Another Pebble is engaged in an intentional, ongoing effort to provide tools that will assist the Church to fulfill its vision of becoming antiracist.
Our primary focus is on shaping an awareness of how racism manifests itself in our Church and society. We endeavor to assist individuals as they begin to understand and accept a common analysis of institutional racism and its destructive effects on our lives.
It is this common understanding that enables us to jointly identify and confront the systems and structures that continue to perpetuate, support and enable the racial construct in our country.
All of our work is conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect, caring and safety, and is not based on confrontation, guilt and judgment.
To date, hundreds of people have participated in one our events. Join the conversation!
Called and compelled by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the ELCA publicly commits to intentionally transforming into a synod actively engaged in dismantling racism in its institutions, governing documents, congregations and wider community through shared antiracist power and accountability, transparency in all decision making and delight in all traditions, languages and cultures as we carry on a faith of welcome, justice, hope and joy.
Introducing a common analysis of racism; engendering a “conversation” regarding the state of race and racism in our Church and society; identifying the structures that perpetuate racism within our Synod
We provide educational opportunities throughout the year along with space for connections with others on this journey
We work with congregations to develop processes for long-term antiracist congregational transformation
Antiracism work in the Metropolitan Chicago Synod began with the formation of the ELCA in 1988. Early in the formation there was a tension with the reality of a predominantly white church in a diverse and multicultural world. This tension and the consequent desire to be an inclusive church are reflected in the Church’s founding documents. The ELCA has as one of its principles of organization:
"At least 10% of the members of assemblies, council, committees, boards or other organizational units shall be persons of color and/or persons whose primary language is other than English.” ELCA Constitution
Initial antiracism work in this synod commenced under the auspices of the Multicultural Committee and the ELCA Commission for Multicultural Ministries with the formation, in 1990, of the first antiracism team (Uproot & Build). Upon completion of training, held jointly with the Nebraska and Central States Synods, the MCS Uproot & Build Antiracism Team began its work. Uproot & Build focused on facilitating congregational workshops as well as facilitating the training of the synod council and staff. Unfortunately, after approximately three years of activity, attrition began to take its toll and eventually the team ceased to exist.
One more time, not like the last time A second antiracism team was formed in 1996. This team was created in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese and the other 2 ELCA synods in Illinois under the title, ILEAP (Illinois Lutheran Episcopal Antiracism Project). The work of this second team consisted of workshops, conferences, facilitating the training of the new bishop and staff, getting financial support from the synod budget, developing a twenty-year plan and organizing to effect institutional change in the Metropolitan Chicago Synod.
A key element of the twenty-year plan was the continual expansion of the Synod Antiracism Team. Once again, after several years of activity, the team ceased operations due to attrition brought about by the loss of team members through transferring to different synods, death and illness.
If at first — or second — you don‘t succeed. . . Having twice failed to establish a successful, thriving and ongoing antiracism ministry and due in large part to the concern and passion of Bishop Landahl for an antiracist church the synod embarked upon a third attempt. A comprehensive reorganization of the synod’s antiracism strategy was begun in 2001 with the establishment of the MCS Antiracism Planning and Design Task Force.
The MCS Antiracism Planning and Design Task Force was commissioned with the express purpose of studying the long history of this ministry within our synod, identifying the root causes for the short lifespan of the previous efforts and the design and implementation of a revised process for the formation of an antiracism ministry. Upon completion of a two-year process of discernment recruitment began and, after 18 months of training, a third synod antiracism team was commissioned in 2004 .
So how are we doing? Today, the Metropolitan Chicago Synod’s antiracism ministry is thriving. A network of trained allies is being developed as part of the grassroots efforts that are an essential part of our strategic plan. Thousands of people have participated in our workshops or events to-date.