Newtown Reprimand

You may have heard of the reprimanding a Lutheran pastor received for his participation in an interfaith prayer service for the children of Newtown, Connecticut. Here is James Hazelwood's, an Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Pastor, perspective on the reprimand given by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.
Pastor Rob Morris of Newtown's Christ the King Lutheran Church
Photo linked from 
On Thursday, at the conclusion of our closing worship service at the Bishop’s convocation, a colleague informed me of  a headline appearing on one of the national cable news networks.  He told me it read, “Lutheran pastor apologizes for Newtown, CT worship participation.” 
My heart sank immediately.  Why?  Because many of us have been concerned that the leadership of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod might act in such a way.  But, more importantly, I knew this would be just one more straw on the camel's back to those in this country who have no religious affiliation.  My heart sank, because I knew a few more people became “Nones,” this week. 
A little background.  The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod or LC-MS is not the denomination, of which I am affiliated.  They are a separate religious denomination.  They are often described as a conservative denomination by various sources such as Gallup Polling or the Religious News Service. I am a Bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or ELCA.  The name of the geographic region where I serve is called the New England Synod.  In the ELCA, there are 65 synods.  These are geographic regions throughout the United States.  I am trying to clarify this, because I think it is easy to confuse Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod with Lutheran Church, New England Synod.  They are not the same, nor related.
While the ELCA and LCMS are separate ecclesiastical bodies, we are linked historically by the ecumenical creeds and the Lutheran Confessions of the 16th century.  However, where we differ is that, generally, we in the ELCA do not permit anxiety over syncretism to trump our witness to and empathy for fellow human beings in the midst of unbearable tragedy and loss. 
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