Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Attention European American Lutherans

Shrimp here, passing on a blurb ELCA "communicators" were asked last week to share widely:
You are invited to participate in the constituting assembly of the European American Lutheran Association (EALA) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America October 30 - November 1 at the Lutheran Center, 8765 W. Higgins Road, Chicago, IL 60631. The event will include opportunities for worship, theological reflection, conversation with leaders from other ethnic associations in the ELCA, and workshops. We will also ratify the EALA constitution and by-laws as well as elect the association leadership. Registration deadline is September 30. For registration information, contact Sally Miles at (773) 380-2787 or For questions or concerns regarding the EALA, please contact Kathy Long at
The next paragraph looks like an explanation, rather than part of the blurb, but we offer it just in case.
This workshop is designed for people of European American descent who wish to stand as allies with communities of color as they take a stand against racism. More detailed information including the conference letter, registration form, and the draft by-laws are attached.
The letter only adds information about registration, lodging, and meals. The proposed bylaws are more, uh, interesting:


The “European American Lutheran Association recognizes the realities in the ELCA where “ethnic associations” are a part of the structure.  We find that the more commonly used term in our society for European American is “white.”  Because race is a legal category in the US, and since White Privilege comes with skin color and not ancestry, the association welcomes persons who are willing to struggle with a group identification that is a matter of both personal choice and legal/structural categories.  The members of the European American Lutheran Association commit themselves to a lifelong journey of addressing issues of white power and privilege both individually and as a collective as well as to dismantling structures in the ELCA which privilege white/European Americans and disadvantage people of color.

Article I: Name

The name of this organization shall be the European American Lutheran Association (EALA) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

Article II: Object/Purpose

A. The purpose of EALA is to live out our commitment to dismantle racism and white privilege by “speaking truth to power” within the institutional church and the wider society by:
  1. Organizing as an alliance of people of European American descent who will stand as allies with people of color in the struggle to address and dismantle racism;
  2. Organizing with the ELCA and its three expressions, that is, Churchwide (National Church), Synods and Congregations, to fulfill the ELCA’s commitments to anti-racist multiculturalism, and to become inclusive and anti-racist;
  3. Educating ourselves and the ELCA about racism and our participation in systems that oppress others and privilege us;
  4. Learning more about the many rich and diverse cultures and national identities that currently are or that will be present in the ELCA, its ecumenical partners or interfaith relationships;
Article III: Accountability

A. We will seek to develop relationships of accountability, honesty and trust with people of color in order to journey together to building a racism free church by:
  1. Working specifically with the other ELCA ethnic specific Associations –
      a. Asian and Pacific Islander Association
      b. American Indian and Alaska Native Association
      c. Arab and Middle Eastern Association
      d. African American Lutheran Association
      e. Latino Association
  2. Fostering a culture of accountability by committing to monitor our work by using various tools such as process observation at Association meetings and gatherings by people of color designated by the communities of color as observers of the process;
  3. Building alliances and gain clarity among entities doing anti-racism work in the church and in society with a goal to make our collective efforts efficient, effective and accountable. These alliances include, but are not limited to
      a. Synodical anti-racism initiatives
      b. Multicultural Ministries Unit
      c. Multicultural Advisory Committee of LYO
      d. Director for Racial Justice – Multicultural Ministries
      e. Coordinator for Anti-racism Education and Training – Office of the Presiding Bishop
      f. WELCA
      g. Crossroads Anti-Racism Organizing and Training
      h. Lutheran Human Relations Association
      i. Other ecumenical partners and organizations as they are identified
      j. Secular organizations engaged in pursuing similar goals.
B. Evaluation of progress toward fulfilling the purpose will be based on the following and other criteria that the EALA may develop from time to time:
  1. Acknowledge what we do not know and/or understand;
  2. Intentionally undertake self-evaluation through such methods as process observation, feedback from other ELCA associations on how we might improve and how we are doing, and member feedback at meetings/gatherings.

(The rest of the proposed bylaws detail how the association orders itself.)

After the EALA and its cohorts successfully build a racism-free church, perhaps we can finally all get together to build a sin-free church.

Shrimp out.

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