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Green Growing Season 6/28/2020



A Message From The Oregon Synod.

Listen to the voice of a Child of God and Sibling in Christ from within our synod community.

A note from LeVeta Gilmore Jones
Leaven Community

 On raising the next generation of children to dismantle racism and white supremacy in our world.

Our country is structured on the lie of white supremacy in order to justify the inhumane treatment of human beings with skin tones of brown. It is in this structural context I live and work as the African-American co-director of a multicultural, multilingual Leaven Community—through which the primary Euro-centric congregation of Salt & Light Lutheran is nested, and does it’s good work in the world. This relationship is complex as we endeavor to BE, LOVE & ACT...deepening relationships, building community and acting together in this systemic culture of white supremacy, racism and trauma.

Some experience Leaven Community as a multi-ethnic, bi-lingual community of folks. Some experience Leaven Community as a very Euro-centric community of folks. What do these experiences reveal about our institution? Our beloved community?

Truth telling has to be at the foundation of our conversations if transformation is the desired outcome because“[White supremacy and racism] is a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world.” scott wood

There are many ways to disrupt and dismantle the building blocks of white supremacy. All are needed.

The skin tone of my 3-year old granddaughter tells the Africa to European migration story of her mother’s ancestors and the African homeland story of her father’s ancestors. She is being raised in a culture where her humanity is automatically othered by the lie of white supremacy and racism because of her skin tone. 

The following reflection shared by my daughter-in-law surfaces powerfully subtle actions for disrupting and resisting this mindset. 

“I’ve been thinking. A lot. And as I mull and question what can be done both collectively and individually to dig out of this nation’s divisiveness, I always look at my child. She is the future. And while we can’t change the engrained mindset of much of our country, we CAN nurture and shape that of our children. So, I challenge you (whether you’re a parent/guardian, relative or friend) to look at the children in your life and ask yourself:

(1) what do their books look like?

(2) what do their toys look like?

(3) what do their favorite characters look like?

(4) have they been introduced to civil rights leaders and the concept of inequality, both past and present?

(5) have they been taught to see, acknowledge and embrace our differences in skin color, worship, foods, music, and language?

(6) what do their teachers, neighbors, and community leaders look like?

(7) is their world lens narrow or broad?

Our children, from a very young age, need to know. Because during these formative years is when we normalize topics, positively affirm differences, and shape the narrative we want them to live by. Raising our next generation with intention through the foods they eat, the interactions they participate in, the words they hear from their role models, and the faces they see is only a bandaid on our current crisis, but a deliberate step in creating safer sidewalks for our babies to walk (quite literally).” In closing our Leaven Community equity and inclusion statement says, “Recognizing our complicity in racist systems that oppress, harm and steal life we commit to transforming ourselves and to taking actions that resist, disrupt, and heal these broken systems. All life depends on it.”The public lynching of George Floyd cries out for it.

Sending you all love,
LaVetaResources for talking to children about racism:Anti-Racism For Kids 101: Starting To Talk About RaceHere's How W. Kamau Bell Talks About Race With His Kids100 Race-Conscious things you can say to your child to advance racial justiceArticle on Raising Race-Conscious Children4 Things We Should All Teach Kids About Racism Right NowFind more

Green Growing Season: June 21st


Jesus' Call for Us.


Holy Trinity Sunday


A Message From Bishop Laurie

A Letter from Bishop Laurie
June 2, 2020
Dear Beloved of God,

Today is the Tuesday after Pentecost. And Spirit? She is swirling! Now, as then, we stand at a tense moment in history: hearts burn and protesters pray and unexpected preachers preach and a spirit of change blows with hope. Those who serve the status quo watch, smirk, and ask, “Aren’t you just drunk, foolhardy, angry, entitled, or all of the above?"

I am a bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American, the whitest denomination in the United States. I serve the Oregon Synod, perhaps the whitest synod in the ELCA. I have been long marinated in my privilege. So as I light a candle and pray for racial justice and the long-deferred dream of wholeness, I have more questions than answers:

How do you kneel on a human being’s neck for nine minutes?

How many precautions are needed before a brown or black bodied person can jog unarmed down a street?

How can the dignity of entire groups of people, in a nation, a church, a region I love so much, be so willfully overlooked for four-hundred years and counting?

How have I benefited from silence, and what does truly liberating action look like?

What would it look like for the ELCA to “take a knee”?

I don’t know. But I do know some things:
White Supremacy reigns, and it isn’t simply about individuals, it’s about systems and institutions which consistently privilege one race above all others.Racism and white supremacy are sins. Though I am committed to an anti-racist life and learnings, having been marinated in the white supremacy of my culture and, by virtue of the color of my skin, I am racist.All people are God’s beloveds and to be able to see that we need to help center the experiences of those who’ve been marginalized and silenced for eons.  The violence we see all around us is dangerous, and yet is a response to a culture which violates, and has violated, black and brown bodies for centuries.It’s time I learned to listen. It’s time the institutions I love learn to be open to radical transformation.None of this work toward justice, peace, and transformation, which is God’s work, will be easy.

Christ’s redeeming, liberating love will lead the way if we are truly open to its capacity to be a light, set on a hill, making visible what has not been visible - the dignity of black and brown bodies, the sins of past and present racism and the transformational work ahead. Please join me in responding out of that divine mandate to courageous love in difficult times.

I ask you consider giving one month’s worth of your congregation’s mission support which would otherwise go to the Oregon Synod and donate it to a trusted local organization working toward racial justice and the dismantling of white supremacy. (List of possibilities below.) 

This will impact the synod office, yes, but it will also be sacramental; body and blood, given for the world. Pray for your neighbor. Educate yourself. Challenge racism wherever you see it. And believe in the power of Spirit to change this world.

In Christ,

Bishop Laurie

Organizations Working Towards Racial Justice

The NAACP (The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)

United Oregon Dont Shoot Pdx

SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice)Corvallis SURJ- Corvallis, OREmail: info@CorvallisSURJ.org Facebook

SURJ PDX – Portland, OREmail: info@surjpdx.orgWebsiteFacebook

Forest Grove, OR SURJBrenda Zook FriesenEmail: surjforestgrove@gmail.comFacebook

SURJ Eugene- Eugene, OREmail: surj-info@googlegroups.comRacial Justice in Eastern OregonEmail: saundea@eou.eduFacebook

Clackamas County SURJ-Oregon City, OregonEmail: clackamascosurj@gmail.com

Black Lives Matter
Oregon does not have a chapter yet. You could start one.

Color of Change 

ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)

Pentecost Worship


A Message From Bishop Laurie

An Update from Bishop Laurie

                            Dear friends in Christ,   

As June approaches, it is time for us to check-in about in-person gatherings. The messages coming from our elected leaders can be contradictory and confusing.

Governor Brown has allowed 31 of the 33 Oregon counties (not the Portland-metro area) to begin phase 1, which allows for groups of up to 25 people to gather with social distancing.

President Trump has deemed churches and other houses of worship “essential” and has called on governors across the country to allow these places of worship to reopen.

Public health experts warn us that the nature of the virus has not changed; it is still highly contagious and our communities are still vulnerable. More troubling news comes from those churches that have already attempted to reopen.

At least 107 people became infected after attending or coming into contact with someone who attended a service at a German baptist church, despite church officials insisting that social distancing and hygiene guidelines were upheld during the service.A Baptist church in Georgia stopped in-person services two weeks after reopening as several families came down with coronavirus. Again, the church states that all modes of social distancing were practiced and followed by the families attending.A Catholic church in Texas also closed after it was discovered multiple members had contracted the novel coronavirus and one leader had died. Again, the parish had followed cleaning, sanitation and social distancing guidelines prescribed by State health officials. Here in Oregon, we are blessed with the opportunity to learn from these churches experience and protect our ministers, lay leaders, members and communities from risk. 

In-person, indoor gatherings of people from different households are high risk and they are a risk we do not have to take. We know we are essential, but it is not essential to gather in person at this time. Our priority is protecting the well-being, health and safety of ALL members of the Oregon Synod: congregants and staff.  Therefore, we advise that church buildings remain closed to all but essential staff for as long as in-person, indoor gatherings remain high risk. Thank you all for taking care of each other during these troubling times. Let us continue to pray for those who are sick, those who have died, and for the good health and welfare of all members of our communities.

In Christ, 
Bishop Laurie

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