Advocates for Racial Equity (ARE)

The Saint Paul Area Synod’s anti-racism work is led by the Advocates for Racial Equity (ARE) work group. Their mission is to embolden our public witness by empowering God’s beloved to confront privilege and racism in and through the Saint Paul Area Synod.


To hold one another accountable in the work of reforming unjust structures by educating congregations about institutional and systemic racism, advocating for racial equity in the church and the world, and building relationships with partners within and outside of the church for more just communities.


The ARE group is committed to connecting congregations with anti-racist educational opportunities. These have included:

  • Transforming White Privilege offers a set of curriculum and learning modules designed to help organizations and leaders identify, talk about and intervene to address white privilege and its consequences within their institutions and communities.
  • Public Conversations
    • Empowering Congregations for Anti-Racist Ministry – ongoing
      These conversations, which began in the spring of 2023, are aimed at connecting congregations with resources, information and best practices to engage in anti-racist ministries in their unique contexts.
    • Remember the Children Events – 2021-2022
      These events highlighted the history and ongoing impact of Native American Boarding Schools. Click here to access our session about the St. Paul Industrial School, which operated at one time as an Indian Boarding School in Contarf, Minn. Presenters included the Rev. Gary Mills, reporter Mark Wasson and Ruling Elder Elona Street-Steward.
    • Pathways Panel – March 6, 2021
      The Pathways Panel highlighted six keynote speakers leading racial equity work in our synod as an introduction to congregations wondering about next steps regarding racial equity work within their own congregations. Click here for a recording of the main session and the IDI cultural assessment break-out session with Rev. Peter Harrits, former director of Bega Kwa Bega and Assistant to the Bishop.
    • Telling the Truth: Racial Disparity in the Age of COVID-19 – June 13, 2020
      A conversation with the Wilder Foundation’s Melanie Ferris about the complicated racial disparity in our cities, states, and nation, as is made especially evident in data about access to healthcare. A video and resources from the event are archived here.
  • Conferences & Trainings
    • Overcoming Racism Conference
      The ARE work group encouraged congregations to attend as small groups, with opportunities for submitting workshop proposal and volunteering at the conference itself as well.



The ARE group works in partnership with the following organizations to advocate for racial equity in the church and the world:

  • Lutheran Advocacy – MN – This is the Minnesota branch of our national ELCA Advocacy work. Sign up for their alerts and follow them on social media for calls to action.
  • ISAIAH MN – A statewide, non-partisan, faith-based community organizing group; ISAIAH is a vehicle for congregations, clergy, and people of faith to act collectively and powerfully towards racial and economic equity in the state of Minnesota.



The ARE group engages in direct action with partners within and outside of the church to build more just communities.


We invite you to become part of the “Twin Cities Lutherans for Racial Justice” Facebook group. The group, created after the Journey to Justice Conference in 2016, is a place to connect to work for racial justice, plan/share events and have discussion.

Additional Resources for Personal and Congregational Engagement

The following resources are mostly Minnesota-based and ELCA-connected resources. If you have other suggestions for us to highlight, let us know by sending an email to the Rev. Tim Maybee at


  • ASDIC Metamorphosis – ASDIC Metamorphosis (ASDIC is short for Antiracism Study Dialogue Circles) is an esteemed anti-racism workshop provider, based in St. Paul and operating across Minnesota and beyond. ASDIC’s programs are noted for their depth of analysis, opportunity for dialogue and reflection, building of relationship and community, and lasting transformative change.
  • Healing Minnesota Stories – The Minnesota Council of Churches works toward understanding and healing between Native American and non-Native peoples. Among its offerings are indigenous Sacred Sites tours around the Twin Cities metro area.
  • #decolonizeLutheranism – This emerging Lutheran movement was ignited by social media memes that challenged Lutheran stereotypes rooted in cultural stereotypes rather than Lutheran theology. The organization seeks to connect people who want to make inter-sectional change within the ELCA.
  • Showing up for Racial Justice – MN (SURJ MN) – This organization organizes white Minnesotans for racial justice through community organizing, mobilizing, and education. It has state-based and national organizing units. Sign up for their newsletter to receive regular updates and/or follow them on social media!
  • Facilitating Racial Equity Collaborative (FREC) – This is a collective of organizations and individuals committed to overcoming racism in Minnesota with a mission to work against structural racism and racial disparities. It is committed to engagement with multiple communities and ways of knowing. While not an explicit faith-based network, it offers an in-depth local Racial Justice Directory which includes faith-based organizations and others that partner with many faith-based organizations. This coalition organizes an annual Overcoming Racism Conference, which is an event we encourage Saint Paul Area Synod congregations to attend.
  • ISAIAH MN – This state-wide, non-partisan, faith-based community organizing group encourages congregations, clergy, and people of faith to act collectively and powerfully towards racial and economic equity in the state of Minnesota.

Study Resources

ELCA Ethnic Specific and Multicultural Ministries and Associations

The Ethnic Specific and Multicultural Ministries team assists the ELCA in becoming more culturally diverse and anti-racist by working with ELCA congregations, synods, communities, agencies and institutions. The team provides consultation, programming and resources to help accomplish this work to which the ELCA is called.

There are associations with the ELCA meant to connect leaders for support and networking and to carry out a mission strategy particular to each community. If you identify with one of the groups below, follow the links to sign up for more information. Each of these groups has at least one ELCA staff member connected to the association, with the association led by an elected board, gathering in an annual conference every two to three years. If you need help connecting with these associations, please contact the ARE work group leaders.



For more information about the ARE work group or to add to the resources on this page, contact the Rev. Tim Maybee at or Rolf Lowenberg-DeBoer at