Advocates for Racial Equity

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. For more information about ARE, contact the Rev. Tim Maybee at or Rolf Lowenberg-DeBoer at



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 provides the following educational opportunities for congregations and individuals affiliated with the Saint Paul Area Synod:


  • Transforming White Privilege
    Transforming White Privilege offers a set of curriculum and learning modules designed to help organizations and leader identify, talk about and intervene to address white privilege and its consequences within their institutions and communities.


  • Public Conversations
    • 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, November 2019
      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.

  • Bethlehem Lutheran Church in the Midway – Ongoing
    Responding to the immediate need of neighbors in the wake of the protests and upheaval that followed the killing of George Floyd, Bethlehem became the center of a grassroots relief effort with support from across the Twin Cities. Learn more about current opportunities and what comes next on their Facebook Page.
  • Prayer Service for the Commemoration of the Emanuel Nine – June 17, 2020
    A Service of Prayer and Repentance to commemorate the lives of the nine persons who were killed by an avowed white supremacist at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., during an evening Bible study on June 17, 2015. Read Bishop Lull's sermon.



We invite you to become part of the "Twin Cities Lutherans for Racial Justice" Facebook group. The group, created after the October 2016 Journey to Justice conference at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, is a place to connect to work for racial justice, plan/share events and have discussion.




Additional Resources for Personal and Congregational Engagement

These resources are mostly Minnesota-based and ELCA-connected resources. Have something to share? We would love to share about it on the synod blog. Please write up a blurb (400 words or fewer) about how the resource has been helpful in your personal and/or congregational racial equity or multicultural engagement and send it 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, Minnesota Council of Churches - Working toward understanding and healing between Native American and non-Native peoples; includes regular indigenous Sacred Sites tours around the Twin Cities metro area.
  • #decolonizeLutheranism - This is an emerging Lutheran movement ignited by social media memes that challenged Lutheran stereotypes rooted in cultural stereotypes rather than Lutheran theology; they are seeking to connect people who want to make inter-sectional change within the ELCA.
  • Showing up for Racial Justice - MN (SURJ MN) - An organization that organizes white Minnesotans for racial justice through community organizing, mobilizing, and education; they have state-based and national organizing units; you may sign up for their newsletter to receive regular updates and/or follow them on social media.
  • Facilitating Racial Equity Collaborative (FREC) - A dedicated collective of organizations and individuals committed to overcoming racism in Minnesota whose mission is to work against structural racism and racial disparities. They are committed to engagement with multiple communities and ways of knowing. While not an explicit faith-based network, they have an in depth local Racial Justice Directory which includes faith-based organizations and partner in planning with many faith-based organizations. This coalition organizes the annual Overcoming Racism Conference, which is an event we encourage Saint Paul Area Synod congregations to attend.
  • 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.


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 2-3 years. If you need help connecting with these associations, please contact our work group co-chairs.




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