In 2019, at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly, voting members adopted a resolution appointed June 17 as a day of remembrance of the martyrdom of the Emanuel 9—the nine people shot and killed on June 17, 2015, during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.
Congregations and members of the ELCA are encouraged to use this day of penitence as a day for intentional study and prayer.
As church we are called to confess the sin of racism, condemn the ideology of white supremacy, and strive for racial justice and peace. Beyond statements and prayers, we are called to also act and respond to injustices.
The ELCA has taken this call another step further in light of current national events. In the wake of the unjust murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, conversations regarding systemic racism in our country and beyond have sparked and the ELCA invites you to sign the ELCA Anti-Racism Pledge.
|A Letter from Bishop Laurie|
June 2, 2020
Dear Beloved of God,
Today is the Tuesday after Pentecost. And Spirit? She is swirling! Now, as then, we stand at a tense moment in history: hearts burn and protesters pray and unexpected preachers preach and a spirit of change blows with hope. Those who serve the status quo watch, smirk, and ask, “Aren’t you just drunk, foolhardy, angry, entitled, or all of the above?”
I am a bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American, the whitest denomination in the United States. I serve the Oregon Synod, perhaps the whitest synod in the ELCA. I have been long marinated in my privilege. So as I light a candle and pray for racial justice and the long-deferred dream of wholeness, I have more questions than answers:
How do you kneel on a human being’s neck for nine minutes?
How many precautions are needed before a brown or black bodied person can jog unarmed down a street?
How can the dignity of entire groups of people, in a nation, a church, a region I love so much, be so willfully overlooked for four-hundred years and counting?
How have I benefited from silence, and what does truly liberating action look like?
What would it look like for the ELCA to “take a knee”?
I don’t know. But I do know some things:
White Supremacy reigns, and it isn’t simply about individuals, it’s about systems and institutions which consistently privilege one race above all others.
Racism and white supremacy are sins. Though I am committed to an anti-racist life and learnings, having been marinated in the white supremacy of my culture and, by virtue of the color of my skin, I am racist.All people are God’s beloveds and to be able to see that we need to help center the experiences of those who’ve been marginalized and silenced for eons. The violence we see all around us is dangerous, and yet is a response to a culture which violates, and has violated, black and brown bodies for centuries.It’s time I learned to listen. It’s time the institutions I love learn to be open to radical transformation.None of this work toward justice, peace, and transformation, which is God’s work, will be easy.
Christ’s redeeming, liberating love will lead the way if we are truly open to its capacity to be a light, set on a hill, making visible what has not been visible – the dignity of black and brown bodies, the sins of past and present racism and the transformational work ahead. Please join me in responding out of that divine mandate to courageous love in difficult times.
I ask you consider giving one month’s worth of your congregation’s mission support which would otherwise go to the Oregon Synod and donate it to a trusted local organization working toward racial justice and the dismantling of white supremacy. (List of possibilities below.)
This will impact the synod office, yes, but it will also be sacramental; body and blood, given for the world. Pray for your neighbor. Educate yourself. Challenge racism wherever you see it. And believe in the power of Spirit to change this world.
|Organizations Working Towards Racial Justice|
The NAACP (The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
United Oregon Dont Shoot Pdx
SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice)Corvallis SURJ– Corvallis, OREmail: info@CorvallisSURJ.orgFacebook
SURJ PDX – Portland, OREmail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website Facebook
Forest Grove, OR SURJBrenda Zook FriesenEmail: email@example.com Facebook
SURJ Eugene– Eugene, OREmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Racial Justice in Eastern OregonEmail: email@example.com Facebook
Clackamas County SURJ-Oregon City, OregonEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Black Lives Matter
Oregon does not have a chapter yet. You could start one.
Color of Change
ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)
Women of the ELCA Triennial Convention and Gathering POSTPONED!!!
New dates: August 3-5th, 2021 for convention and 5-8th, 2021 for gathering.
Do you have a prayer request? Contact us, and we’ll add it to our prayer lists! Use the contact us form, or email Stephanie or Dorene directly. You may leave as much or as little information as you would like.
Please know that the contact form requires some information, so if you would like to be anonymous, please choose to email one of us directly.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
It has been really hard not being able to be together with friends and family outside of our own homes during this #stayhomesavelives order.
The ELCA started the #ELCAchurchtogether campaign as a way to encourage churches to share with each other what new and innovative ways they could come up with to keep sharing the Good News!! We want to know what you have been doing at your church to keep in contact with each other.
What have you been able to accomplish while keeping up with social distancing policies? Did you make the switch to online sermons? Have you done drive thru communion?
Send us your #CoronavirusChurchChanges and we’ll share them on our Facebook. Be sure to like us on Facebook to see what everyone else is doing to keep in touch with their congregation too!