Faith leaders from around the country are working with the US Conference of Mayors to make Monday, June 1, a National Day of Mourning and Lament as the nation surpassed the grim milestone of 100,000 people lost to COVID-19.
Approximately 100 faith leaders signed on to the call for the commemoration, including representatives of Christian denominations such as the Reformed Church of America, the United Methodist Church, leaders of ecumenical organizations such as Christian Churches Together and the National Association of Evangelicals, and leaders of faith-based nonprofits such as Bread for the World and the Friends Committee on National Legislation, among many others. The effort has received commitments from mayors in more than three dozen cities in more than 15 states. The Sojourners community based in Washington, D.C., is serving as host.
The call is for all people from all faith backgrounds “to take the time to mourn and lament the loss of our brothers and sisters,” said an announcement. “As people of faith, we refuse to let these deaths go unnoticed.
“During this time, we are not only lamenting the loss of our neighbors, but also lamenting the inequities and brokenness that COVID-19 has revealed,” the announcement continued. “We lament the overwhelming impact of the virus on our elders. We lament the disproportionate rate of infection and death among the black community, which has been compounded by the trauma of George Floyd’s recent tragic killing due to police brutality and racism. We lament the loss of our Native brothers and sisters who have been hit particularly hard. We lament the racism directed at the Asian American community. As people of faith, we are called to mourn and lament the loss of these 100,000 people, each beloved and made in God’s image. We must take the time to grieve so we can help to heal as we move forward in facing these challenges together.”
Find the statement calling for a National Day of Mourning and Lament and the full list of the faith leaders who have signed it at https://sojo.net/sites/default/files/lament_mourning.pdf .
Congregations and pastors may join in the special commemoration in a variety of ways including:
-- Making time for mourning and lament during worship this Sunday. Worship resources are available at https://sojo.net/day-of-lament .
-- Sharing a video call for a National Day of Mourning and Lament on social media and with the faith community. Find the video at the above link .
-- Reaching out to elected officials--especially mayors--and to local communities to call for a time of public lament on June 1 at noon, in your respective time zone. Actions may include the lowering of flags, ringing of bells, prayer vigils, posts to social media such as images that symbolize what this means to you using the hashtags #DayofMourning and #Lament100k, and the creation of altars from empty chairs representing those who have been lost.
-- Participating in a live-streamed time of public lament on June 1 at noon, held via Facebook Live. Find the event page at www.facebook.com/events/1602851966534816 . Prayers will be offered by interfaith leaders including Barbara Williams-Skinner, Jim Wallis, Rabbi David Saperstein, Mohamed Elsanousi, Bishop Michael Curry, and more.
-- Personally making space for lament in the coming week. “Take time to recognize the loss we have faced individually and collectively as a nation,” said the announcement.
For more information and resources go to https://sojo.net/day-of-lament .