The following contribution is shared by Dr. Mary Lowe, religion professor at Augsburg and member of the task force and writing team for the ELCA’s new congregational study guide to accompany the ELCA’s social statement, Faith, Sexism, and Justice: A Call to Action.
The ELCA’s 2019 social statement, Faith, Sexism, and Justice: A Call to Action provides a powerful framework for gender justice work in the church. “Because we rely on God as a God of promise, this church speaks about sexism and the harm it causes for all people,” says the statement in its introduction. “Those who support gender justice are intent on righting gender-based wrongs that prevent the abundant and flourishing life God intends.”
This historic document draws on the richness of the Lutheran theological tradition. Four primary themes are woven throughout the statement. God desires abundant life for all. Sin subverts human flourishing in many ways—especially the sins of sexism and patriarchy. The Christian tradition holds challenges and resources for resisting sexism. And the ELCA calls for justice and action to foster flourishing in the church and in society.
You can read the full statement here.
Now a new ELCA study guide makes the 80-page document more accessible for individuals, congregations, students, organizations, and faith leaders as they pursue equity for women and girls. It features six flexible sessions that can be customized for in-person gatherings, virtual discussions, or interactive virtual meetings. Each session incorporates hymns, prayers, videos, engaging activities, and invitations to live out the social statement’s call to gender justice in the world.
You can access the study guide for Faith, Sexism, and Justice in the button below.
- All Are Called to Lives of Justice and Abundance
- Patriarchy and Sexism Cause Injustice for Everyone
- Language and Images for God Matter
- Creation Is Diverse, as Is the Body of Christ
- Lutheran Insights Promote Gender Justice
- God Calls Us to Action in Community
Each session is available as a PDF that can be shared remotely or projected in a classroom or meeting room. Groups can select the specific topics they are most interested in and then choose from 45, 60 or 90-minute session formats.
In the basic 45-mintue format, participants watch and discuss a video that describes the theme of that session and they respond to important quotes from the social statement. In addition, each session has an activity that can be engaged virtually, via Zoom, or in person. Some of the in-person activities involve exploring artistic images of God and taking a quiz about sex and gender equity. The study guide can also be used by high school students, especially if they are working with a leader that they trust. If you only have time to offer two sessions, engage session one and then one additional session.
As a member of the Faith, Sexism, and Justice task force and writing team, I’m proud of this groundbreaking document, with its strong biblical and theological grounding and its compelling vision of greater justice for church and society. As Lutherans, we are called to serve the neighbor, affirm the diversity of God’s creation, and work for gender justice for all people. I invite you to explore this wonderful new resource that can empower you and your community to think more deeply about how to resist the sins of patriarchy and sexism and to work towards the more just and flourishing community that God intends.