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In 1993 we adopted the social statement Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture which:

expresses the ELCA’s calling to celebrate culture and ethnicity.  This calling commits the ELCA to confront racism, to engage in public leadership, witness and deliberation on these matters, and to advocate for justice and fairness for all people. The statement is grounded in the conviction that the church has been gathered together in the joyful freedom of the reign of God as announced by and embodied in Jesus. That reign has not come in its fullness, but the message of God's yes to the world breaks down all dividing walls as we live into that promise.


Over 25 years later, we remain one of the “whitest” mainline denominations.  We live in a country where the realities of race continue to affect people’s lives in divisive and destructive ways. At last summer’s Churchwide Assembly, the ELCA took several steps committing us as a church body to the work of racial reconciliation, not only in the church but in the culture around us. 

In late April we had scheduled three opportunities to participate in a workshop to talk about race recognizing that the first step in this work is self-examination and theological reflection.  And this work must begin with us, as rostered ministers and Parish Ministry Associates serving as pastoral leaders, for we have the responsibility to preach the word, teach Scripture, and call God’s people to work for peace and justice. 


What has become apparent through this coronavirus pandemic is that race is indeed a factor that affects so many aspects of our life together as a society, including one’s physical health.  We must continue to address racism not only as a society but as a church.  Therefore, in this time when we cannot meet in person, we will be offering this workshop on line.


This workshop will be facilitated by the original presenters, Terrence Freeman, and Aimee Appell. Information on how to register as well as the components of the workshop are listed below. This is a professional development workshop that all rostered ministers and PMAs serving under covenant with congregations are asked to complete.


Registration: (Register Here)

  • All rostered ministers and PMAs are asked to register.

  • There is no cost to participate.  

  • Progress sheet - fill out as you complete the requirements and return it to the synod office.



1. Reading Assignment:  Please choose one of the books listed below.

                            White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

                            So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo

                            Who Lynched Willie Earle?  Preaching to Confront Racism by Wil Willimon

                            Waking up White by Debbie Irving

                            Preaching about Racism: A Guide for Faith Leaders. By Carolyn Helsel                  

                            Me and White Supremacy. By Layla Saad


Individuals may either. . .

- write a brief reflection on what they found most challenging; most helpful; etc. OR

- have a conversation partner with a person reading the same book.

(If you would like to have a conversation partner, please indicate that on the registration form along with the book you are planning to read. )


2. Participate (or listen to the recordings) of two one-hour Zoom presentations with time for questions following the presentation.

(Zoom links will be sent to registered participants or posted on the synod website)

Terrence Freeman –  May 11  (Watch the Recording)


PowerPoint Presentation - May 11

Dismantling Racism Booklet

Construction of Race and Racism

Dismantling Racism Resource Book (Western States Center)

Video Resources

Aimee Appell –  May 18 (Watch the Recording)


Reading Lists

Shame Hermeneutic

Preaching to Interrupt White Culture


3. Participate in one of four one-hour Zoom discussion facilitated by presenters and synod staff. Participants may choose the session most convenient for their own schedule.

Remaining sessions:

Tuesday, June 23 at 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, June 25 at 7:00 p.m.


The Rev. Aimee Appell:  Aimée has served Peace Lutheran in Washington, MO, since 2010. During that time, she has followed a call to the work of racial justice and interfaith ministry. She is the chair of Neighbors United-Undoing Racism, a local coalition dedicated to education, community engagement, and relationship building in Franklin County. She is currently pursuing her D.Min. in Gospel, Culture, and Transformation at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, focusing on preaching and teaching about race in majority culture (i.e., white) contexts.

Terrence L. Freeman is a retired Professor of Mechanical Engineering (St. Louis Community College) and the founder of TransEd (Transitional Education and Consulting Services). He graduated with honors from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a B.S. and from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering. He has served as a Research Engineer for Western Electric and Ralston Purina Co. and as Senior Project Engineer for Mallinckrodt, Inc. He has over 30 years of local and national experience as a facilitator/trainer in diversity and inclusion with A World of Difference Institute. He currently serves as the National Youth Conference Coordinator for 100 Black Men of America. He is the current Council President of St. Philip’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, a member of the Central States Synod Council and a member of the Eastern Missouri Conference Strategy Team (CSS-ELCA).


Participation in these events will be recorded and kept on file at the synod office.