Do Justice
Welcome to Do Justice, a semi-monthly newsletter of the Virginia Synod, lifting up God’s call and command that we, God’s people, do justice. You will find helpful info about justice ministries in congregations, around Virginia, and through the ELCA. If you have stories of justice to share from your congregation, please share those with me at bayerderrick@vasynod.org so I can share them with others in the synod!

The Rev. Kelly Bayer Derrick
Assistant to the Bishop
We lift the communities of Virginia Beach in prayer this day, as our Commonwealth, our nation, and our church mourns the loss of life and loss of peace following the shooting in Virginia Beach last Friday. We rest this day – as we do every day – in the peace of Christ, which passes all understanding.

Let us pray: God of all grace, we give you thanks because by his death our Savior Jesus Christ destroyed the power of death and by his resurrection he opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Make us certain that because he lives we shall live also, and that neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come, will be able to separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (From ELW Funeral Liturgy)
Prayers and statements from around the Synod
From Bishop Humphrey:
Psalm 46 begins, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” and ends, “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.”
As we await further details and absorb news of yet another mass murder, we lift our prayers for all victims, those who mourn with unspeakable pain and those whose lives and sense of security have been shaken. We give thanks for those who respond first to such violence and lift our prayers for Virginia Beach, our Commonwealth and Nation.
We learned on Saturday that one of the victims who died in yesterday’s mass murder in Virginia Beach, Michelle “Missy” Langer, was a long-time member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, one of our ELCA congregations. We lift our prayers, offer our support and pledge ourselves to finding ways to strive for greater justice and peace.

From Pastor Scott Mims (Good Shepherd, Virginia Beach):
So grateful for all of the prayers being lifted up for our community and congregation right now, and for knowing that we are connected to a community of faith far greater than ourselves!

From Pastor Cathy Mims (First, Norfolk):
I would ask your prayers for my husband’s congregation, Good Shepherd Lutheran. One of their members, Missy Langer, was killed in yesterday’s shooting. She was a quiet, gentle person with a warm smile and big heart. #VBStrong

From Pastor Harry Griffith (Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Virginia Beach; Dean, Tidewater Conference):
Let our intercessory prayers reflect resurrection instead of the question of why as we include our city, its civil personnel and victims’ families.

From St. Michael, Virginia Beach:
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26- 27)
It’s hard to speak a prayer for Virginia Beach in these hours of disbelief and shock as we wait for news and mourn, mourn, mourn. Holy, holy, holy, God, We pray for the victims and their families. We pray for the people of Virginia Beach. We pray for the peace of Christ, a peace that reigns even in conflict, sadness, anger and even death. Grant your peace Lord God Almighty to hold our hearts together for the sake of the lives taken away today, for the sake of the broken-hearted families, mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, children longing to see their parent again... for the sake of the community and for the sake of our abiding faith in your power to bring joy from sadness and life from death. Send your peace! In the name of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord - in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever more! Amen.

From Pastor Kelly Bayer Derrick (Assistant to the Bishop):
My prayers are with the communities of Hampton Roads following the horrific and tragic shooting in VA Beach this afternoon. May the promise of the resurrection bring hope to those who grieve. May God grant strength to those injured. May God bring comfort to your communities; for many this tragedy triggers other trauma. May God uphold those who lived through this tragedy and whose lives will never be the same. May God grant peace to first responders, whose witness to such horror will surely traumatize them as well. May God help us all to denounce such acts of violence and terror. May God bring hope in despair and light in the darkness. May God enfold us in Christ's peace.
Resources from the ELCA, as we lament the violence in our communities
60-day journey toward justice
Twenty-five years ago, the ELCA adopted the social message "Community Violence," calling for advocacy and an end to the cycle of violence. This message is still all too relevant, with frequent occurrences of gun violence in this country. A new 60-day resource invites the church to journey together through daily observances that call us to face the painful truth of gun violence and work for its prevention as people of God who strive for justice and peace in all the world. It also includes a summary of church statements and teachings related to gun violence. The 60 days of prayer, scripture, stories and church teaching begins Sunday, June 16. Learn More
Rachel’s Day resource from Women of the ELCA
Rachel’s Day is observed by Women of the ELCA annually on the first Sunday in May, though it can be observed any time of the year. It is a time set aside to mourn the loss of our children and to renounce the forces of violence and fear. The 2015 Rachel’s Day resource includes a litany for use in a special Rachel’s Day service. Learn more
Connect with the Virginia Synod