Final Draft Racial Justice Statement Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Decorah, IA 

We proclaim that God has created the diversity of humankind in God’s image and we are all equal and beloved children of God. Racism and white supremacy are evils that estrange us from one another, from God, and from the fullness of our humanity. (Genesis 1:27a) 

We are in need of liberation from the sins of racism and white supremacy. (Romans 3:23) 

We confess by what we have done and left undone that we have perpetuated systems of racial injustice and violence. (Micah 6:8) 

We acknowledge that Good Shepherd Lutheran Church is built on land that was home to the Ioway, Otoe-Missouria, Eastern Dakota, Sac, Fox, Winnebago and Ho-Chunk tribes. In 1848, over two thousand Winnebago were forcibly displaced from here by the U.S. military to make way for European-American settlers. (2016 Assembly Action CA16.02.04 Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery) 

We lament that the white Church in the United States, through its dominant place in our country’s culture and history, has actively constructed, justified, and sustained systems of racial injustice and violence. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has marginalized Lutheran Black, Indigenous, and People of Color leaders and communities and perpetuated a patriarchal, monocultural and racially segregated status quo. (From Declaration of the ELCA to Peoples of African Descent issued by ELCA Church Council, June 27, 2019) 

We trust in the new life made possible through Christ’s resurrection and we are hopeful that the Church is an ideal place to engage in the lifelong and transformative work of racial justice. Fostering antiracist ideas and actions is one way that we can follow Jesus’ example of love for our neighbor. When we fail, we will rely on God’s grace, that God might work in and through our 

broken humanity and that we might be sustained to learn from our mistakes and continue to show up for the work of antiracism. (2 Corinthians 5:17-18) 

We commit to listen, learn, and act with courage, kindness, respect, and humility as we practice antiracism both individually and as a congregation. (Galatians 5:22) 

We publicly declare that we will actively pursue racial justice in all aspects of our congregational life and make changes to adopt antiracist policies and practices around worship, education, advocacy, stewardship, governance, and through our community partnerships and relationships. (Ephesians 2: 14-15, Isaiah 56: 6)

Grounding Scriptures1 and ELCA Statements 

We proclaim“God created humankind in God’s image, in the image of God, God created them,” (Genesis 1:27a) 

We are in need“since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) 

We confess“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and 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) 

We acknowledgeour ELCA 2016 churchwide assembly, voted to “repudiate explicitly and clearly the European-derived doctrine of discovery as an example of the ‘improper mixing of the power of the church and the power of the sword’ (Augsburg Confession Article XXVIII), and acknowledge and repent from this church’s complicity in the evils of colonialism in the Americas, which continue to harm tribal governments and individual tribal Members.” (2016 Assembly Action CA16.02.04 Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery) 

We lamentThe ELCA Church Council, In 2019, issued a declaration to Peoples of African Descent which recognizes that “Institutional racism currently exists in the ELCA through discriminatory treatment within the call process; inequitable compensation of clergy of color; racial segregation; divestment from black communities and congregations; systemic polices and organizational practices; and failure to fully include the gifts of leadership and worship styles of people of African descent.” (From Declaration of the ELCA to Peoples of African Descent issued by ELCA Church Council, June 27, 2019) 

We trustSo If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18) 

We committhe fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22) 

We publicly declareFor [Christ] is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us…so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace,” (Ephesians 2: 14-15) 

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” (Isaiah 56: 6) 

1 Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.