Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Racial Justice

The Metropolitan New York Synod is blessed with a rich diversity of people and cultures. This was affirmed by the 2012 Synod Assembly as a part of our Strategic Plan:

As on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13), the Holy Spirit still empowers God’s diverse people to be together and to understand each other, and share in proclaiming God’s deeds of power with a united voice in a diverse world. To help us so to preach the Gospel, the Metropolitan New York Synod will nurture racial, ethnic and cultural awareness and sensitivity in the hearts, minds, souls and behavior of all of God’s people in our synod and synodical programs, policies and procedures.

As a part of the 2015 Synod Assembly, we resolved to continue our commitment to address racism in our church and society and provide anti-racism training to our leaders, clergy, and candidates. A task force was appointed and synod staff immediately began to coordinate efforts. Five trainings were offered in 2016 throughout the year, which brought in a total of 246 participants. Of those participants, 80 congregations were represented. 27% of our synodically rostered deacons and 28% of our pastors attended trainings. 80% of our Strategy Area Committee members, 70% of our Conference of Deans, 96% of our Synod Council, and 100% of our Synod Staff were all trained in the past year.

Pr. Michael Russell, an ELCA pastor and trainer with Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training commented, "As a confessional and reformational church, the Metropolitan New York Synod has engaged a substantial amount of time, financial and human resources to dismantling systematic racism and how it hinders our ability to be the church and live out the gospel of Jesus Christ." We are thankful to Pr. Russell and Pr. Lori Adams who were our trainers for three of these events.

Thank you to everyone who has participated! We anticipate more opportunities for discussions and trainings.


Starting conversations around racial justice

Selma_Video_previewMany of us yearn for help in figuring out how God and our faith relate to the issues we encounter in our lives and society. Some may be reluctant to talk about questions, especially if they may open up real differences among them.



Congregational Resources

There are a number of ELCA resources available for download and use in congregational settings:

  • One Body Many Members: This resource is designed to help equip congregations to reach out and fully welcome persons, whose race, culture and class is different from their own.

Similarly, here are resources available to be ordered:

Further Resources
  • A list of working definitions in relation to racial justice issues.
  • Compiled by the ELCA Office of the Presiding Bishop, this list provides a range of educational materials, books, and videos to help with conversations and initiatives around anti-racism.
MNYS Anti-Racism Task Force

This task force is a part of the 2015 Synod Assembly Resolution calling for a continued commitment for addressing racism in church and society. We have appointed a diverse team of individuals to help in leading our anti-racism efforts. The nomination form is still available. Any further applications would be held for need based advisors, volunteers, or regional leaders as our anti-racism efforts continue. 


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