November 1, 2018

Pennsylvania Bishops Respond to Violence at Tree of Life Synagogue

A statement from the seven Lutheran bishops in Pennsylvania in response to the violent crimes at Tree of Life synagogue.

Our hearts are broken for the bereaved families of those who were killed on Saturday, October 27, for the congregations of Tree of Life, Dor Hadash, and New Light, and for the city of Pittsburgh.  Your loss is also our loss, for we belong to each other.

We are also painfully aware that the very name of our church, “Lutheran,” carries a memory of hurtful rhetoric and systemic violence against Jewish people because of the words of Martin Luther and the catastrophe of the holocaust in lands where Lutherans were numerous.

Our church has firmly rejected Luther’s invectives and the complicity of Lutheran churches in actions of great evil, most notably in the 1994 Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to the Jewish Community, saying:

“We recognize in anti-Semitism a contradiction and an affront to the Gospel, a violation of our hope and calling, and we pledge this church to oppose the deadly working of such bigotry, both within our own circles and in the society around us.”

In the spirit of that declaration, we call others in our state and our country who are associated in any way with anti-Semitic speech and action to repudiate those evils and to join with us in praying for and working for peace.


The Rev. Michael Rhyne, Bishop, Allegheny Synod, ELCA

The Rev. James Dunlop, Bishop, Lower Susquehanna Synod, ELCA

The Rev. Samuel R. Zeiser, Bishop, Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA

The Rev. Ralph E. Jones, Bishop, Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA

The Rev. Patricia A. Davenport, Bishop, Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA

The Rev. Kurt F. Kusserow, Bishop, Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA

The Rev. Barbara J. Collins, Bishop, Upper Susquehanna Synod, ELCA


Originally posted on the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania website.