Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton joined faith and government leaders on June 17 to mark the seventh anniversary of the racially motivated shootings at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. The leaders will participate in a commemorative Bible study event that will kick off a yearlong Bible study across the country.
The theme for the livestream event, “What Kind of Soil Are We?,” is taken from Mark 4:1-20, the Bible passage the Emanuel Nine were studying on the night they were murdered by Dylann Roof (who was raised in an ELCA congregation). The text is commonly known as the parable of the sower, and alternatively as the parable of the soils. Christian leaders across the nation will use the commemorative event to study the parable and lead discussions critical to this time as race, history and politics intersect.
To honor this day, the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted a resolution to establish June 17 as the “Emanuel 9 Commemoration and Day of Repentance,” honoring the martyrdom of Clementa C. Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel L. Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton and Myra Thompson. Pinckney and Simmons were graduates of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, S.C., one of the ELCA’s seven seminaries.