Coronavirus Message – June 17th

Trinity Outdoor Worship next Sunday at 11 a.m., with an abundance of caution . . .


People of Trinity,


With an abundance of caution, we have begun to gather again onsite.  Are you considering a time in the sanctuary for prayer, a small group gathering onsite or stopping by the church office?  Faith Community Nurse Kristin Bradley has put together a very helpful “Welcome Back to Trinity” video.  View it by clicking here:


You are invited to join us for an outdoor worship service with Holy Communion (wafer only) on the church west lawn on next Sunday morning, June 21 at 11 a.m.  Live streaming of worship at 9:15 a.m. will occur as usual from Centennial Hall on Sunday morning, but following the live streaming of worship that morning, a brief, spoken service of Holy Communion will be offered on the west lawn at 11 a.m. – plan to bring a lawn chair or blanket, to bring masks for all and to keep distancing between family groups.  


The rain date will be Sunday, June 28.  Currently there is a chance for scattered thunderstorms in the morning on June 21.  We will seek to remain flexible and, if needed, announce the cancellation of the outdoor service by congregational email and Facebook on Sunday morning.


Commemoration of the Emanuel Nine


Beloved community,


On June 17, 2015, five years ago today, Clementa C. Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Lee Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson were murdered by a self-professed white supremacist while they were gathered for Bible study and prayer at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (often referred to as Mother Emanuel) in Charleston, South Carolina. Pastors Pinckney and Simmons were both graduates of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary.  The shooter had grown up in an ELCA congregation.

A resolution to commemorate June 17 as a day of repentance for the martyrdom of the Emanuel Nine was adopted by the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on August 8, 2019. Congregations of the ELCA are encouraged reaffirm their commitment to repenting of the sins of racism and white supremacy which continue to plague this church, to venerate the martyrdom of the Emanuel Nine, and to mark this day of penitence with study and prayer.

An ELCA Prayer Service for Commemoration of the Emanuel Nine was offered today at noon and will be available for viewing on the ELCA website. The service included leaders from around the ELCA and ecumenical partners, including episcopal leadership from the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton preached the sermon.

The following litany and lament are offered as we remember the tragic deaths of the Emanuel Nine five years ago and the ongoing struggle with the sins of racism and white supremacy.  Let us pray.


A Confessional Litany and Lament Commemorating Nine Who Were Slain at Mother Emanuel AME Church 


They were doing what we are called to as they engaged in Bible study. 


It was Wednesday night — a stranger walked in, and these people welcomed him and prayed together: the Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, the Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Kibwe Diop Sanders, the Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons, the Rev. Myra Singleton Quarles Thompson, and the honorable state senator and pastor of the church, the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney. 


This stranger wanted to ignite a “race war,” he said, after he shot and killed them, denying them the very humanity he claimed for himself, claiming rights and privileges associated with “whiteness.” 


Now we are grieved, once again in pain, burning and anguished, lamenting the horror of evil unleashed. And so we cry out, 

Have mercy, O God, have mercy on us. 


Sorrow and heartache have come to us. Death and mourning have visited us. We feel far from you, O God, and distant from one another. And so we cry out, 

Have mercy, O God, have mercy on us. 


Evil besets us in our land. We acknowledge that our nation is socialized in ways that promote and normalize colonialization. We cry out against the horrors and agonies of racism. And so we cry out, 

Have mercy, O God, have mercy on us. 


The privileged of our nation have benefited from practices that dehumanize indigenous peoples. We have claimed as “discovery” lands that were not ours. These lands have been stolen and the nations, that were the original occupants of these lands, slain. And so we cry out, 

Have mercy, O God, have mercy on us. 


Tribalism has led to the denial of your presence, O God. Present generations, the children whose ancestors were kidnapped and sold into slavery, those forced to labor not on their own behalf, still suffer and struggle to live in freedom while the children of colonizers, live out of “white privilege,” denying the fullness of your presence in all people. And so we cry out, 

Have mercy, O God, have mercy on us. 


Assaults born of greed and murder continue propping up white privilege that is institutionalized in our church and nation, preventing us from recognizing the twin evils of racism and nationalism still perpetuated among us. And so we cry out, 

Have mercy, O God, have mercy on us. 


Open our eyes, O God, open our hearts. Open our ears, O God, open our minds. Help us to behold one another as you behold us. Help us to be more firmly rooted in the practices of the gospel—so that, when we pray, the way we live will make real the dream of your beloved community within and among us. And so we cry out, 

Have mercy, O God, have mercy on us. 


With the help of your mercy and grace, lead us to think, believe, and change. May your gospel’s transforming power by the working of the Holy Spirit be present in us, in our churches, in our nation and all the nations of the earth. May it be so. And the people said, “Amen.” 



As we pause this day to commemorate the Emanuel Nine, it remains a privilege to serve as one of Trinity’s pastors.


Grace and peace,


Pastor Bob Linstrom



2700 Fulton St. E
Grand Rapids, MI 49506


Our Mission

Trinity Lutheran Church is a dynamic family called by God to nurture each other in our daily journeys of faith and to joyfully increase our response to all people in need, sharing God’s gifts of love and grace.