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for consideration at the May 2020 Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly

Resolution Regarding the Minimization of Bias in the Sierra Pacific Synod

WHEREAS, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, in its 1993 Social Statement “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture,” committed to: “the goal that, within the first ten years of its existence, ten percent of this church’s membership would be African American, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American;” “the adoption of an organizational principle providing for the representation of cultural diversity on churchwide staff and on boards and other decision-making bodies;” “the effort to start and to support ministry in African American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, or multicultural settings; the effort to recognize and to empower pastoral leaders while honoring their cultures; the effort to provide resources in languages other than English;” “public policy advocacy at state, federal, and international levels that seeks to eliminate racial or ethnic discrimination; the private sector advocacy that encourages corporate social responsibility for community development;” “attention to inclusivity by seminaries, colleges, and social ministry organizations of the church;” and “respect for cultural diversity in the work of global mission.”

WHEREAS, the 2015 Social Message on Gender-based Violence called individuals, congregations, church leaders, social ministry organizations, and church-related institutions or other agencies of the ELCA to: “1. Recognize, name and root out the violence and its sources wherever it is happening. 2. Ensure care and create safe communities that foster healing.  3. Provide education.  4. Create accountability.”

WHEREAS, the 2016 Churchwide Assembly passed a “Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery,” calling the church to “practice accompaniment with native peoples instead of a missionary endeavor to them, allowing these partnerships to mutually enrich indigenous communities and the ministries of the ELCA.”

WHEREAS, the 2019 Churchwide Assembly passed a “Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent,” which called for “a deeper understanding of slavery and its legacy, of institutional and structural racism, of white privilege, and of attitudes and foundations of white supremacy;" therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that Sierra Pacific Synod shall create public and private opportunities for stakeholders to share their experiences of explicit and implicit bias, in order to discern how to minimize bias in the policies, procedures and practices of churchwide, synodical and congregational expressions

and be it further

RESOLVED, that Sierra Pacific Synod shall create a Bias Assessment Tool Kit for Congregations, to be presented at the Synod Assembly in 2021, that will enable congregations to audit their bias footprint, take steps to minimize bias and share best practices with other congregations in the Synod

and be it further

RESOLVED, that Sierra Pacific Synod shall create a strategic plan to minimize bias, to be presented at the Synod Assembly in 2022.


The Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, San Francisco

The Rev. Kirsten Moore, Calvary Lutheran Church, Rio Linda

The Rev. Dr. Susan Strouse, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Burlingame

The Rev. Connie Winter-Eulberg, St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, San Mateo

The Rev. Joshua Serrano, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, San Carlos

The Rev. Kerstin Weidmann, St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, San Francisco

The Rev. Lyle Beckman, Christ Church Lutheran, San Francisco

The Rev. Elizabeth Eckdale, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, San Francisco

The Rev. Bea Chun, St. Francis Lutheran Church, San Francisco

The Rev. Manda Truchinski, Christ the Good Shepherd, San Jose

The Rev. Tuhina Rasche, University AME Zion Church, Palo Alto

The Rev. John Kuehner, Unity Lutheran Church, South San Francisco

The Rev. Cary Bass-Deschenes, Lutheran Church of the Cross, Berkeley, CA

The Racial/Ethnic Mission Strategy Discipling Team of the Sierra Pacific Synod (REMS)

The Rev. Linda Boston, (REMS)

Stephanie Leong, (REMS)

The Rev. Trudy Franzen, St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, El Dorado Hills (REMS)

The Rev. Ned O’Donnell, Trinity Lutheran Church, Oakland, CA (REMS)

The Rev. Anne Carlson, retired (REMS)

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