On June 17, 2015, 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.
At the 2019 Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the assembly passed a resolution designating June 17 as a commemoration of the martyrdom of the Emanuel 9—the nine people shot and killed on June 17, 2015, during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. 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.
On Wednesday, June 17 the Christ Lutheran Gettysburg community was invited and encouraged to observe the Emanuel Nine Commemoration in the following ways
- Pastor Eckman and Pastor Herr participated with the Gettysburg Ministerium in an outdoor Prayer Service of Lament and Repent, June 17. Gettysburg Churches gathered outside at various locations emanating from the town square in all for directions (in the shape of cross).
- An Online ELCA Prayer Service for the Commemoration of the Emanuel Nine, including Bishop Eaton and leaders from around the church, was prepared for viewing beginning on June 17, 2020, the fifth anniversary of the martyrdom of the Emanuel Nine. Tune in at www.elca.org
- The Lower Susquehanna Synod (ELCA) had a Facebook Live Chapel service at 9:00 a.m. followed by a Black Leadership forum at 10:00 a.m. at www.lss-elca.org