ELCA Racial Justice Ministries. When we confront racism and move toward fairness and justice in the church and society, we all benefit. We begin to understand that each of us has a unique story, and we are all part of a larger, rich story that makes up the ELCA. ELCA Racial Justice Blog.
ELCA African Descent Ministries
ELCA Racial Justice Resources. This resource page provides a visual way to explore and download the many types of resources available from the ELCA.
The Rev. Jehu Jones; First Black Lutheran Pastor (lutheranquarterly.com)
Declaration to American Indians and Alaska Native People
In October 2021, the ELCA has released “A Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to American Indian and Alaska Native People.”
The Doctrine of Discovery created a theological framework that supported racism, colonialism, and the annihilation of Indigenous people. Today it continues to support those evils and injustices found in our church, U.S. law, and legal interpretation. The Doctrine of Discovery has been pervasive throughout the world and has benefited the Church and ELCA Lutherans in every way, which requires us to address our own context in the United States and the Caribbean as well as how our U.S. economic interests have exacerbated life internationally. Further, the Doctrine of Discovery is not simply a historical document and is not only about the past. Rather, it is indeed about our present, and impacts the future.
The declaration includes a pledge to three groups: Indigenous ELCA communities, Indigenous communities in the U.S., and non-Indigenous ELCA communities. Each pledge focuses on doing more to: understand the doctrine, the church’s role in perpetuating it and how to partner with Native organizations to end the harmful effects of the doctrine and become stronger advocates for Indigenous communities throughout the U.S.
The declaration is a direct result of the social policy resolution “Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery,” which was passed by the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.
One commitment found in each document is to formally acknowledge the original inhabitants of North America. The declaration states:
“We commit to begin the practice of land acknowledgments at all expressions of the church.”
ELCA Land Acknowledgment guide. Vance Blackfox, Desk Director for American Indian Alaska Native Tribal Nations with the ELCA, has prepared a guide for those who wish to begin a journey toward truth and healing by practicing land acknowledgements. It includes examples of statements that you can speak at the beginning of every worship service, print at the top of worship bulletins, use to create outdoor signage and more.
DECLARATION TO PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT
On June 27, 2019, the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America adopted the following declaration as a statement addressed to people of African descent, stating:
- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) apologizes to people of African descent for its historical complicity in slavery and its enduring legacy of racism in the United States and globally.
- The ELCA teaches that racism is a sin, and that racism denies the reconciling work of the cross.
- The ELCA trusts that repentance begins and ends with the work of a gracious God.
Now is the time
“Now is the Time” is a study guide that helps congregations wrestle with the meaning of “Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent.” The study guide and accompanying participant materials stress realism, self-examination and accountability as the church apologizes for its complicity in slavery and its enduring legacy of racism in the United States.”
Commemoration of the Emanuel Nine
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. Click here for worship and other resources.