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This is a copy of an email that SEMN ELCA Bishop Delzer sent out regarding the events in Orlando. Please note his invitation for prayer action for the next 30 days. Keep all who are struggling with this horrific act in your prayers.

Bishop Steve Delzer
June 13, 2016

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

I spent yesterday morning and early afternoon participating in the celebration of the 125th Anniversary of Mabel First Lutheran Church in Mabel. The worship service and the dinner and program that followed were filled with thankful celebration for the blessings of the past 125 years of ministry in the Mabel community, and a joyful expectation for the future into which Jesus is leading this congregation. As I drove away my heart was filled with joy and peace.

Then I turned on the radio and heard the awful news about the shooting in Orlando, Florida. My first thought was, "O God, not again!" Feeling like my heart was breaking over this senseless act of violence, and on the verge of tears for the victims and their families and friends, the words that came to mind were those words of lament from Psalm 13:
How long, O Lord? Will you forget (us) forever?
How long will you hide your face from (us)?
How long must (we) bear pain in (our) soul,
and have sorrow in our heart all day long?
Consider and answer (us), O Lord (our) God!

Since yesterday afternoon I have struggled with what to say that might be helpful in the midst of yet another tragic and painful event. I invite you to join me in the following for the next 30 days:

Each morning pray the prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi (ELW, p. 87):

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

Each day ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to intentionally seek some way every day to be an instrument of God's peace in what you say, or in the way you think, or in what you write, or in what you post on Facebook, or in what you do, or in the way you treat another person.

Each evening pray these petitions from the second set of Prayers of Intercession from the Service of Healing in the ELW Occasional Services for the Assembly (pages 273-274):

Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and especially for all who are suffering or are in any affliction.

Merciful God, you sent your Son to be our peace. Help all those who suffer any pain or grief, hopelessness or anxiety. In your great mercy, hear us, O God.

God of peace and reconciliation, bring an end to the sickness of the world, especially violence, terrorism, war, and their causes. In your great mercy, hear us, O God.

Loving God, mend broken relationships and bring peace to our families, our congregation(s), (our) communities, and the world. In your great mercy, hear us, O God.

O God, we bring these intercessions before you, knowing that you will hear us as you have promised, and will answer according to the mercy shown in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

May our prayers, our words, and our actions help to bring to our communities and our world healing, hope, joy, and the peace of God that passes all human understanding.

Peace & Joy in Christ,

Bishop Steve Delzer

Southeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA, 1001 14th Street NW, Suite 300, Rochester, MN 55901
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High School Senior recognition Sunday June 5, 2016. Great group of youth! May they be blessed in their future endeavors and " Let their light shine!"
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High School Senior recognition Sunday June 5, 2016.  Great group of youth!   May they be blessed in their future endeavors and  Let their light shine!