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Statement regarding Incident at St. Paul’s, North Hollywood (Wisconsin Synod)

On July 7, 2020, a Black woman who was sitting on the grass on the campus of St. Paul’s First Lutheran Church ( in North Hollywood, a Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod Church (, was confronted by lay members of the church and the video of the incident posted on YouTube. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a separate denomination from the much-smaller WELS, and the Southwest California Synod has no association with it. We repudiate the racist words and actions of those in the video, and would not tolerate them in our congregations.

While this incident did not take place at a SWCA Synod or ELCA congregation, the ELCA does acknowledge its shared responsibility with all largely-white churches for the racism that has played too large a role in the history of American Christianity, and re-emphasizes the ELCA’s belief that “we are called to confess the sin of racism, condemn the ideology of white supremacy, and strive for racial justice and peace.”

Bishop Guy Erwin