July 4, 2018

African Descent Ministries: Color-brave, not Color-blind

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

As president of the ELCA’s African Descent Lutheran Association (ADLA), Lamont Anthony Wells is on a mission to help build not “a color-blind” church but “a color-brave one,” he said. “It’s important for us to be brave enough to have discussions and solve some of the biases that are real in our church.”

Wells has served as president of the association since 2015. He took on the role because of the need for the church to have leaders “unashamedly of African descent, unashamedly Lutheran, unashamedly bold … [and] to share my gifts with the church and lift up a profile of people who have been marginalized and overlooked,” he said.

“One of our primary roles and goals is to connect people of African descent, African Americans, African nationals and Caribbeans (in the ELCA) and gather together as a community,” said Wells, who is also director for evangelical mission for the Metropolitan New York Synod. “We have biennial assemblies, regional gatherings to do fellowship and service.”

A major association goal is to increase African-descent leadership within the church—but barriers persist, Wells stressed.

“We go through the process, get the education,” but once it comes time for a call, there’s a prolonged wait, he said. “We are the largest minority in the ELCA. This gravely affects us disproportionately, particularly with black women who have been approved for ordination. The length of time they wait for a call is up to two to three years. It’s an atrocity.”

 

This is an excerpt of an article originally published at LivingLutheran.org.