It has come to our attention that Musician David Haas has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women spanning many years. Evangelical Lutheran Worship includes four hymns by him: “Blest Are They” (ELW 728), “Now We Remain” (ELW 500), “We Are Called” (ELW 720), and “You Are Mine” (ELW 581). Several institutions have requested congregations to no longer sing works by Haas pending an investigation.
As you plan music for worship in your context, we encourage decisions that uphold God’s call to love the neighbour, especially those who have been harmed by gender-based violence. Those who plan worship for the ELCIC are strongly encouraged to discontinue use of these hymns and other compositions in worship.
While these are well-loved hymns and have positive associations for some, they trigger painful memories and deep trauma for others. Our concern for any who have been traumatized must be the church’s first priority. As noted in a recent document by the Mennonite church,
For survivors, singing a song of a known abuser can cause the traumatic harm of sexual violence to viscerally rush in. This is especially true when the abuser is alive or recently deceased. When people directly injured by the abuser’s violence experience a song as inseparable from its source, communities of faith cannot claim to make such a separation without doing harm to survivors.Show Strength: How to Respond When Worship Materials Are Implicated in Abuse.
As a church we are committed to speaking out against and working to end all kinds of gender-based violence. This is one concrete way we can show that commitment to survivors and to our communities.