTAGON ATTACK WILL LIKELY AFFECT ELCA MEMBERS, BISHOP SAID
The Rev. Theodore F. Schneider, bishop of the ELCA Metropolitan
Washington, D.C., Synod, began his day in Altoona, Pa., where he was
attending a meeting of regional ELCA bishops. Schneider left by car
this morning to return to Washington, D.C., to attend an afternoon
memorial service for the Rev. James D. Ford, the former U.S. House
chaplain who died last month. The service was cancelled.
Schneider said that while no ELCA congregations are located near
the Pentagon, many ELCA members work there, Schneider said. "Many
parishioners may be involved in what has happened," he said, noting that
federal employees live in the District of Columbia, Maryland and
Virginia. There are many rumors circulating in the nation's capital,
At this point, Schneider said he will pray and make contact with
pastors who may have members directly affected by the disaster.
LUTHERAN DISASTER RESPONSE ACTS
Lutheran Disaster Response is providing counseling and shelter to
people who have been affected by the apparent terrorist attacks.
Lutheran Disaster Response is a ministry of the ELCA and the Lutheran
Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS).
"We are asking our congregations to be open for shelter and
prayer, and asking our pastors and staff members to be available for
prayer and counseling," said the Rev. Gilbert B. Furst, director for
Lutheran Disaster Response, ELCA Division for Church in Society.
"At the moment communication is next to impossible with our [ELCA]
congregations and synods, [LCMS] districts and [Lutheran] social
ministry organizations [in the affected areas]. They will all be part
of our response. We are preparing copies of materials to help children
who have been traumatized by these attacks," Furst said.
CHURCH WORLD SERVICE COORDINATES RESPONSE BY MANY CHURCHES
Members of the Church World Service (CWS) Emergency Response
Executive Committee, meeting today in Santa Fe, N.M., moved into
"immediate emergency session" in response to news of the attacks. CWS
is a ministry of the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCC). The
ELCA is a member church of the NCC.
Furst, who is attending the meeting, said the committee issued a
statement and is involved in "implementing and coordinating" an
immediate response that includes:
+ Placing on alert CWS regional disaster response consultants for
the provision of pastoral care consultation;
+ Member communions with trained emergency pastoral-care teams
have their teams on standby for a coordinated response;
+ The placement today of a CWS disaster response consultant at the
Emergency Operations Center, Albany, N.Y., for purposes of coordination;
+ Placing a CWS disaster response consultant at the Emergency
Operations Center, Washington, D.C.;
+ Opening a satellite emergency response office at the Church of
the Brethren Service Center, New Windsor, Md., to serve as the center
for communication and response coordination; and,
+ Meeting regularly to further coordinated response.
Bishop Anderson's written statement can be found at
on the ELCA Web site. A video version of the statement can be found at
http://www.elca.org/co/news/video.index.html on the ELCA's Web site.
For those who wish to contribute financial gifts in response to
the multiple disasters, details can be found at
http://www.elca.org/dcs/disaster/ on the ELCA Disaster Response Web
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG
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