Racial Justice & Equity

at Westwood

Written by Westwood's Racial Equity Team

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Racial JUSTICE Statement

GOD'S VIEW AND OUR CALL

As followers of Christ, the Westwood community is called to dismantle racism by promoting a continual process of repentance, healing, and reconciliation. Westwood acknowledges that race shapes social structures, produces racialized disparities, and perpetuates inequitable outcomes.  

 

We see racism as one of the most urgent issues throughout history and today. Our commitment is rooted in the belief that all God’s children are valued in furthering our vocation and call to live into beloved community. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, we strive to live as “repairers of the breach.”

OUR HISTORY

Westwood has served St Louis Park since 1944. We acknowledge that as a historically white church we operate within and benefit from a system of privilege. As a result, we have knowingly and unwittingly participated in marginalization.  We know that to more effectively live into God’s call we need to work to dismantle these systems of privilege so we can see and value all of our neighbors both racially and culturally.

OUR COMMITMENT

We acknowledge that any entrenched, self-perpetuating system of oppression requires an equally tenacious commitment—a long-term personal and collective dedication to the journey, including our time and resources.  In particular:

  • Westwood commits to a process of learning, naming hard truths, and engaging in meaningful internal, interpersonal, and communal conversations around race. 

  • Westwood seeks to recognize how historical and contemporary racism has affected ourselves, our relationships, our church, and our community.

  • Westwood’s leadership is intentionally building a racial equity lens into our congregation’s planning, policies, and priorities.

  • Westwood is empowering lay leaders and a racial equity team to facilitate racial healing and provide tools in support of congregation-wide change.

  • Westwood strives to be a catalyst for engagement, understanding, and action, creating a world aligned with God’s vision for us.

God desires wholeness for all people. Following Christ’s example, we seek repentance and reconciliation by investing ourselves, our time, and our resources into racial healing and systemic change.

OUR PROMISE

As we seek change, we hope to also be changed. As we learn and grow along our journey, we will continually return to this statement ensuring our work and our words remain aligned with God’s vision of justice.

OUR PRAYER

O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Written by the Westwood Racial Equity Team, and approved by the Westwood Lutheran Church Council spring 2020. For more information about the team, contact Pastor Miriam at m.samuelson-roberts@westwood.church.

 

Series at westwood

As one part of our commitment to racial equity work, we spent Lent 2019 and Lent 2020 deepening our conversations about race and racism at Westwood. Below are links to sermons and talks during those series.

 

Racial Equity Team

Formed in 2019, the Westwood Racial Equity Team consists of 11 lay members, a pastor, and an advisor. Team members:​

  • ​Mary I. Anderson

  • Jenelle Bullen

  • Trevor Bullen

  • Lara Cleveland

  • Emma Coen-Pesch

  • Gina Jacobson

  • Sonja Muus

  • Amy Janecek

  • Ken Schempp

  • Shelby Strauss

  • Todd Western IV

  • Miriam Samuelson-Roberts, Pastor

  • Richard Webb, Advisor

 

© 2020 by Westwood Lutheran Church