The hard but undeniable fact of deeply embedded racism in American society has come to the fore in painful ways this past year through high-profile occurrences of racial discrimination, hatred and violence - including racially motivated killings. As Lutheran Christians, what should be our response and witness? As members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, how are we called to confront the sin of racism?
We need to talk and we need to listen, but we also need to act.
Through our church’s social statement - “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture” - the ELCA collectively has expressed its calling to confront racism and advocate for justice and fairness for all people. You can read this social statement here. In addition, I have made several public statements on behalf of the church recently on this subject. Those statements are available here.
God’s intention for all humanity is that we see the intrinsic worth, dignity and value of all people. Racism undermines the promise of community and fractures authentic relationships with one another. As Christians, though, we live in the conviction that the church has been gathered together in the joyful freedom of the reign of God announced by and embodied in Jesus. That reign has not come in its fullness, but the message of God’s “yes” to the world breaks down all dividing walls as we live into that promise.
I urge you to deepen your involvement in and commitment to this important work to which we all are called.
Your Sister in Christ,
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
In their statements regarding the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriages, Bishop Tiemann and ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton mention that the decision of how the ruling affects ELCA churches will need to be determined by individual congregations. Bishop Eaton said, “congregations and clergy should discern together whether to recognize such relationships and to what degree.“
Please use the resources below to help start the conversations needed to determine what the court’s decision means for your congregation. If you need further congregational guidance please contact the synod offices at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sample language for a church council to adopt if they choose to have the pastor(s) make the decision on who they will marry: Congregational Council voted to confirm the pastoral call to lead the rites of the church and to support the pastor’s authority and decision in leading the rite of marriage at _______ congregation.
The Southwestern Texas Synod is part of Region 4 of the