September 9, 2010
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National and Synod Bishops issued a pastoral letter to the church and to the Rev. Terry Jones, pastor of Dove World Outreach Centre, Gainesville, Florida. In the text of their letter the Bishops urged that, anyone who would contemplate such actions as would be hurtful and painful to people of other faiths, and which would call into question our own pledge to love our neighbours as ourselves, to seek a more excellent way as we engage people of other faiths. The following is the text from the letter:
A pastoral letter to our church and to the Rev. Terry Jones, pastor of Dove World Outreach Center, Gainesville, Florida
Grace be yours and peace.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever
is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything
worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)
In a world wherein conflict and enmity are the bread and butter of the evening news; in a world wherein conflict and enmity are ancient realities; in a world wherein hurts and pains too deep for words are etched in the faces of sisters and brothers everywhere; in such a world as this the burning of the sacred writings of any people is an affront to all that is honourable, just and pure.
Our own ancient scriptures teach us that we are to love our God above all and our neighbours as ourselves (Luke 10:27).
As Christian leaders, we urge anyone who would contemplate such actions as would be hurtful and painful to people of other faiths, and which would call into question our own pledge to love our neighbours as ourselves, to seek a more excellent way as we engage people of other faiths.
Let us love one another as we have been loved. Let us refrain from the language of hate and hurt. Let us refrain from such actions as would not be honourable, just or pure.
As we have opportunity, let us pledge ourselves to honest inquiry and open dialogue with our neighbours of every faith.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
The Rev. Dr Greg Mohr
British Columbia Synod
The Rev. Ron Mayan
Synod of Alberta and the Territories
The Rev. Cindy Halmarson
The Rev. Elaine Sauer
Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Synod
The Rev. Michael Pryse
A pdf version of the letter is available online: http://www.elcic.ca/Documents/PastoralLetterSept2010.pdf
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination with 152,500 baptized members in 607 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.
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