Tending to the Safety of our People in Church

There has been much conversation in conventional media and social media about what churches should do to best prepare and protect themselves against a violent intruder.  I googled “church active shooter” and got 2,940,000 hits.  There is no lack of options, suggestions, analyses, and arguments available with the click of a mouse.  So, the few things that I will mention here are

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Bishop John RothComment
A Pastoral Letter in the Aftermath of the Violence in Charlottesville

    As all of you undoubtedly know, Charlottesville, Virginia, became a flash-point for neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and white nationalist groups protesting the decision by the Charlottesville City Council to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee.  The violence in Charlottesville was instigated by neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and white-supremacists in their confrontations with counter protesters.  People of various Christian traditions including the ELCA, both local and national, where among those who gathered in Charlottesville at that time to stand with the intended victims of racism and to provide a counter-witness in the name of the God of justice, mercy, and equality whom we know in Jesus Christ.  

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Bishop John RothComment
A Word to Good Friday and Easter 2017

 “Death is ugly, a rotten deal,” writes author and preacher Fleming Rutledge.  And it is still a rotten deal even when it brings relief from pain or incapacity. The translation of John 11:39 in the King James Version is a favorite of mine because it so vividly expresses what Martha says to Jesus at the tomb of her brother, Lazarus; Lazarus has been in the tomb for four days.  Jesus says, “Take the stone away from the opening,” and Martha doesn’t think that’s a good idea.  Martha says, “Lord...he stinketh.” 

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Bishop John Roth
A Word to Ash Wednesday 2017

The Scripture readings for Ash Wednesday seem to give us conflicting admonitions: on the one hand (if you are using the passage from Joel), the prophet Joel says to return to the Lord “with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning,” and on the other hand, Jesus says in Matthew’s Gospel, “whenever you fast, do not look dismal…(instead) put oil on your head and wash your face.”  In other words, on the one hand, “do something public and explicit to show that you are devoting yourself to repentance and contrition.”  On the other hand, “disguise the fact that you are devoting yourself to repentance and contrition.”

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Bishop John Roth