Believing that all of us are created in God’s image, the Racial Justice Ministry Team (RJMT) focuses on Trinity’s mission determination “to embrace diversity” by educating ourselves and others and the congregation about racism so that we may be equipped to act as catalysts against injustice in the larger community. If this mission statement resonates with you, please join us. The RJMT at Trinity would love to have your help in carrying out this mission. Please contact Mark Staples, mstaples545@gmail.com, or Barbara Devlin, barbara.r.devlin@gmail.com.

An opportunity for reflection and education

In 1st Corinthians the Apostle Paul talks about the body — and how when one part suffers, all suffer. In that spirit we invite all Trinity disciples to engage with the content on this Racial Justice page including letters from our Presiding and Synodical Bishops written to Lutherans in the wake of 2020 tragedies.

Messages from Our Bishops

Messages from The Reverend Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and The Reverend Patricia Ann Curtis Davenport, presiding Bishop of the Southeast Pennsylvania Synod, inform and inspire us to do God’s work. 

ELCA Presiding Bishop issues Indigenous Peoples Day statement

November 30, 2020

June 19, 2020

June 12, 2020

ELCA Anti-Racism Pledge

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17).

In 2019, at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly, voting members adopted a resolution designating June 17 as a commemoration of the martyrdom of the Emanuel 9—the nine people shot and killed on June 17, 2015, during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. Congregations of the ELCA are encouraged to mark this day of penitence with study and prayer.

As a church, we are called to confess the sin of racism, condemn the ideology of white supremacy, and strive for racial justice and peace. Beyond statements and prayers, we are called to also act and respond to injustices. The ELCA anti-racism pledge is a summary of actions we invite you to commit to take:  

ELCA anti-racism pledge


TLC’s Racial Justice Ministry Team has developed Lutherans In Black History, an exhibit that was featured during Black History Month on the windowsills of our Sanctuary. The exhibit received coverage in Living Lutheran magazine. We are happy to make it available for your personal use or to be displayed in other churches

MLK Tribute – Letter From Birmingham Jail

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” after being arrested and sent to jail on Good Friday in 1963 because he and others were protesting against racism and racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. A court had ordered that King could not hold protests in Birmingham.

The letter he wrote while in jail was in response to an open letter published by a group of eight Protestant, Catholic and Jewish religious leaders in Birmingham in which they agreed that social injustices existed but argued that the battle against racial segregation should be fought solely in the courts, not the streets.

Dr. King’s prophetic words still resonate for our country and our church in these challenging times.

Click here to print/read a copy of King’s letter as it appeared in The Christian Century magazine in June, 1963.

Click here to see a brief video for background.

Here are some questions to reflect on as you read the letter:

  1. What are three or four main insights you took from the letter?
  2. What does the letter say to us today about:
    a. Moderation vs. extremism
    b. Justice and laws
    c. Non-violent action, pressure, or tension
    d. Voter suppression
    e. Black Lives Matter and the reality of being Black in America
    f. The white church
    g. The state of and prospects for organized religion
    h. Police brutality
  3. Some people have described the letter as prophetic. What points are prophetic for us today?
  4. What can we take away from the letter that can deepen our faith and produce a more just society?

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 2021: A reflection

By Dick Detwiler

Monday, Jan. 18, in the time of COVID-19 was a little different for people of Trinity, who in other years would have been participating in volunteer community service projects.  
A group of Trinity members gathered on Zoom to discuss and reflect on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”.  Here’s a link to the letter as published in The Christian Century in June 1963. The group was ably prepared and led by Racial Justice Ministry Team member John Wittenbraker.

Read more

A History of Black Leadership in the Lutheran Church

Author Lenny Duncan has referenced the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as “the whitest denomination in the U.S.” In his presentation to the Racial Justice Ministry Team in September, Richard N. Stewart offered a detailed picture of historically impactful Black Lutheran leadership (1704-1917). Dr. Stewart is a professor emeritus from United Lutheran Seminary. A grant from the Louisville Institute has made his research, which continues, possible. 

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/cqe5S-ox2Sj3WevwBEmvyDaYu1PxDQBqyDV0Ava6iB7zUPfLDiccUi9jVPNQuf8n.sP8QERW6wxLSoyUZ  Passcode: ^5dDsm9D 

Trinity Racial Justice Ministry Team

In response to the tragic events of this summer, the Trinity disciples listed below organized themselves to explore how best to fulfill our baptismal promise to “strive for justice and peace in all the earth” through the use of prayer, education and action. They see themselves as responding to Trinity’s mission challenge to “embrace diversity” and invite others to join them.

Dick Detwiler at rgdetwiler@gmail.com
Barbara Devlin, co-convener, at barbara.r.devlin@gmail.com
Joe Devlin at jtdevlin728@gmail.com
Julie Kinzel, convener, at kuliejinzel@comcast.net
Tom Mellon at tamellonjr@verizon.net
Julia Menzo at jemenzo@gmail.com
Norma Nish at normanish3@gmail.com
Lynn Staples at Lstaplesrn@yahoo.com
Mark Staples at mstaples545@gmail.com
John Wittenbraker at jwtt@comcast.net

Educational Resources

Read some comments from members of our Ad Hoc Task Force and hear how they have been affected by the resources they have studied. 

 Read more.