On behalf of the 4.2 million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop, expressed sympathy, love, solidarity and prayers in an Aug. 6 letter to the American region of the World Sikh Council in response to the Aug. 5 shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis.
The tragedy there "has touched our lives deeply with sadness and concern," Hanson wrote. "Violence has entered into our lives and world in too many places. The actions of individuals in recent weeks have brought a dark cloud over our nation and lives."
Committed to building bridges of understanding and relationships, Hanson wrote that the ELCA would welcome an active dialogue with Sikh and other religious leaders "in order to help those in our country and world to gain respect, love and understanding about one another.
"There is so much ignorance of religions, cultures and people, and too often those in the minority bear the heaviest burdens in our shared society," he wrote. "We believe that love of God and love of neighbor is what is needed in our communities and in our country, and we extend ourselves to you brothers and sisters -- as children of God."
Hanson said prayers will be offered in the days ahead for the victims, families, neighbors in Wisconsin, the Sikh community and for those who turn to violence.
From the ELCA News Service