Confronting Racism and Anti-Semitism

We live in a time where tensions seem to continue to rise. Protests, anger, and even violence are occurring throughout the nation. We, as a church, stand on the side of justice, equality, and life for all people. As a church, St. Peter’s states that:

“We believe that all people are created by God. We affirm with the apostle Paul, that in Christ “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female” (Galatians 3:38). Christ has made us all one. In keeping with our mission to share the life, love, and joy of Jesus Christ with all people regardless of what might cause exclusion or discrimination outside of St. Peter’s. In this place all are welcome. As a community we subscribe to the Reconciling in Christ program. We affirm that all people share the worth that comes from being unique individuals created by God. All people are welcome in this community of Christ. Together we share the grace, love, and mercy of God in Christ with all people in worship, service, and life.” (Excerpt from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church “We Believe” Statement)

There is no place for racism or anti-Semitism in our churches or in our society. We are a people of welcome, a people of understanding, a people of justice, and a people of equality. As a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America we stand with the larger church body which stated in their “Commitment to confronting racism and anti-Semitism”:

“The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), stands against all forms of hatred and discrimination. The church believes that cultural, ethnic and racial differences should be seen and celebrated as what God intends them to be—blessings rather than means of oppression and discrimination.

The ELCA’s social statement “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture” states: “Racism—a mix of power, privilege, and prejudice—is sin, a violation of God’s intention for humanity. The resulting racial, ethnic, or cultural barriers deny the truth that all people are God’s creatures and, therefore, persons of dignity. Racism fractures and fragments both church and society.”

The social statement, adopted by the ELCA 1993 Churchwide Assembly, calls on the church to make confession for complicity, name the spiritual crisis at the roots, commit to change and make pledges to public witness, advocacy and action to confront racism. 

“We recognize that the kind of violence we witnessed in Charlottesville last weekend is very real and affects all of us,” said ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton. “We need to stand up firmly against racism and anti-Semitism, show up for and advocate with others. Jesus, who makes visible those who are invisible, is already there. We need to show up, and we need to listen in each of our communities.”

The ELCA is a church that belongs to Christ and Christ’s church universal, where there is a place for everyone. The job of Christ’s people today is to celebrate the diversity of God’s creative work and embrace all people in the spirit of love, whatever race or ethnicity, economic status or gender.” (ELCA Commitment to confronting racism and anti-Semitism)

We live together and believe that cultural, ethnic, and racial differences should be welcomed, celebrated, and viewed as God’s blessing and we firmly stand against all forms of racism and anti-Semitism. To read the ELCA Social Statement: Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture please click here. And we encourage all of you to stand with St. Peter’s and with the ELCA and with all people who believe in equality and God’s blessings of cultures, ethnicities, and racial differences.

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