calendar February 10, 2020 in Communications

Lutheran Roots and Seeds of Protest

The Life and Legacy of Daniel Alexander Payne
Daniel Alexander Payne, the first African-American admitted to a Lutheran seminary in 1835, went on to have an influential career as a preacher and bishop. But not in a Lutheran church — he was ordained in 1839 but joined the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church two years later, and elected its bishop in 1852.
“As bishop, Payne advanced the AME Church to become a learned body of congregants; his impact on American society was profound,” writes the Rev Dr. William Flippin Jr., director of evangelical mission in our synod, in an article in the current issue of Living Lutheran magazine. 
“It’s ironic that, in the same year of his ordination, Payne published in the Lutheran Herald and Journal of the Frankean Synod a treatise on the history of Negro protest against slavery. Seminary records suggest that his address in support of ending slavery, which he gave to a Lutheran Synodical Report in 1839, would influence a great number of antislavery resolutions later produced by his seminary companions,” Flippin writes.
The lesson for the church today? Flippin says: “The challenge before us today as ELCA Lutherans is to continue to cultivate education, as we have always done, but also to elevate the voices of protest that may be found in the successors to Daniel Alexander Payne.”