Day of Mourning

Statement of Solidarity: National Day of Mourning 

Pastor Philip Penrod on Behalf of OSLC; 

My name is Reverend Philip Penrod.

It is my honour today to offer these words of solidarity, in recognition of today’s National Day of Mourning.  I do so on behalf of Our Savior Lutheran Church of Edmonton, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s  - Synod of AB and the Territories, and the Greater Edmonton Alliance. For some, the observance on April 28th of the national Day of Mourning in remembrance and recognition of those whose lives were lost because of a workplace injury or illness belongs to those engaged in the Labour Movement.

Over the past several years, my work through the Greater Edmonton Alliance in the broad-based pursuit of the common good has taught me that when we construe issues that so greatly impact members of our society as “not my concern”, we do so at the expense of our common humanity.  

In 2020, 150 Albertans died because of their work.  That means 150 individuals no longer present to uplift their families… 150 people no longer available to volunteer for their favourite charities … 150 voices whose prayers, praises and laughter are silenced … 150 families, communities and networks diminished.  

The importance of this day stems from the realization that these 150 deaths were not random accidents.  These deaths are a reminder that too often our human ways of operating create situations where good things become twisted in ways that produces tragic results.  In this case, the gift of work yields not personal satisfaction from a job well done, but common grief over things left undone; not a livelihood that supports others, but deaths that disrupt our individual and collective joy.

I’d like to share with you today a prayer from my faith tradition:

“Almighty One, You have chosen to dignify our labour by sharing our toil.  Guide us with your justice in the workplace, so that we may never value things above people, or surrender honor to love of gain or lust for power.  Prosper all efforts to put an end to work that brings no joy, and teach us how to govern the ways of business to the harm of none and for the sake of the common good.  Amen.”

The best of our religious traditions help us to see ourselves in right relationship with our Creator in a way that encourages us to live in right relations with one another.  So, for people of faith, it is essential that we stand in solidarity with all our neighbours in a way that seeks to harm none and to promote the common good.

April 28th, 2021 – we remember and mourn the deaths of 150 siblings, friends, neighbours.  Tomorrow we set ourselves to the task of living and working in ways that honour, protect and thrive our common humanity. 

Here is a video by Rev. Penrod. 


Edmonton District Labour Council Day of Mourning memorial video is available to watch here.