BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Join the Metropolitan New York Synod as we reflect on and celebrate African-American history and the significant roles that generations upon generations of African-Americans have played in shaping our history.
 
Our Synod is blessed with a rich diversity of people and cultures. Anti-racism strategies are a high priority for our Bishop, The Rev. Paul Egensteiner. The Bishop's Advocacy Taskforce is actively implementing anti-racism efforts, as this is an essential element of the Bishop's 2025 Vision. Strategies such as this are geared both inward, for the sake of the Church, and outward, for the sake of the World, so that we may all be treated and viewed as God sees us, as EQUALS.
Visit our ANTI-RACISM RESOURCES page. 
 
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BLACK HISTORY MONTH: A MESSAGE FROM OUR BISHOP

"Black History Month provides a precious opportunity to hear the stories of black, indigenous, and people of color siblings, to immerse ourselves in that experience, and to continue the painful but necessary work of turning, turning together from a shameful past to a brighter future. This month provides an opportunity for all of us to be more aware, more educated, bolder, and more committed to the work of justice to which we were first committed in Baptism.

We, members of the Metropolitan New York Synod, Church together, will trust in Jesus and walk with one another to continue the necessary work Jesus proclaimed. We will follow our black, indigenous, and POC siblings of years past, and our present companions who have themselves trusted and suffered and, through it all, kept faith."
 
READ THE FULL MESSAGE HERE
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STORIES FROM OUR SYNOD
A MESSAGE FROM BRANDEN DUPREE, ASSISTANT TO THE BISHOP/DIRECTOR FOR EVANGELICAL MISSION

"Let’s be clear – the demographics are changing. Our church is growing younger, more multicultural, multilingual, and intentionally anti-racist. If the community and leaders that you are trying to reach change, your vision needs to change along with them.
 
The gospel is never irrelevant to the culture, but outdated church models continue to ignore divine disruption and miss the missional opportunity to innovate. Congregations and leaders don’t need to be experts, but we do need to pay attention, with intention. As manifested by our Ecumenism, our interconnectedness urges us to be learning communities intersected through mission and vision.
"
 
READ THE FULL MESSAGE HERE
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STORIES FROM OUR SYNOD
A MESSAGE FROM BRANDEN DUPREE, MNYS ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

"As an African American staff member of the MNYS, I take my responsibilities as an Administrative Assistant very seriously. I use the position I have to downplay the negative stereotypes People of Color have been labeled with by the media, by coming into the office early and working late into the evening.
 
The Love of God has a way of keeping you focused and centered when chaos is all around, helping you see clearly what truly matters."
 
READ THE FULL MESSAGE HERE
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FROM CHURCHWIDE: "NOW IS THE TIME - Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent" Study Guide

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America introduces Now Is the Time: A Study Guide for ELCA Declaration to People of African Descent to help congregations wrestle with the meaning of the declaration, adopted at the 2019 Churchwide Assembly, and its accompanying explanation.

In the declaration, the 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. We lament the white church's failure to work for the abolition of slavery and the perpetuation of racism in this church."

"Now Is the Time" stresses realism, self-examination, and accountability as the church acknowledges and apologizes for the history and impact of slavery and systemic racism. The study guide focuses on deepening our understanding of this history as participants engage in often-difficult conversation and reflection to move the church toward racial healing and justice.
 
DOWNLOAD THE FULL STUDY MATERIALS, HERE.
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FROM OUR PARTNERS: THE AFRICAN DESCENT LUTHERAN ASSOCIATION IN METRO NY

"In 1991, excavators for a new federal office building in Manhattan unearthed the remains of more than 400 Africans stacked in wooden boxes, sixteen to twenty-eight feet below street level. The cemetery dated back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and its discovery ignited an effort by many Northerners to uncover the history of the institutional complicity with slavery.
Through it all, from running away and launching revolts to establishing progressive churches, schools, abolition, and mutual aid societies, Black New Yorkers, enslaved and free, resisted and fought back.
We need many more markers to tell their heroic story."
 
READ MORE HERE.
 
 

"At the heart of the 400th anniversary of slavery, there is a story of endurance, and of how people brought from Africa against their wills played an integral role in the American story. They brought their God-given talents, knowledge, and drive to live in a land that enslaved not only their bodies, but their souls and spirits. We have to rethink the place of those Africans in history. They are not just victims. They survived and contributed.
We can and we must do better.
"

READ MORE HERE.
 
 

"Lift Every Voice and Sing
The hymn opens with a resounding celebration of liberty, “a song full of the faith” and “a song full of the hope." The mood darkens as the song recalls the deadly cruelty and bloody path of enslavement: “Stony the road we trod, Bitter the chast'ning rod.” The song ends by affirming our mighty God, who knows our “weary years” and “silent tear” and leads us into the light
."

READ MORE HERE.
 
 
If they don't give you a seat at the table – bring a folding chairShirley Chisholm

"In 2008 Illinois state senator Barak Obama became the first black presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, making him the first African-American presidential candidate from a major political party. He was elected as the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008, and served two terms. Kamala D. Harris was elected Vice President in 2020 after a lifetime of public service, having being elected District Attorney of San Francisco, California Attorney General, and United States Senator."

READ MORE HERE.

"This space will not allow the listing for or trying to capture the essence of Black culture. There are too many who have impacted American history. Influences included Black heritage and American culture, visual arts, music —jazz blues and spirituals, theater —drama and opera, dance, poetry, fiction, literature, and activism."

READ MORE HERE.
 

Additional Resources from ADLA NY:
In addition to the above resources, there are many other articles and books that inform the impact of slavery in New York and New York State.
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EVENTS

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In commemoration of Black History Month, the Office of the Bishop will be hosting a month-long study series to discuss the newly published Now Is the Time study guide from the ELCA. The study sessions will be guided by Bishop Egensteiner and staff leaders of the MNYS Office of the Bishop.
The first four sessions of this five-part series will take place every Wednesday in February at 6 pm. The last session will take place on Monday, February 28th at 6 pm. If you plan to attend any of these sessions, please review the group guidelines and the background for discussion, from the participant materials guide, here.

The goal of this event is intended to remind us to live as Jesus did and uplift our synod by acknowledging the hurt of racism in our society, and talking openly about how to be better siblings to God's people as Church, TOGETHER.
 

REGISTER FOR SESSIONS 1-4, HERE

REGISTER FOR SESSION 5, HERE

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