Mission Moment: Racial Equity Task Force to Focus Next on Partnerships & Programs

South-Central Synod of Wisconsin Racial Equity Task Force to Focus Next on Partnerships & Programs
By Mary Nervig, Chair, Racial Equity Task Force & Deacon Vicki Hanrahan

The South-Central Synod of Wisconsin Racial Equity Task Force was formed in 2017 in response to the synod assembly resolution mandating the provision of educational events related to promoting racial justice and the ELCA churchwide memorial mandating that each synod provide anti-racism training for all rostered individuals.   The mission statement of this synod’s Task Force has been to educate, with an understanding that “the way out is back through.” As a people who have been reconciled to Godself through Christ, our mission is to seek reconciliation with all our brothers and sisters.

The task force has been presenting in person programs since 2017, recordings of which are archived on the website available for congregations to use as a resource for learning.  Video links:  https://scsw-elca.org/ministries-and-partners/racial-equity/

Our team is very pleased that in the past year, many synod congregations have borne fruit in this ministry area by beginning book discussion groups and hosting events addressing issues of racism for the larger community.  In addition, there are educational possibilities in the wider community sponsored by other entities that address racism and racial equity.

As this good work in our congregations continues and grows, the Racial Equity Task Force will refocus its efforts on partnerships and programs.  We will no longer be hosting monthly educational events and will instead support and lift up congregational events and the occasional Racial Equity Ministry Task Force educational event.  All will be featured under the Racial Equity banner in What Matters. Look here for events at locations throughout the synod!

It has been a wonderful year and a half of programs and many good relationships have been built. Those who have attended have commented on the growth in awareness that has happened as a result of the presentations by so many gifted and knowledgeable presenters. Seeds have been sown and growth is on-going throughout our synod!  Blessings as you begin this new program year in your congregation. May you be finding times and spaces to do the important work of racial justice as part of your ministries.

The next event in which you are invited will be hosted by Madison Christian Community.  Madison Christian Community has created their own Racial Justice Task Force.  This faithful group is a beautiful example of how we are always being made new!  What started out as an initiative for personal enrichment (which by the way included a Big Read for the synod that then was part of a statewide push) has now moved into a task force whose primary interest is in presenting opportunities for learning offerings to others wishing to know more.

This faithful group is moving more deeply into their work for racial justice, from the what of racial inequity to the “what now” of racial justice work.  As they believed, “The more one engages at a personal level, the more the journey requires from us. Yet, it is exactly this engagement that signals a movement from being merely an observer or information-gatherer to becoming an active participant in the anti-racism movement.”  Hosting and organizing these movie viewings and conversations is a mission moment we wanted to recognize as it continues the good work of the movement in the synod toward a better, more loving and inclusive beloved community.  Let’s continue to walk together!