Racial Justice

Micah 6:8and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Holy Trinity commits to study, pray, and be active participants to combat racism in all forms.
It is a continuous journey in listening, learning, and advocating.
Listening  to the voice of God, the direction of the synod, and the voices, experience, and expertise of people of color.
Learning  the history of systemic racism in the United States and the ways racism and white supremacy impact every aspect of  life.
Holy Trinity publicly supports and advocates for the work of other anti-racist groups and individuals.
Holy Trinity believes in justice, equity, and love.
Racial injustice exists in the past and present, and we have been complicit in it. Holy Trinity will work towards justice for all. 
Equity and equality are not the same; equity recognizes each person has different circumstances and works to ensure everyone receives what they need to improve the quality of their situation.
All people are made in God’s image. God greatest commandment is to love one another, no exceptions.

Advocating for Racial Justice

Addressing racial injustice has been a part of the Minneapolis ELCA synod and the ELCA in general for many years. The Minneapolis Synod added a resolution addressing racial injustice in 2016, and in 2019, Brenda Blackhawk became the Congregational Organizer for Racial Justice. In response to the murder of George Floyd, the Minneapolis ELCA synod urged all congregations to have conversations about race and how they can take the next steps toward living in their Christian calling.
Holy Trinity’s Racial Justice Committee held their first meeting in June of 2020. Please contact Melissa Horejsi, or call the church office at 952-758-3513 for further questions about the Racial Justice Committee.

Upcoming Events


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Keep scrolling to learn more about Holy Trinity’s Racial Justice Committee and resources available.

The Work Continues

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has six ethnic-specific ministry areas – Indigenous, African Decent, Arab and Middle Eastern, Asian and Pacific Islander, European, and Latino – with a united purpose to engage in cross-cultural and racial equity learning. Holy Trinity’s Racial Justice Committee Facilitator Melissa Horejsi recently attended a three-day conference of the European Decent Lutheran Association for Racial Justice (EDLARJ) and soaked in a wealth of knowledge about the work that continues for racial justice in America. 
Melissa joined approximately sixty pastors, deacons, ELCA Synod staff, and lay leaders (like herself) at the Triennial Gathering in Minneapolis. Established in 2006 by the ELCA Church Council, and originally named the European American Lutheran Association in 2008, the group voted on a new name at the Gathering, the ELCA Associations of White Lutherans for Racial Justice. Despite the name changes, their purpose has not, whose mission statement is “to dismantle racism, white privilege, and white power by recognizing and confessing our individual and corporate sin and addressing institutional racism in the church and society.” 
Melissa’s love for learning and her passion for racial and social justice made it an easy decision to attend. She explains, “As a member (and facilitator) of Holy Trinity’s Racial Justice committee, I felt it was important to know what was happening in the ELCA Racial Justice groups, including the EDLARJ. I was curious about learning more first-hand. Having primary sources of information and multiple perspectives is important for me to understand all aspects of things better.
Throughout the conference, Melissa enjoyed mingling and learning from people all over the US. “Pastors are really cool people just to hang with outside of the church environment,” she exclaims! “We had very open conversations about different churches and how and what they do with their programming and services. EVERYONE I talked with was super surprised how much our congregation was thriving!” She also learned about ELCA racial justice efforts on a national level, such as monthly Zoom networking sessions, and book studies facilitated by leading experts.
A spark that lit a national call for racial justice occurred in May 2020 involving the murder of George Floyd. Coincidentally, after months of discussion, Holy Trinity’s Racial Justice Committee was formed one month later with Melissa facilitating the group’s efforts. Over the past four years, the Racial Justice Committee has provided learning opportunities through field trips, book studies, and guest speakers. However, nothing could prepare Melissa for her time spent with Triennial Gathering attendees at the George Floyd Global Memorial. “We met at Calvary Lutheran Church, one block south from George Floyd Square where we listened to a panel of people from the neighborhood. They spoke openly about their thoughts and feelings from before, during, and after George Floyd’s murder and what life is like living in the neighborhood. We shared a meal catered by Pimento Jamaican Kitchen, and they took us to various spots in their neighborhood. Afterward, we walked with Brass Solidarity through the Square back to Calvary to have time for worship. People from the neighborhood came out and some joined us on our walk and worship. It was a very powerful and moving experience.”
Melissa is one of Holy Trinity’s biggest cheerleaders, and she loves all that Holy Trinity has to offer. She has compiled a list of resources she gained from attending the Triennial Gathering. “I would love for our congregation to have this information and know that no matter where they are in their journey of understanding racial injustice, it’s important for all of us to keep moving forward to learn and do more. Also, there are a TON of resources through the ELCA and in our communities to keep plugging along on our separate journeys and our collective journey as a congregation and community.” Watch a brief video clip from the George Floyd Global Memorial Facebook page to see a bit of Melissa’s experience. Learn more about the George Floyd Square Pilgrimage Journey guides (be sure to check out Jennie, Marquise and Kia!)
Thank you, Melissa, for taking the time to be Holy Trinity’s beacon for racial justice by attending the Triennial Gathering. If you’d like to learn more, click the blue hyperlinks in the article or the information listed below. 
Written by Karen Taylor, Communications Manager
April 26, 2024

Doing Better

Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better. – Maya Angelou
Minneapolis – May 2020Los Angeles – April 1992USA – April 1968Tulsa – May/June 1921. The hyperlinks give a clue to what these locations and dates have in common. Despite being separated by generations, these events resulted in racial justice boiling points. Sadly, racial injustices have been happening in the United States for centuries to communities of color. For almost four years, a dedicated group from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church has been focused on doing better.

In the spring of 2020, Pastor Alicia Hilding mentioned the Minneapolis Area Synod’s (MAS) desire to have every congregation prioritize anti-racism work. She gathered a team of people to start a racial justice task force. Members include (bottom row left to right) Jane Wick, Melissa Horejsi, Jen Sayler (top row left to right), Sande Schoenecker, Liz Nelson, Wendy Mathiowetz, and Linnea Hautman. The aftermath of George Floyd’s murder and the Minneapolis riots were the tipping point for many, including Melissa, who felt called to facilitate the group. She explains, “I wanted to do more. I felt called to step up and lead a racial justice group. I knew it was something I could be a part of. I wanted to learn more and to do so alongside a group of people in our church who also wanted to grow in their faith and understand privilege and racism in America.”  The newly formed Racial Justice Committee held its first meeting in June 2020 with the assistance of Brenda Blackhawk, the MAS Congregational Organizer for Racial Justice. 
As the whitest Christian denomination in the US, battling 400 years of systemic racism is a monumental task. Many Lutherans grew up believing Jesus had blue eyes, blond hair, and light skin…just like the picture hanging on living room walls. Holy Trinity’s Racial Justice Committee’s (RJC) first task was to educate themselves and provide opportunities for others to learn. Member Sande Schoenecker states, “During the last four years, the committee has dedicated learning about racism and how to be anti-racist. The book study, “How to Fight Racism,” by Jemar Tisby, that we completed this fall was open to the community. It was a very meaningful and purposeful learning experience. We found that many of us share the desire to unlearn racism.” 
Jen Sayler agrees, “The book study was a definite highlight for me. In his book, Jemar introduced the ARC model – Awareness, Relationships, and Commitment to fighting racism. RJC provides opportunities for awareness, learning, and growth, as well as forming relationships with others in conversation and partnership to stay committed to equity work.”

Jane Wick joined the RJC shortly after becoming a member at Holy Trinity. “I joined because I want to be part of a Christian group that helps our congregation and community realize all of the racial injustices that have happened and are still happening in our world. I have enjoyed being part of events that teach others how to be more open and loving to all people.”  Linnea Hautman adds, “I wanted to learn more and grow through the work on anti-racism with other ELCA Lutherans.”
Over the years, the RJC has encouraged cultural exploration through field trips to Hocokata Tithe Dakota 38 Memorial and Mahkato Wacipi, as well as theater productions of Imagine a US Without Racism and Black Nativity. Often, field trips end with sharing a meal at restaurants linked to the educational experience, like Taste of Rondo and Soul to Soul Smokehouse

Wendy Mathiowetz shared her most memorable experience from Holy Trinity’s recent Adult Form presented by Manny Lewis, Minneapolis Area Synod’s Congregational Organizer for Racial Justice on the Cash Bail Bond system. Wendy explains, “Manny’s talk on bail really opened my eyes to the kinds of choices people have to make within our judicial system. Sometimes, there are no good choices, and people choose the least harmful to their families. Hearing Manny’s story showed me how ghetto Grace of God and a few well-meaning people showing up at the right time can have a huge impact on the trajectory of our lives.”
Whether it’s hosting education events at Holy Trinity or experiencing a different culture through field trips, Liz Nelson sums it up best. “The Racial Justice Committee is a valuable resource for the Holy Trinity faith community. They provide numerous opportunities to learn, listen, and build new relationships that are steps in making a difference in restoring racial justice and equity for all of God’s people.”
Darbie Berger’s painting, “Embracing Diversity,” hangs in the Fellowship Hall as a constant reminder that ALL ARE WELCOME. Throughout February, Holy Trinity has been celebrating Black History Month by singing a Black spiritual hymn during worship. RJC members also set up the Little Anti-Racism Library in the Fellowship Hall (under Darbie’s artwork) for easier access. All are welcome to join the Racial Justice Committee as they host an Adult Form on “Land Acknowledgement.” Come to learn what it is and why it’s important. Sunday, March 17 at 10 am in Paul’s Place. Thank you to the RJC for sharing God’s love for all people from one generation to the next through educational events!
Written by Karen Taylor, Communications Manager
February 23, 2024