The Pacifica Synod’s Work toward Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
The May 2016 Pacifica Synod Assembly adopted a “Resolution to Confront Racism and White Privilege.” This work was initiated with the formation of the “Pacifica Synod Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group” to:
- “Identify and share high quality educational tools and events to raise awareness of racism, white privilege, and Christ-centered paths to liberation of oneself, church and society”;
- Guide “the Pacifica Synod of the ELCA to offer support for multicultural and multilingual ministry to engage and integrate congregations and leaders with nearby populations and to commit itself to provide accessible and affordable synod assembly and education events to less affluent leaders and congregations”;
- Support the Pacifica Synod to “bear persistent public witness in solidarity with oppressed people in this and other countries for the transformation of society toward the domination-free reign of God in Christ.”
Since then, we have held workshops at synod assembly and half-day seminars for church leaders to hear first-hand stories of our synod and regions and to grow awareness of racism and white privilege among the unique populations whom we serve. Since the pandemic led to a disruption of in-person events in 2020, we are in the process of developing online resources and rescheduling of the April 2020 in-person anti-racism training, tentatively planned for summer or fall of 2021.
On June 15, Bishop Andy Taylor shared the following letter with members and friends of the Pacifica Synod – From the Bishop – An Invitation to Work Together for Social Justice
Pacifica Synod Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Working Group Members
Pastor Lara Martin, Co-Chair – firstname.lastname@example.org
Pastor Darin Johnson, Co-Chair
Pastor Nate Allen – email@example.com
(Pastor Nate is available to work with congregations walking through issues of diversity and inclusion in their current congregation, as well as reaching out to diverse neighborhoods in the community.)
Pastor John Barton
Pastor Rick Fry – firstname.lastname@example.org
Pastor Cyndi Jones
Pastor JP Sabbithi
James Tyler – email@example.com
Terri Robertson – firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to become involved in multicultural ministry and anti-oppression work, please contact one of the co-chairs of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, Pastor Lara Martin at email@example.com.
Take the ELCA’s Anti-Racism Pledge Today!
In 2019, at the 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. Congregations of the ELCA are encouraged to mark this day of penitence with study and prayer.
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. We invite you to visit the ELCA Anti-Racism Pledge web page to learn more about the pledge and commit to one or more of the actions listed.
Anti-Racism Resources and Websites
(Books, Videos, Articles, Podcasts, etc.)
We will continue to add resources to the list below, so check back often. If you have resources to recommend or would like to share stories about how you or your congregation are currently working towards equity, diversity and inclusion, please contact Pastor Lara Martin at the email address listed above.
Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent and Response – ELCA Churchwide Assembly 2019
Resources for Adults
Article – How Systemic Racism Adapts and Evolves – LA Progressive
Resources for Faithful Justice – InterVarsity Press
Book – Birth of A White Nation: The Invention of White People and Its Relevance Today – Jacqueline Battalora
This book serves as a good updated companion to the book by Allen (listed above) – James Tyler, Jr.
Reading List – White Nation Reading List by James Tyler, Jr.
Book – Faith-Rooted Organizing – Rev. Alexia Salvatierra and Peter Heltzel
Book – How to be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi
Book – Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the US – Rev. Lenny Duncan
Book – White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism – Robin DiAngelo
Book – So You Want to Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo
Book – Luther’s Small Catechism with African Descent Reflections – Augsburg Fortress
Book – Parable of the Brown Girl: The Sacred Lives of Girls of Color – Khristi Lauren Adams
Small Group Series – Dialogue on Race – Sparkhouse
Online Course – Spirituality and Racial Justice – Bishop Michael Curry
Advocacy Toolkit – Joanna Watson, Resourcing Organizations with Opportunities for Transformation and Sharing (ROOTS)
Article – 75 Things for White People to do to be Anti-Racist Allies during the COVID-19 quarantine – Karen Geiger
Resources for Children
Article – Talking About Race & Racism with Children – Christine V. Hides
Article (Living Lutheran) – How to Talk to Kids About Race – Judith Roberts
Podcast – Talking Race with Young Children
Podcast – Wait, is my Toddler Racist?
Resources for Youth
Curriculum – ELCA 2015 Youth Gathering – Together We Rise: Getting Ready Resource
Curriculum – George Floyd, Racism and Law Enforcement (English/Spanish) – Anti-Defamation League