Lutherans continue effort to end discrimination

Posted on January 6, 2016 by ELCA News

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), will continue her call to address the complexity and implications of racism in “Confronting Racism: A Holy Yearning” – a live webcast Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. CST, available at www.ELCA.org/webcast.

This is Eaton’s second live webcast on racism. Among other topics, the January webcast will raise the question of the racial disparity in the U.S. criminal justice system, emphasizing the ELCA’s commitment to pray for the incarcerated, their families and communities, and those wrongly convicted, as well as to pray for law enforcers and those who work in the system.

“Racism still exits. One webcast or one call for a conversation about race in our church and society will not address this reality. We must continue our work as a church even when some other issue has grabbed the headlines. The Jan. 14, 2016, live webcast keeps the conversation going and provides an opportunity for members and congregations to go deeper in our listening and in building relationships,” said Eaton.

As racism remains an enduring crisis in the United States, Lutherans continue to make ending discrimination a goal. A group of Lutherans and members of historic Black churches in South Carolina, for example, watched the movie “Selma” together earlier this fall. Following the movie, they engaged in conversation. A video featuring the reflections of participants is available https://vimeo.com/149292606.

“It was an amazing experience of honesty and of people sharing stories, people looking in each other’s eyes and saying, ‘I had no idea that you went through that, and I’m so sorry to hear that.’ And people learning to dialogue with one another in a way that has been some of the most honest conversations about race I have ever participated in,” the Rev. Herman R. Yoos III, bishop of the ELCA South Carolina Synod, shared in the video.

Eaton’s public statements are available at www.ELCA.org/Resources/Presiding-Bishop-Messages.

The ELCA’s social statement “The Church and Criminal Justice: Hearing the Cries” is available at www.ELCA.org/en/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Criminal-Justice and its accompanying study guide, “Called to Hear,” is at http://download.ELCA.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/ELCA_Criminal_Justice.pdf. The ELCA social statement “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture” is available at www.ELCA.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Race-Ethnicity-and-Culture.