ELCA reaffirms commitment to combat racism and white supremacy

5/29/2020 2:45:00 PM

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.  https://www.elca.org/emanuelnine

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