The Rev. Paul Egensteiner, Bishop of the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Living during a time and in a political climate of heightened polarization and division makes it difficult to remember and value the common sense of purpose that gives us strength, compassion, and wisdom as individuals, as advocates, as citizens, and as people of God. Our current environment is overwhelmed with messages of hate that are meant to divide us; therefore, it is our mission and duty to God and to one another to reclaim our shared ethic of compassion and equality as we strive to move forward together.
As children of God, we see one another on even ground and uphold each other’s differences and gifts, for these are the very attributes that give us the diversity that enriches our communities. In the face of discrimination, it is important to remember the strength of healthy, integrated communities. One way to dismantle racism is through thoughtful conversations that include everyone; therefore, no one is left without a voice or an opportunity to express themselves. In my own church body, the Metropolitan New York Synod (MNYS) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), my vision is for our synod, congregations, and communities to be a place where we consistently have constructive and healthy conversations about who we are—individually and collectively—as the body of Christ. As soon as we realize how much richer life becomes when we are breathing, thinking, speaking, praying, acting, and loving TOGETHER; hate, discrimination, and discord begin to fade.
This sentiment of reflective conversation and unity has inspired our motto of “We Are Church Together,” and in this way, we are community together, we are individuals together, we are hopeful together, and we are resilient together. Always for the sake of the other, for those most in need, and in response to God's call to be TOGETHER.