Faith and Social Justice

Join a Book Discussion Online

Dear Church: A Book Discussion on Diversity and the Lutheran Church

Once/week on Tuesdays, 6:30-8:00 p.m., on Zoom, starting October 6

Engage in conversations, listen to other voices, and share stories together – all while reading the book, Dear Church by Lenny Duncan. Faith Lutheran Church in Forest Lake invites the Incarnation community to take part in this opportunity to explore diversity in the church and, particularly, in the Lutheran Church (ELCA). Dear Church is described as “a love letter to our church, which offers a challenging and hopeful way to understand God’s life-giving and justice-making truth…” Take part in Zoom gatherings with large group time and breakout groups, once a week on Tuesday evenings. Nate Bergengren leads this opportunity and is on staff at both Faith Lutheran Church and Incarnation Lutheran Church (worship music leader for Children, Youth, and Family Ministry at Incarnation).

For more information, visit:
To order the book, visit:
Register at:

Resources for Learning

As a basic starting place, the Incarnation Council and staff have made a commitment to read the book, White Fragility: Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo and to engage in dialogue around the book. You are invited to join us in reading this book, so that as a community, we can begin to have some common language to use as we go forward together. 

Here are other suggestions for starting to learnThis list is not comprehensive, but it is a place to start.

Watch the movie Just Mercy and the documentary 13th  this summer. You can stream Just Mercy on multiple platforms (YouTube, Google Play, Amazon, Xfinity On Demand, and others). A short series of discussion questions for Just Mercy are here. Discussion questions for 13th are here.

Engage in dialogue in a book discussion group. Contact Denise Floe for more information. For those already in a Small Group, consider stepping into a book discussion or another study that explores racial justice.


Continue to read, taking in the voices of other black authors this summer.

Look into resources addressing Minnesota context.

Talk about racial justice in your family.

Incarnation’s Loving Response to Our Underserved Neighbors

Life continues to be enormously challenging for many of our underserved neighbors, especially in the wake of George Floyd’s death but also because of other circumstances many people face. We can all help alleviate pain, bringing forth hope and relief to those who are suffering, through the Twin Cities Mutual Aid Project.

Updated 10/5/20: Continue supporting one of the many Twin Cites Mutual Aid sites. Check out the extensive, interactive Twin Cities Mutual Aid map to learn where you may donate items, what items are needed, days/hours to drop off, as well as ways to volunteer in service.

Read the details of this evolving model of service and how everyone may continue to be a part

How did Bethlehem Lutheran In-the-Midway become a mutual aid site in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death? Watch this Twin Cities PBS Original piece and  read the compelling words of community organizer, Allie.

Dear Friends of Incarnation,

Social justice—a life that focuses on justice, the well-being of all human relationships, and the social structures that promote that justice and well-being—is a central theme of the biblical narrative. Social justice is God’s love in action. The question about social justice is not, “Should we, as followers of Jesus, pursue social justice?” The question is “In what ways will we pursue social justice in our context and time?”

The cry for social justice was particularly strong through the prophets:

“Hear this, you that trample the needy,
And bring to ruin the poor of the land.” (Amos 8:4)

 “Do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien or the poor;
And do not devise evil in your heart against one another.” (Zechariah 7: 10)

“Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Everyone loves a bribe
And runs after gifts. They do not defend the orphan, and the widow’s cause
Does not come before them.” (Isaiah 1: 23)

Note the focus was not just on individuals who trample on the needy but also on the systems they (the princes) established. In the face of that oppression, the prophets cried out:

“Let justice roll down like waters,
And righteousness like an everflowing stream.” (Amos 5: 24)

“God has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
(Micah 6:8)

Those themes echoed throughout Jesus’ life and ministry. Listen to Jesus’ first words from his first sermon in Luke,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me
To bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.” (Luke 4: 18)

Justice was a hallmark of Jesus’ ministry and a marker of the reality of the Kingdom of God: Good news to the poor. Release to captives. Freedom for the oppressed.

To be Jesus’ people is to share his heart for justice.

So now we must ask, “In what ways will we pursue justice in our time and context?”

The killing of George Floyd ignited the communities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and became the flashpoint for us to take a hard look at the ways we have not lived justly with our Black, Indigenous and People of Color neighbors and, as significantly, the ways we have ignored systems of racism.

As leaders of Incarnation, the biblical call to work for justice and to take on systems of oppression has presented itself in a way that we cannot overlook or deny, no matter how painful it is. Justice is God’s love in action.

If we are to live out our vision of “a world filled with God’s grace and love” we must be willing to face what we need to face, to change what we can change, and to work where we can work so that all people can thrive in our communities of faith and in our surrounding neighborhoods.

The Incarnation Council, pastors and other staff leadership will meet to discuss what is Incarnation’s path forward and you will be informed of what plans come from those meetings. Until then, we ask you to pray for all who are hurt by racism, the communities who have seen destruction, for our church leadership and for how you may be a part of God’s call to justice for all people.

Together in Christ,

Sally Lawless
Erin Rowles
Vice President 
Roger Schlichting
Brenda Roloff
Bob Holt
Council Member
Sue Katzke
Council Member
Kristin Passaro
Council Member
Wyatt Stahl
Council Member
Don Martin
Council Member 
Kai Nilsen
Senior Pastor 
Jeanne Hartfield
Pastor for Adult Learning
& Spiritual Formation
Joel Vander Wal
Pastor for Children,
Youth and Family


A Message from Senior Pastor Kai Nilsen

Senior Pastor Kai Nilsen

Twin Cities to Chicago to Columbus, Ohio to Norfolk, Virginia. A week ago when we left, these cities were simply stops on the way to see family as we began a cross country trek to help my son and daughter-in-law move in to their new home in Norfolk, Virginia. As I write this, they are four of dozens of cities across the country with marches protesting the killing of George Floyd, including a peaceful march five stories below my son’s new apartment. As we know, from the gut-wrenching images in our own cities, all the marches have not been as peaceful.

How did we get here?

Click here to read more.