May 29, 2020   

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. 

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