Business, Forgiveness & Lament

Deacon Katie Rivers offers reflections of the second day of Churchwide Assembly—Tuesday, August 9, 2022.

August 11, 2022 |

Image credit: ELCA worship video screen capture

Tuesday was the first full day of Churchwide Assembly in Columbus, and boy, was it full. We began the process of electing a new Vice President, began to hear and vote on memorials, and conducted other important business of this church.

The day concluded with a difficult yet beautiful example of the CWA theme, Embody the Word. Bishop Eaton made a public apology to the members of Iglesia Luterana Santa Maria Peregrina, a Latine congregation that experienced racism and hurt at the hands of our church body. Bishop Eaton also led the assembly in a confession of racism, and commitment to working toward healing and reconciliation. The members of Iglesia Luterana Santa Maria Peregrina embodied the Word—that is, embodied Jesus—as they spoke words of forgiveness and love to Bishop Eaton and the assembly. Forgiveness that was not earned or deserved. Forgiveness followed by a call to work together for healing and wholeness. They embodied Christ’s mercy and love in a way that I had never experienced before.

We then gathered for a service of lament and prayer.  I had the honor of leading the assembly as we prayed that God would hear our cries of sorrow and pain of the brokenness of this fallen world. Seated on a platform in the middle of the huge ballroom, I embodied the prayers of the congregation, speaking aloud their pleas for help, guidance, and reminders of God’s unwavering love for the whole world. It’s an experience I’ll not soon forget—not for the privilege of leading worship for such a large gathering—but for the profound reminder of our call to embody the risen Christ in the midst of the suffering of the world, and to proclaim life everlasting.


Deacon Katie Rivers, St. Mark's, Asheville


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