The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Be aware

The ELCA has developed a 1 1/2 day program as part of its 10-year plan to bring anti-racism training to the entire church.

Developed by Lutheran Human Relations, Milwaukee, the training has been provided to most churchwide office employees and the bishops (see reactions that follow).

The program includes open, frank discussions, role-playing and Bible study to acknowledge, analyze and dismantle racism without creating blame or shame for participants. It includes action steps to incorporate responses to racism in our church and society.

"We wanted a program that is Christian, that is intensive and comprehensive," said Fred Rajan, executive director of the ELCA Commission for Multicultural Ministries.

The ELCA also provides a five-day facilitator program to train volunteers nationwide how to teach the anti-racism course to their synods, schools or congregations. The plan, Rajan said, is to train 100 people a year for 10 years.

Refresher courses will be offered yearly for both facilitators and anti-racism trainees who would like more in-depth study.

Educational resources are being created for congregations to study the impact of racism, beginning with an adult forum, Even the Stones Will Cry Out for Justice, which covers institutionalized racism.

The training, Rajan said, may go a long way in helping the church attain its diversity goals.

"People come to this church because our congregations are welcoming places," Rajan said. "One of the biggest barriers to building human relationships is racism. By offering our program we hope our church will understand the impact of racism in society, and that by looking at its effect we can develop an effective evangelism strategy to reach all types of people."

For more information about the program, contact the Commission for Multicultural Ministries at (800) 638-3522, Ext. 2840. For the Bible study Even the Stones Will Cry Out for Justice, call (800) 328-4648, code no. 34-10761-2105.


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