Lament for Louisville

A Joint Statement of

Rev. Dr. Chad Abbott, Conference Minister, Indiana-Kentucky Conference, UCC

Rev. Dr. William Gafkjen, Bishop, Indiana-Kentucky Synod, ELCA

April 10, 2023

Lord Jesus Christ, your own mother looked on when your life ended in violence. Our hearts are pierced with grief and anger at the mass shooting at Old National Bank in Louisville today. We commend the slain and wounded to your wounded hands, and their loved ones to your merciful heart, trusting only in the Easter promise that your love is stronger than death, and that even now, you live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

Our hearts break yet again at the news of the tragic shooting in Louisville today. We weep at the loss of life and the lives left wounded by this latest act of gun violence.

This is the 146th mass shooting in this country this year, shootings in which four or more victims have been killed or wounded. We represent Christian traditions that are called and committed to striving for a peaceful world, free of fear and violence and pain. The Indiana-Kentucky UCC has a historic commitment to being a Just Peace Conference, whose work is to decrease and prevent violence both locally and globally. This work of Just Peace is aligned with Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Elizabeth Eaton’s statement from almost exactly two years ago in response to shootings in Atlanta, Georgia and Boulder Springs, Colorado. She stated, “As followers of Jesus, we are empowered to take up the challenge to prevent violence and grapple with the complex causes that make violence so pervasive. Let us join with others in calling for greater gun safety, including preventing easy access to assault-style weapons and strengthening our federal system of background checks for all gun sales. We call for support and protection for those living out their vocations to protect and defend society, enforce the law and work toward restorative justice.” (

We pray for all involved, holding to Jesus, who wept at the death of one he loved, to Christ bearing our suffering on the cross, to the risen One who offers the promise of resurrection to a just, merciful, and peaceful world. We pray for first responders, religious ministers, police and hospital chaplains, and others who provide support and counseling services to those affected by gun-violence-related crimes even as we pray for the perpetrators of violent acts.

We call upon congregations and leaders and members of our churches to hold safe space for those dealing with the fears and threats related to violence in all its manifestations. We, additionally, call upon you to join with our siblings in faith in the Kentucky Council of Churches to advocate for a world free of gun violence. See the KCC’s Statement here, Please join us in praying and advocating for the just and peaceful world that is God’s desire and promise for us.

God, our healer and our refuge, we pray for all who suffer from gun violence. With your mercy, bind up their wounds, restore their bodies, and heal their hearts. Comfort the mourners and embrace the lonely. With your might, empower us to change this broken world. Make us advocates for a stable society, alive with hope in you. We ask this through the one once wounded for our transgressions and now standing with us in our sorrows, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

In Prayer and Solidarity,

Rev. Dr. Chad Abbott

Rev. Dr. William Gafkjen

(Prayers are adapted from All Creation Sings via