The ELCA has developed resources for addressing racial justice in the church and in society. See the ELCA Racial Justice Resource Page for a complete list.
As church we are called to confess the sin of racism, condemn the ideology of white supremacy, and strive for racial justice and peace. Beyond statements and prayers, we are called to also act and respond to injustices. Take the ELCA Anti-Racism Pledge.
The ELCA Prayer Service for Commemoration of the Emanuel Nine was held on June 17, 2020, the fifth anniversary of the evening nine people were shot and killed during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. We join in a time of repentance, mourning and prayer as we remember these nine martyrs and renounce the sins of racism and white supremacy. Click here to watch a recording of the Prayer Service.
As part of the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, voting members adopted 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, S.C.
At the 2019 Churchwide Assembly, the “Strategy Toward Authentic Diversity in the ELCA” was adopted. This strategy includes a commitment to digging deeper into the history and theology that “ground, clarify, and justify our call and continuing commitment to ethnic diversity and inclusion.”
At its June 2019 meeting, the ELCA Church Council adopted a “Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent.”
“Unpacking White Privilege: The Important Work of Making the Church Less Harmful” -Article and study guide published in Living Lutheran, January 2020.
Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture is the ELCA Social Statement which comes with a Study Guide. The statement offers theological reflection on the church’s commitment to undo racism and move toward reconciliation, healing and embracing all people. Advocacy commitments for the church include:
- The ELCA expects our leadership to name the sin of racism and lead us in
our repentance. In a hostile and divided world, the church must insist on justice, resistcynicism, and refuse to blame victimized people. To pursue justice, the church mustaddress how racism affects society, political decisions and economic forces as well asindividual lives.
Participation in public life is essential to doing justice. The ELCA encourages publicwitness and insists on a public forum accessible to everyone. In living up to itscommitment to deliberation, the ELCA will model honest engagement on issues of race.
The ELCA received from its predecessor church bodies a solid foundation for advocacy. Advocacy will look for change and fair distribution of the social costs of correcting past wrongs. Advocacy will work for respect of cultures and oppose language-based discrimination.
The ELCA will support legislation that guarantees to all individuals equally: civil rights; access to quality education, health care, and nutrition; opportunity for employment with fair compensation; opportunity for business ownership; access to legal, banking, and insurance services; the right to purchase housing in any place; and access to public transportation. The ELCA will advocate for just immigration policies.
The ELCA Social Statement “The Church and Criminal Justice: Hear the Cries” addresses the impacts of mass incarceration on people of color and promotes advocacy actions to address the implicit and explicit racism in the system.
Troubling the Waters for Healing of the Church is a resource that is developed specifically for White congregational members and others to help them understand the role that White privilege and internalized White superiority has had in shaping their own attitudes, belief systems, cultures and those of the church and society at large. This resource has been designed by White people for White people to equip them with tools that will aid them in addressing and breaking the cycle of socialization that perpetuates racism and sustains an exclusive church.
The Journal of Lutheran Ethics has published many articles, book reviews and reflections on race. See a listing.
- “Today’s Dream, Tomorrow’s Reality” on racial justice. Contact your synod WELCA group to locate a copy
- A Bible Study: The Level Playing Field.
The Presbyterian Church has an extensive list of resources for addressing racism.
National Council of Churches Anti-Racism Resources – The A.C.T. Now to End Racism initiative of the National Council of Churches (NCC) urges the NCC, its members and partners to Awaken to the many manifestations of white supremacy and racism especially in the church, to Confront the need for change, and to work to Transform church and society into a reflection of the inclusive and equitable reign of God.
The following resources were shared by Vicar Carla Christopher at a Lower Susquehanna Synod Anti-Racism and Social Justice Training. Click on the link to access resource.
Cultural Competency in A Changing Church – Vicar Carla Christopher
Conversations to Understand and End Racism – Vicar Carla Christopher
ELCA Racial Justice Resources – Vicar Carla Christopher
Racial Justice Resources for Families
• Racial Equity and Inclusion resources from the Annie E. Casey Foundation
• AAP Parenting Website: Talking to Children about Racism: The Time is Now
• RaceWorks – A free, racial literacy digital toolkit from Stanford University
• We Need to Name it: Racism is a Public Health Crisis from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF)
• Coming Together: Standing Up To Racism – A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall For Kids and Families