Amidst escalating violence against Asians and Pacific Islanders, the ELCA has called for a Day of Lament Against anti-Asian racism to be held this Sunday on March 21. As we mourn for the 8 people, mostly Asian women, who were murdered in the Atlanta area on Wednesday, March 16, this Day of Lament offers churches the chance to publicly address these incidents of hate. The liturgy for this Day of Lament was written before these current attacks and can be adapted to acknowledge the memory of those who were killed and the loved ones they leave behind.
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The Asian and Pacific Islander Association of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America issued a statement on March 4, 2021 addressing the increase in violence directed toward Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. The ELCA Conference of Bishops affirmed the statement on March 5, 2021. Read the full statement.
The statement calls the church to declare a Sunday during this Lenten season to lament in order to express solidarity with, help in healing, and support Asian American victims of violence. March 21, 2021, the Fifth Sunday in Lent, is named as a common date for this day of lament. However, worshiping communities may choose a different date as appropriate for their context.