From the Presiding Bishop: A Pastoral Word on the Grand Jury Decision in Louisville

September 24, 2020
​For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. ― Ephesians 2:14
In response to the grand jury decision in Louisville, Ky., we offer a word of prayer and healing following the decision not to charge police officers for Breonna Taylor’s death. As a nation, we are struggling with and divided by the decision. It has affected so many of us in so many ways. We grieve the brokenness of the criminal justice system. We are tired and weary of the violence. Has not God created all of us to have inherent dignity, value and worth? 
Despite the anger, violence and injustice connected with this sad and horrible tragedy, we should not abandon our neighbors. Our baptismal covenant with God calls us to better relationship with one another than we are currently demonstrating. We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ’s presence in the world. The covenantal relationship we have with God in Christ leads us to our neighbors in a common cause to confront the reality of systemic racism in our country. 
We come together at the cross. The proclamation of the gospel is the only nonnegotiable in the life of this church. Yet, we know the gospel can be divisive for us in our ministry for justice and peace. As we dwell in God’s word, we pray God will give us the strength and the courage to act in service of the gospel’s free course for the life of the world. 
Because of the cross, we have peace; we have hope; we are loved. We join with you in prayer for the Taylor family, Officer Hankison and his family, the prosecutor and his family, the grand jurors and their families, the community of Louisville and all who work for justice and peace. 
In Christ, 
Elizabeth A. Eaton- Bishop Evangelical Lutheran Church in America                     William O. Gafkjen- Presiding Bishop Indiana-Kentucky Synod, ELCA