ELCA issues declaration to American Indian and Alaska Native people

As the United States pauses to honor and celebrate the Indigenous people who first settled on the land thousands of years ago, the Evangelical Church in America (ELCA) has released A Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to American Indian and Alaska Native People. The declaration is a direct result of the social policy resolution “Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery,” which was passed by the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.
In the declaration, the ELCA acknowledges the theological and Christian foundation of the Doctrine of Discovery, which has codified colonialism and religious intolerance as societal norms for more than 500 years.
“The Doctrine of Discovery created a theological framework that supported racism, colonialism, and the annihilation of Indigenous people,” the declaration states. “Today it continues to support these evils and injustices found in our church, U.S. law, and legal interpretation. The Doctrine of Discovery has been pervasive throughout the world and has benefited the Church and ELCA Lutherans in every way.”
Included in the statement is a confession to American Indian and Alaskan Native communities in the ELCA and in the United States. To those in the ELCA, the church declares, “We have devalued Indigenous religions and lifeways and have not challenged the invisibility of Indigenous people in American society.” Among other things, it confesses to treating these communities as a minority group rather than as sovereign nations and failing to do more to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery after the formal repudiation was passed in 2016.
To American Indian and Alaska Native communities in the church and in the United States, the church confesses its role in diminishing the importance of the land and acknowledges the complicity of the ELCA and its predecessors in accepting the benefits of the land stolen through numerous colonial measures and broken treaties. It further confesses to its failures in combating white supremacy and in treating Native peoples as equals, listing the many ways in which the church needs to learn more about its harmful roles.
To the non-Indigenous communities of the ELCA, the church confesses that it has benefited from, and not acted against, the Doctrine of Discovery and has failed to proactively support the church’s American Indian and Alaska Native Lutheran Association.
The declaration concludes with a pledge to all three groups — Indigenous ELCA communities, Indigenous communities in the U.S., and non-Indigenous ELCA communities. Each pledge focuses on doing more to understand the doctrine, the church’s role in perpetuating it and how to partner with Native organizations to end the harmful effects of the doctrine and become stronger advocates for Indigenous communities throughout the U.S. The declaration ends with an understanding that accomplishing its goal to actively and fully repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery will take more than words; it will take tangible action to undo the damage created since the late-15th century.
Take time today to read the full text of “A Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to American Indian and Alaska Native People,” HERE.
From Our Partners at ELCA Advocacy:
This Indigenous Peoples’ Day tell Congress to establish Indian Boarding School Study Commission

Today, join religious and Indigenous leaders’ call for Congress to advance a new commission and study on the devastating legacy of Indian Boarding Schools and develop meaningful steps to heal moving forward.
U.S. federal policy, from the 1800s through the 1960s, sought to assimilate Native American children through the implementation of boarding schools. Documentation and stories passed down show that many children taken from their families were punished for speaking their native languages, abused by their caretakers, and in too many cases never returned home. The ELCA, along with the Episcopal Church and our Canadian counterparts, joined a recent statement acknowledging the painful role of the church’s past in administrating boarding schools, and a stated a renewed call to face our history with respect to indigenous community relations. 
Now it is time for Congress to make similar commitments too, and become a partner to make amends moving forward. Recently reintroduced in the Senate, the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act would establish a commission to investigate past injustices of the federal government's cultural genocide and assimilation practices through its Indian Boarding School policy.
“We know that HOPE transforms the lives of those who live with the trauma of losing relatives at Indian Boarding Schools and religious boarding schools,” said the Rev. Joann Conroy, president of the ELCA American and Indian Alaska Native Lutheran Association and member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. “Healing from this trauma begins for our relatives with the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act.”

Join us and other interfaith leaders today calling Congress to take action. Send a customized message to your lawmakers through the ELCA Action Center. 
October is Clergy Appreciation Month!

We give thanks for all rostered ministers - especially the amazing, wise, talented, compassionate, and faithful deacons and pastors in our synod!
THANK YOU each for sharing your abundant gifts so graciously!

YOU ALL are invited to show your gratitude for your pastors and deacons this month! Hold them in your prayers and consider notes of appreciation and/or gifts that encourage health and wellbeing.
Bishop's Convocation REMINDER!

Our Fall Bishop's Convocation for Rostered Ministers, Lay Mission Developers, & Interns is coming up next week, Tuesday, October 19, 9:30-3:30. We will gather online around the theme: Reading and Preaching Luke from the Margins. We will be welcoming Dr. Mary Lowe from Augsburg University's Religion Department to lead us.
Leaders - please register here by October 14!

Synod Events this Week

Mon. Oct. 11, 2pm - Living Stones Prison Congregation Check In (see below)
Tues. Oct. 12 - Synod Staff Visit to JBLM - office closed
Wed. Oct. 13 - Stillaguamish Cluster Wee Walk (leaders, see your dean's email)
Thurs. Oct. 14, 4pm - Executive Committee Meeting (team, see your email)
Sat. Oct. 16, 9am - Forming Community Retreat (see below!)
A People of Hope: Until All Are Fed
An online benefit for ELCA World Hunger

Thursday, October 14 at 5:30pm PT on Zoom

Join this online benefit event featuring ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and Rick Steve with special performances by Rachel Kurtz, Peter Mayer and the St. Olaf Choir. Hear compelling stories, listen to wonderful music and gather in fellowship to invest in this life-giving work. You must pre-register here:
Monthly Living Stones Zoom Check-In

Today, Monday, October 11 at 3pm

Join Pastor Chris Ode for an update about what is happening in the Living Stones ministry. He will share how the men are doing as well as give an update about any progress towards being with the men again in person. Join the Zoom HERE.
Forming Community
The FIRST fall Community Retreat from the LiVE Project - open to all!

Saturday, October 16, 9am-1pm 
in person at 7400 Woodlawn in Seattle (home of Emmaus Table)

The first of our two fall community retreats will be geared to experiencing and understanding the ways the formation of community is a co-creative act between ourselves, one another and the Holy Spirit. Drawing from Margaret Wheatley’s Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future, and through interactive, action-reflection models of learning, we will practice hospitality through story-telling as key ways to be embraced by God, and within which to embrace our unique differences and callings in God.

How to register -
  • If you are part of the 2021-2022 cohort, the cost of this retreat is included in your fee! Simply RSVP to the event on the LiVE Network (mighty network site) OR email Dr. David Hahn and let him know that you will be attending:

  • If you are NOT part of the cohort, you are most welcome to attend! Please register and pay the $50 fee ONLINE HERE. (note - YAGMs, use your discount code and get 50% off! - check with David above if you do not k now the code!)
2021 Hein-Fry Book of Faith Challenge
Under the theme “Imagining Scriptural Encounters in the New Normal,” four online presentations by ELCA seminary students will help participants deepen their encounters with Scripture and strengthen their relationships with God in a time of extreme and continuous change. Every year, one student from each seminary is invited to develop and present a class or series for people both familiar and unfamiliar with biblical texts. The students are then invited to report their findings. This year the challenge will comprise four online events:
• Kaylie H. Ines from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, Calif., will present “Hope Remains: A Creation Care Faith Study” on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 1pm.

•  Aneel Trivedi from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, will present “Return to Baptism, Return to a New Normal” on Friday, Oct. 22, 12noon

•  Katrina Steingraeber from Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago will present “Looking at Today’s World Through the Psalms” on Thursday, Oct. 28, at 8am

•  Melissa J. Harris from United Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, Pa., will present “Environmental Stewardship: Reconsidering the Creation Narratives in the 21st Century” on Friday, Oct. 29, at 10am
The Rev. Dr. Diane Jacobson will serve as online host. The public is invited to attend these free online events, but registration is required for each of them. Registration information is available HERE.
Immanuel Community Services (ICS)
Community of Hope Celebration

Thursday, October 21, 8am Online

Join us for this celebration where you will meet members of the ICS community, hear their stories and find out how you can make a difference in the lives of our neighbors experiencing hunger and homelessness.
The event is virtual again this year, so you may join us no matter where you are located! Register HERE. Can't make it to watch live? You can still be part of our Community of Hope! Give a gift now to support our neighbors experiencing hunger and homelessness and after the event is over, you will receive a link to watch the recording at your leisure.
Installation Service for
Deacon Patrick Meagher

Sunday, October 24, 8:30 and 11am services

We give thanks to God as Deacon Patrick is installed at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church in Seattle. God bless this ministry partnership!
Installation Service for
Pastor Steve Jerbi

Sunday, October 24, 3pm

We give thanks to God as Rev. Steve Jerbi is installed as the pastor at University Congregational UCC in Seattle. Rostered Ministers are invited to vest - the color of the day is green. God bless this ministry partnership! See more info here.
Ministry Leadership Wellness Webinars

Fourth Tuesday of the Month at 1pm
Oct. 26, Nov. 23, Dec. 28, Jan. 25, Feb. 22, and March 22.

These monthly webinars are open to all synod rostered and lay leaders for free - as part of a Synod Grant with Living Well! The interactive webinars will be designed to implement specific holistic wellness strategies within the ministry setting as a way to assist with stress management, maximize engagement, self-care, and self-compassion. Find more info and Zoom link here on our website.

Click HERE for more detailed information about the Living Well partnership.
Opportunities from
Pacific Lutheran University

2021 Powell-Heller Conference for Holocaust Education 
“Holocaust Denial And Distortion” - featuring Dr. Yehuda Bauer and Dr. Christopher Browning
Wednesday, October 27
PLU’s mission to support the education of our students and larger community on issues of diversity and justice are intimately connected to the study of the tragedy of the Holocaust. Students can see that marginalization of a minority group, such as the Jews of Nazi Germany, can lead to life-threatening situations culminating in one of the world’s modern genocides. Issues of distortion and denial make the process of reconciliation and healing less likely and serve as an insult to the memory of all those whose lives were destroyed in the Holocaust. For more information and to register, visit

The 16th Annual David & Marilyn Knutson Lecture 
"Bonhoeffer, the Church, and the Climate Question" - featuring Rev. Dr. James Martin-Schramm '81
Tuesday, November 2, at 7:00pm via Zoom
Where virulent anti-Semitism was the most important issue facing the church in Bonhoeffer’s day, Martin-Schramm argues Bonhoeffer would have grave concerns about the impacts of climate change on present and future generations. The lecture explores tensions between patriotism and resistance and considers how God is at work in the world today among all who are striving for climate justice. For more information and to register, visit
Lutheran World Relief Seattle Fall Ingathering

Friday & Saturday, November 5 & 6
at Our Redeemer's Lutheran Church in Seattle
(Note: we are back at Our Redeemer's at 2400 NW 85th St, Seattle)

If your church/quilting/kit making group has not notified Rich Mathes that you are coming, please call Rich at 206-384-1183 or email to You may deliver your boxes on Friday Nov 5th between from 8am-2pm and Saturday Nov 6th between 8am - 11:30am. Please ask all drivers to wear masks for drop-off. If you would like to pick up fabric samples, please wear masks, and remain socially distanced in the Fellowship Hall. There will not be any food available on site this year. We still need a few more volunteers to help load the boxes; if you would be willing to help for two hours, please contact Rich at 206-384-1183.
Memorial Service for Pr. Rick Pribbernow

Sunday, November 7, 2pm

Our partner in ministry and former director of Open Door Ministry, Rev. Rick Pribbernow, died August 14. We continue to hold his partner Bob Van Burkleo and all who grieve this loss in our prayers. A memorial service for Pr. Rick Pribbernow will be held on Sunday, November 7th, at 2:00 pm. Worshipers are asked to gather online and are encouraged to safely form watch parties around the synod. The livestream link will be shared soon.

NW Washington Synod RIC congregations are encouraged to collect photographs of Pr. Rick and his work among them, which will be used in a photo montage tribute. Digital photos should be e-mailed to Josh Judd-Herzfeldt or upload photos directly to this Google Drive folder. (Please include your congregation's name and city)
Installation Service for
Pastor Gina Herman

Sunday, November 7, 11am

We give thanks to God as Pastor Gina Herman is installed as Associate Pastor at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Kirkland. God bless this ministry partnership!
Installation Service for
Pastor Jenna Bergeson

Sunday, November 14, 4pm

We give thanks to God as Pastor Jenna Bergeson is installed as Associate Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynnwood. God bless this ministry partnership!
Communal Spiritual Practices
The SECOND fall Community Retreat from the LiVE Project - open to all!
(did not attend the first retreat? no problem - you may still register for this one!)

Saturday, November 20, 9am-1pm 
in person at Advent Lutheran Church in Mill Creek

The second of our Fall retreats introduce participants to spiritual practices as a central place from which to create responsible social action in our world. We will experience and reflect on how ‘the exam’ spiritual practices of Ignatius of Loyola, and lectio Divina offer communities of faith support and accountability to being present in Christ for the life of the world. If the central call of vocation, in Christ, is learning to discover our lives in and for our neighbors, and not merely in the individualizing peace that it creates for our own spirits, we must reframe spiritual practices as communal in order to engage peace and justice through the Spirit in our broader neighborhoods, and world.  

How to register -
  • If you are part of the 2021-2022 cohort, the cost of this retreat is included in your fee! Simply RSVP to the event on the LiVE Network (mighty network site) OR email Dr. David Hahn and let him know that you will be attending:

  • If you are NOT part of the cohort, you are most welcome to attend! Please register and pay the $50 fee ONLINE HERE. (note - YAGMs, use your discount code and get 50% off!)
ReconcilingWorks -
FOUR online trainings!
+ Building an Inclusive Church
+ Consent in Community Building
+ Bias and Its Impact on Welcome
+ Let’s Talk About SOIGIE (Sex, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexual Orientation)
Read more & learn how to register here:
Want an item included?
Email Susan Berg, Communications Administrator
All items due by 2pm on the prior Thursday

Northwest Washington Synod / ELCA
5519 Phinney Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98103