POP’s Version of the NJ Synod Bishop’s Challenge - the Why and How
We are pleased to report that as of March 1 Prince of Peace has raised $5,155 for the Bishop's Challenge.POP Racial Justice Team
2021 Racial Justice Team Goal - Moving POP from Talk to Action Against Systemic Racism
- Surveyed congregation members regarding reparations preferences.
- Top choice was clearly to support Lutherans going to seminaries.
- At the Synod Assembly in Spring 2021 - The Bishop’s Challenge was announced (see Bishop Tracie Bartholomew and her synod team introduce the Challenge to the NJ Synod at https://www.njsynod.org/bishopschallenge.
- Theme: story of Jehu Jones, first Lutheran pastor in USA, whose mission church for Blacks was lost because the then synod refused to support its mortgage.
- The Bishop's Challenge challenges each NJ ELCA congregation to give $375 (the price Rev. Jones paid for each of the two plots of land for that church in Philadelphia).
- Goal of $50,000 is to support emerging leaders of African descent in the ELCA.
POP’s Racial Justice Team Decided to Merge These as Our First Reparations Campaign
- POP has focused on racial justice for more than two years now.
- $375 in 1830s would be worth $873,000 today depending on calculation method.
We know Prince of Peace can do MUCH better than the $375!
Shouldn’t we try to repay a lot more since we as a denomination were wrong?
We Lutherans Owe Descendants of African Americans for
- Not truly welcoming them into many of our mostly white congregations.
- Ordaining pastors like Jehu Jones but refusing to support their mission work here.
- Segregating churches and not supporting those churches of color who need help.
This was almost 200 years ago but racism continues today, even within the ELCA, so it’s no wonder our ELCA is still 93-97% white (sources vary)
It’s Time We Do Something to Change That
POP’s Racial Justice Team is starting the Bishop’s Challenge fund with $250. WE KNOW POP members together can give much more so your team is challenging POP members and friends who are privileged to NOT be treated as unwanted by the Lutheran Church because of your race to prayerfully contribute whatever you can to reach our $3,750 goal for reparations.
How to Participate
- Write a check, make an online payment, or even give cash by February 27, the end of Epiphany, designating Racial Justice/ Bishop’s Challenge.
- Support black Lutherans who desire to lead us in the ELCA.
- Be part of changing our denomination to a more inclusive one.
Historical Background for Bishop’s Challenge
- Pastor Paul Rorem: January 23 Adult Forum on Songs of the Black Church.
- Lutheran Quarterly article on Jehu Jones (hard copy is in POP’s lending library).
- Video by Richard Stewart on how he found the actual location in Philadelphia of the church Pastor Jones built in 1834.
Upcoming Synod-Wide Activities as Part of the Bishop’s Challenge
- Free one session book discussion with Bishop Bartholomew on The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. See how the Great Migration continues to influence life today for all of us. Sign up for either February 22 or 24 from 7:30 - 9:00.
- Trip to Philadelphia to see the African American History Museum and tour the Mask & Wig Club (now in the church building Jehu Jones built). Join the bus trip $25/person or pay only $9 for museum admission if getting there using your own transportation. Saturday, April 2 (Registration ends March 25).
- Zoom presentation by Professor Steven Hobbs on the traditions of quilting in the African American tradition. (Participating churches will be making quilt squares.)
For more information on the above or to sign up please visit the following web page: https://www.njsynod.org/bishopschallengeevents.