Anti-Racism Team

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Synod’s Anti-Racism Team (ART) is available to help lead  your congregation understand racism as it exists in individuals, institutions, and societal structures, including our churches, and how to become allies with persons who live with this sin on a daily basis.

You can begin the process by inviting ART to your group for an introductory 2-hour overview.  Once your group has committed to embark on this journey, the training encompasses 18-24 hours which can be customized to fit your group’s schedule (for example, the training could be done on 3 Saturdays consecutively or 3 Saturdays over the course of 3 months.)  ART also invites you to join the team.

For more information, please send an email to

ART now offers quarterly training events


“Having Helpful Conversations about Race in the Church”

Anti-Racism Training for Rostered and Lay Leaders” (Context-2)

Saturday, November 16, 2019
9am – 4:30pm

St. Luke Lutheran Church
203 N Valley Forge Rd
Devon, PA 19333

Register by sending an email to antiracism at sepa dot org
Deadline: Friday, November 8
Registration Fee is $15* which includes lunch and materials.
(Some scholarships are available)

*Registration fee may be paid on-site in cash or by check. Checks ($15) should be made out to “SEPA-ELCA” and on the memo line, write “Anti-racism” as well as participant’s full name. Pre-payment checks should be mailed to Ms. Mercedes Lee, Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA, 7241 Germantown Avenue, Wiedemann Center, Philadelphia, PA 19119.

This is the second in a series of four anti-racism educational events based on a model produced by WELCA. Participants are asked to bring humility, curiosity and courage as we together enter the conversation. The curriculum involves four events covering the following areas:

Part 1 (Context) addresses gaps in what we have learned of our nation’s history, describing events which have deeply affected people of color but which often go untold. (9/21/2019)

Part 2 (Context) continues with the history of racism in the United States after slavery was abolished, describing how assumptions harmful to people of color have become embedded in attitudes and institutions and continue to affect them today (11/16/2019)

Part 3 (Connection) examines how our (mis)perceptions of others can be due to a lack of connectiveness. How can individuals, especially Lutherans, understand each other’s circumstances and life experiences in order to connect? (scheduled for 2020)

Part 4 (Conversation) will provide ways to begin the conversation of race in the church with a goal of becomingeffective advocates for racial justice.(scheduled for 2020).



Assembly Passes Anti-Racism Education Resolution

The 2019 Synod Assembly approved a resolution that established a requirement for rostered ministers to take anti-racism training at least as often as is currently required for boundaries training.

For more information contact:  Mercedes Lee, 267.323.3752,


“The reason I participate is that this is not something we can leave to other people. Someone said yesterday that they hoped God will get this done. Well, God has been telling us to get it done forever.

“The only way this gets done is that God has given us these tasks at baptism, to love everyone, to love our brothers and sisters in Christ, to love the people that are with us all the time. That is what we are called to do.” 

— The Rev. Susie Folks

“When I joined the anti-racism team last summer I had no idea how much implicit bias I was carrying around, nor did I grasp that my long life has been smoothed since birth by white privilge. I am starting to get it.

“The Lutheran Church, with it’s life-giving theology of grace…has always been culturally embedded in whiteness… It’s time for us…to get honest with ourselves. … We need to repent.”

— Ms. Janet Bischoff

“When it comes to waking up to the implicit bias through which I see others… when it comes to the unsought privilege that my unchosen skin color affords me in society… and when it comes to understanding how unfair laws and unchallenged cultural practices have shaped my life by an inheritance of institutional racism, not just unlearned habits of the heart, I tell you my eyes are just beginning to open.”

— The Rev. Christopher Weidner


Anti Racism-Speak Up

Speak Up! Responding to Everyday Bigotry (PDF booklet from Southern Poverty Law Center)


Anti-Racism Confession and Reconciliation

Anti-Racism Confession and Reconciliation (Introduced at 2017 Synod Assembly)



Anti-Racism Team Introduction (Video from 2017 Synod Assembly)



Rev. Christopher Weidner on his experience with the ART (Video from 2017 Synod Assembly)



Ms. Janet Bischoff on white privilege and racism and the church (Video from 2017 Synod Assembly)