Racial Justice & Equity

Mission Statement

We advocate for God’s wholeness for all by committing to understand and address personal and institutional racism in all of its forms and manifestations.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA’s) Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture statement expresses our calling to celebrate culture and ethnicity. It commits the ELCA to:
  • Confront racism
  • Engage in public leadership, witness and deliberation on these matters
  • Advocate for justice and fairness for all people.


The Vision 2025 team began their work in 2018, staying diligent to the charge amid the COVID-19 era, to present a vision for congregational life. Alongside Church Council leadership and in the river of our history of mission and outreach, three (3) main initiatives were developed, one of which was an active exploration into racial equity.

A Racial Justice & Equity team (“RJET”) was formed and began their work in 2022. None are experts in racism. All are compelled by their faith to act.

Resources for You

These resources are recommendations from both ministry partners including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) as well as individual members of the Racial Justice and Equity Team, seeking to provide you with a variety of voices and opportunities for personal growth and congregational learning and engagement.

Resources include (but are not limited to): 

  • Personal recommendations
  • Suggestions for parents, grandparents, and other caregivers
  • ELCA declarations and statements
  • Personal testimonials from RJET members
  • And more!

A Journey

The team’s task ahead is seen as a journey to how we, both as individuals and collectively as a congregation, can recognize and push back against anything that marginalizes, divides, or values some of God’s children over others based on race. It is rooted in the unifying claim of our Welcoming Statement that “all people are created in the image of God and as beloved children of God, all are worthy of God’s love and grace.”

The work of the Racial Justice & Equity Team (“RJET”) is attached to two (2) principles:

  1. To learn from others who have experience and can guide us.
  2. To welcome everyone in the congregation on the journey… from those who feel “it’s about time” to others who may be skeptical.

We approach this task with joy and optimism, not with grim determination!

“In this 12-minute TEDx Talk offering insightful and humorous suggestions for how we talk about race, which can be thorny territory, it helped to hear that my imperfect comments are not an indictment of my goodness.”

– Linda Van Guilder, RJET member


Committed to Success

To help us be successful, we have formed a partnership with the Center for Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement (CLNE), a community organization based in north Minneapolis who’ve worked with 25 other congregations engaged in racial justice. CLNE will collaborate with the RJET in coaching, assessment and training in intercultural competency and development, and programming experiences to bring together communities of different cultures. They will help us build offerings around education and cross-cultural opportunities.

Our Future

There is much to come, and lots to talk about! Your comments, questions, and participation are always welcome.

Our Future

There is much to come, and lots to talk about! Your comments, questions, and participation are welcomed.

Check back here often for updates on how you can get involved. Or, if you wish, you can start by joining our virtual RJET team meetings every other Wednesday afternoon from 4:00-5:00pm.

Events & Activities

Racial Justice & Equity Book Club

Every Thursday
3:15 – 4:30pm


Interested in joining the ongoing work of our group? New members are always welcome.

Questions? Contact Nancy Ouska.

“Coffee, Creativity, Community!” at Tapestry in Richfield

Summer Friday’s starting June 7, 2024
10:00 – 11:30am

7045 Lyndale Ave. South, Richfield, MN 55423

Children and adults are invited for treats, games, and crafts fun among a diversity of Christians with our friends at Tapestry, a bilingual / multicultural community of faith.

City of Edina Juneteenth Community Celebration

Wednesday, June 19
6:00 — 8:00pm
Centennial Lakes Park

Join us for Edina’s annual Juneteenth celebration!

This family-friendly event will feature activities, musical performances, a special speaker and food vendors for the whole family to enjoy. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Musical acts: Carolyne Naomi, a singer, songwriter and guitarist; and Smash Jazz. 

Food Vendor: Lutunji’s Palate bakery


  • Live reading of Isaiah Allen’s children book titled “A Smile”
  • A book giveaway, including copies of “A Smile”
  • Activities at the Art Cart

“A Binding Truth” Screening

Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Edina Mann Theatre
3911 West 50th St, Edina, MN 55424


  • 8:30-9:00am — Registration and seating, including complimentary breakfast provided by a local, Black-owned restaurateur
  • 9:00-11:00am — Screening followed by director’s comments
  • 11:00am-12:00pm — Discussion and wrap up

The Edina Anti-Racism Collective is hosting a special screening of A Binding Truth on Juneteenth at the Edina Mann Theatre. The film serves as a catalyst for meaningful conversations about race, justice, and the truth of slave history in America.

You are invited to join us for this event, including small group discussions following the film with Louise Woerhle, Edina native and producer / director.

Let’s celebrate Juneteenth together and work towards a more inclusive future. 

The film is free, but registration is requested due to limited capacity in the theater. This event is being shared to several groups in the Edina community, and may be included in my next monthly newsletter. This “advance notice” provides the opportunity to ensure a seat at this special event!

People of Faith Winter Series 2024

I. Three-Part Learning Series

    • Tuesday, January 23, 2024
      7:00 — 8:30pm
    • Tuesday, February 27, 2024
      7:00 — 8:30pm
    • Tuesday, March 19, 2024
      7:00 — 8:30pm


II. Field trips to faith-based organizations like a Hindu temple, mosque, Jewish temple, etc.

To sign-up for the Zoom link, please email Elena Brito Sifferlin.

Table Talk: Our Earliest Memories of Race and Culture

Sunday, February 19
10:40am — 12:00pm
Fellowship Hall

Join us for table conversations, building self-awareness through respectful mutual listening and reflection.

All are welcome!

Let’s Get to Know Tapestry!

Ongoing Summer Opportunities
7045 Lyndale Ave. South, Richfield, MN 55423

This bilingual (English / Spanish) and multicultural ELCA church community in Richfield will be bringing us music and worship, inviting us to theirs, and graciously opening their doors for us to share in great food, friendship, and learning!

Upcoming Dates
Help our Tapestry neighbors know how much food to prepare by signing up to what date(s) you’re able to join us!

Sunday, August 6th – Evening worship & dinner at Tapestry
(starting at 5:00pm)

Tapestry meets at the Oak Grove Lutheran Church building.
Rain or shine! (Worship outdoors weather permitting, meals are indoors.)

Spanish Classes
Tuesdays from September 19 to November 21
7045 Lyndale Ave. South, Richfield, MN 55423

Dinner at 6:00pm
Class from 6:30 – 8:00pm

Suggested contribution = $100 / session

Orientation / Registration – September 12

This is not a religious class, but Tapestry may use songs, the Bible, and other materials from time to time.

Childcare available!

Preview of film

“Stories I Didn’t Know” Discussion
(with Pie Provided)

Sunday, November 19
Fellowship Hall
10:30 – 11:30am

“It’s a family reunion … what could go wrong? Plenty, as we soon learn when Rita Davern exposes an ugly reality at the heart of a family legend. Her family members have always been proud to say that their great grandparents once owned Pike Island, a beautiful piece of land at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers.

But when Rita relates what happened to the people who lived there before, some family members react with understanding, others with arguments and anger. Rita’s attempts to understand what happened and why leads her on a journey that requires facing the complicated legacy of westward expansion in the U.S.

Along the way she meets Ramona, a Dakota educator. What Ramona’s ancestors experienced because of U.S. government policies puts faces and names on this story. Rita listens and learns. She wants to find a way to put something right. We learn the value of finding and facing the past by watching her journey.”

Swimming in Our Culture

First Wednesday of the month (February 1; March 1; April 5; May 3; June 7) 4:00-5:30pm

A dialogue that:

  • Examines certain characteristics that shape us and our culture(s)
  • Reflects on the impacts those characteristics may be having on us and others, and
  • Explores what we might want to change in the future


Actually, the video can’t be displayed above — but you can still watch it at no cost!

Special thanks to Ms. Davern, our Normandale community has been given access to watch this award-winning documentary for free! With this special access comes a password to enter watch the film.

If you’d like to retrieve the password for the film, please contact someone on the RJET team identified below. You can also find it in the weekly email distributed to everyone in the congregation. We are more than happy to give it to you!

Just to remind you: the film is just shy of 60 minutes and is amazing!

This film is an incredible experience, and is well worth your time.


These resources are recommendations from organizational ministry partners and individual members of the Racial Justice and Equity Team members, seeking to provide you with a variety of voices and opportunities for personal growth and congregational learning and engagement.

Racial Justice & Equity Team (RJET) Members

Feel free to submit questions, ideas, reactions, etc. to our team. Your comments and inquiries are welcomed!

Mark Werley (Chair)

Christian Belz

Meghan Cook

Randy Gullickson

Sue Hoel

Anna Nichols

Dick Peterson

Dorothy Scott

Linda Van Guilder

Anna Bock

Vishakha Kanwar