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ELCA Churchwide Assembly Addresses Racism in the Church

Updated: Aug 13, 2019

"A Declaration to People of African Descent was presented to representatives of the African Descent Lutheran Association. The declaration was offered by members of the working group established by the ELCA Church Council to develop a document that expresses a confession of the church's bondage to the3 sins of slavery, racism, discrimination, white supremacy and quietism, and begins the work of repentance, which this church confesses to be 'the chief topic of Christian teaching.'

"'This apology is a recommitment to the process of right and equitable relations within this church and the flourishing of Christ's church universal,' Eaton said after the declaration was read. 'This recommitment means working toward a deeper understanding of slavery and its legacy, of institutional and structural racism, of white privilege, and of attitudes and foundations of white supremacy. It means praying for the renewal of this church as disciples of the living Christ.'

"In reply, the Rev. Lamont Wells, president of the African Descent Lutheran Association, said, 'We must abandon our lust for oppressive power, wealth and even our own comfort for the sake of fulfilling God's fulfillment to love others. Throughout history, people have been hurt by this very particular sin. Therefore, we the people of African descent of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America can receive this apology as a divine mark of repentance that serves as a catalyst for change.'

"Eaton said the ELCA will name an annual Day of Repentance for congregations, synods and the churchwide organization."

I think the ELCA is taking a much needed approach to the rampant racism we see today in our country. We are saying we should repent first. In other words, in order to have credibility to call out the racism we see in our country, we need first to get rid of the log in our own eyes before we address the specks in the eyes of others.

As I get older, I become more and more aware of how I and my family have benefited from white privilege and other manifestations of racism. I am proud to be a member of a church which is trying to address its racism instead of trying to deny it like so many do today.

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