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ELCA Reaffirms Commitment to Combat Racism and White Supremacy

May 29, 2020 
What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8).

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) reaffirms its commitment to combating racism and white supremacy following the recent murders of Black Americans. Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Dreasjon (Sean) Reed, and George Floyd were our neighbors. Ahmaud Arbery was chased down, shot, and killed by a retired police officer and his son while jogging in Brunswick, Ga. (Feb. 23, 2020). Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was shot eight times by Louisville Metro Police Department officers who entered her apartment while serving a "no-knock warrant" (March 13, 2020). Dreasjon (Sean) Reed, a 21-year-old from Indianapolis died after being shot at least eight times by an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer (May 6, 2020). George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis while begging for his life, a block away from Calvary Lutheran, an ELCA congregation (May 25, 2020). As the Conference of Bishops, we condemn the white supremacy that has led to the deaths of so many unarmed Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color in our country. We grieve with, pray for and stand in solidarity with the families and friends of all whose loved ones have been and continue to be victims of injustices run amok, racist violence and the insidious venom of white supremacy.

The ELCA’s social policy resolution, “Condemnation of White Supremacy and Racist Rhetoric,” adopted by the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, states: “As persons called to love one another as God has loved us, we therefore proclaim our commitment to speak with one voice against racism and white supremacy. We stand with those who are targets of racist ideologies and actions.” As church, together we must work to condemn white supremacy in all forms and recommit ourselves to confront and exorcize the sins of injustice, racism and white supremacy in church and society and within ourselves as individuals and households.

On May 21, the ELCA Southeastern Synod hosted a webinar: “Becoming the Body of Christ – Condemning White Supremacy” in response to the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. This is one of many strategic opportunities happening across this church to address white supremacy and racist rhetoric. On June 17, we will gather again as church to commemorate the Mother Emanuel 9 and to repent of racism and white supremacy. An online ELCA prayer service, including leaders from across the church and Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton as preacher, is being planned for June 17, 2020, marking the fifth anniversary of the martyrdom of the Emanuel 9. We encourage congregations to reaffirm their commitment to repenting of the sins of racism and dismantling white supremacy that continue to plague this church by marking this day of penitence with study and prayer leading to action.

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Deacon Sue Rothmeyer
The Rev. Tracie L. Bartholomew
Bishop, New Jersey Synod
Chair, Conference of Bishops
The Rev. Thomas M. Aitken
Bishop, Northeastern Minnesota Synod
The Rev. Abraham D. Allende
Bishop, Northeastern Ohio Synod
The Rev. Jon V. Anderson           
Bishop, Southwestern Minnesota Synod
The Rev. James A. Arends           
Bishop, La Crosse Area Synod
The Rev. Daniel G. Beaudoin
Bishop, Northwestern Ohio Synod
The Rev. Susan J. Briner
Bishop, Southwestern Texas Synod
The Rev. Shelley M. Bryan Wee
Bishop, Northwest Washington Synod
The Rev. Michael L. Burk            
Bishop, Southeastern Iowa Synod
The Rev. Susan Candea 
Bishop, Central States Synod
The Rev. H. Jeffrey Clements
Bishop, Northern Illinois Synod
The Rev. Barbara J. Collins         
Bishop, Upper Susquehanna Synod
The Rev. Yehiel Curry    
Bishop, Metropolitan Chicago Synod
The Rev. Patricia A. Davenport
Bishop, Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod
The Rev. Suzanne D. Dillahunt
Bishop, Southern Ohio Synod
The Rev. James S. Dunlop           
Bishop, Lower Susquehanna Synod
The Rev. Paul T. Egensteiner
Bishop, Metropolitan New York Synod
The Rev. Paul D. Erickson            
Bishop, Greater Milwaukee Synod
The Rev. R. Guy Erwin   
Bishop, Southwest California Synod
The Rev. Katherine A. Finegan
Bishop, Northern Great Lakes Synod
The Rev. William O. Gafkjen
Bishop, Indiana-Kentucky Synod
The Rev. Michael K. Girlinghouse            
Bishop, Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod
The Rev. William J. Gohl
Bishop, Delaware-Maryland Synod
The Rev. James W. Gonia           
Bishop, Rocky Mountain Synod
The Rev. Erik K. Gronberg           
Bishop, Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod
The Rev. Constanze Hagmaier
Bishop, South Dakota Synod
The Rev. Lorna H. Halaas            
Bishop, Western Iowa Synod
The Rev. Regina M. Hassanally
Bishop, Southeastern Minnesota Synod
The Rev. James E. Hazelwood
Bishop, New England Synod
The Rev. Mark W. Holmerud
Bishop, Sierra Pacific Synod
The Rev. Robert F. Humphrey
Bishop, Virginia Synod
The Rev. Deborah K. Hutterer
Bishop, Grand Canyon Synod
The Rev. Richard E. Jaech
Bishop, Southwestern Washington Synod
The Rev. Laurie A. Jungling         
Bishop, Montana Synod
The Rev. Donald P. Kreiss           
Bishop, Southeast Michigan Synod
The Rev. Wilma S. Kucharek
Bishop, Slovak Zion Synod
The Rev. Kristen E. Kuempel
Bishop, Northwest Intermountain Synod
The Rev. Kurt F. Kusserow          
Bishop, Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod
The Rev. Laurie A. Larson Caesar
Bishop, Oregon Synod
The Rev. Michael L. Lozano
Bishop, Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod
The Rev. Patricia J. Lull  
Bishop, Saint Paul Area Synod
The Rev. Brian D. Maas 
Bishop, Nebraska Synod
The Rev. John S. Macholz           
Bishop, Upstate New York Synod
The Rev. Gerald L. Mansholt
Bishop, East-Central Synod of Wisconsin
The Rev. Idalia Negron-Caamano            
Bishop, Caribbean Synod
The Rev. Leila M. Ortiz  
Bishop, Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Synod
The Rev. Michael L. Rhyne          
Bishop, Allegheny Synod
The Rev. Michael W. Rinehart
Bishop, Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod
The Rev. Peter Rogness 
Interim Bishop, South-Central Synod of Wisconsin
The Rev. S. John Roth    
Bishop, Central/Southern Illinois Synod
The Rev. Craig A. Satterlee         
Bishop, North/West Lower Michigan Synod
The Rev. Laurie Skow-Anderson
Bishop, Northwest Synod of Wisconsin
The Rev. Timothy M. Smith
Bishop, North Carolina Synod
The Rev. Kevin L. Strickland
Bishop, Southeastern Synod
The Rev. Pedro M. Suarez           
Bishop, Florida-Bahamas Synod
The Rev. Ann M. Svennungsen
Bishop, Minneapolis Area Synod
The Rev. Andrew A. Taylor         
Bishop, Pacifica Synod
The Rev. William T. Tesch           
Bishop, Northwestern Minnesota Synod
The Rev. Steven L. Ullestad
Bishop, Northeastern Iowa Synod
The Rev. Shelley R. Wickstrom
Bishop, Alaska Synod
The Rev. Lawrence R. Wohlrabe
Interim Bishop, Eastern North Dakota Synod
The Rev. Herman R. Yoos           
Bishop, South Carolina Synod
The Rev. Samuel R. Zeiser           
Bishop, Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod
The Rev. David Zellmer 
Interim Bishop, Western North Dakota Synod

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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands.,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.

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