Our mission is to Rise Up! Build Bridges. Bear Burdens. Break Chains. Bring Hope!
Southeast Michigan Synod • ELCA

Immigration and Refugee Task Force

Acts In Common

Acts in Common Website

Acts In Common is an organization of Christian believers who seek to renew, resource and empower Lutheran congregations and ministries in African American neighborhoods in the Detroit metropolitan area. Acts In Common seeks to assist these congregations and ministries in finding creative and public ways to invite others to know God’s love through Jesus Christ. For more information, please visit www.actsincommon.org or r.mccants@semisynod.com.


BRRICK (Building Racial Reconciliation in Christ’s Kingdom) is designed to Build Racial Inter-Dependence through Grace and Empowerment to Heal and Empower God’s Anti-racist People (Bridge The Gap).

BRRICK is chaired by Rev. Michael Johnson mvjohn3@sbcglobal.net. The team meets regularly, and members of the synod are invited to be in conversation with us.

This list of Anti-Racism Resources may be useful for your edification.

Hunger Task Force

The Hunger Task Force encourages and supports members and congregations throughout our synod in all efforts that address hunger. From raising funds and awareness to food pantries, soup kitchens and advocacy, members of the Southeast Michigan Synod are daily working to eradicate hunger in our local and global world. For more information contact Co Chairs Rev. Anna Taylor McCants annataylormccants@gmail.com or Rev. Sara Freudenburg pastorsara@emmanuel-livonia.org.

ELCA World Hunger

Emergency Food Stats

Diversity Task Force on Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression

The Diversity Task Force on Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression is an official entity of the Southeast Michigan Synod.  It is comprised of people from diverse sexual and gender orientations both lay and rostered, and works on issues within the church surrounding gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people. Additionally, the Task Force offers educational opportunities/resources to ELCA congregations and individuals seeking to explore questions of sexuality and gender.

Diversity Hearts

Our Mission Statement: The Diversity Task Force on Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression is committed to justice and full inclusion of all God’s people within our congregations, the Southeast Michigan Synod, and the ELCA through education, support, advocacy, and faith!

Our Task Force accomplishes its work through a variety of initiatives:

  • Engaged participant at the annual Southeast Michigan Synod Assembly where we educate through table displays, workshops, and personal conversations.
  • Trusted presence at synodical and ELCA events such as the annual December Michigan Youth Gathering with the North/West Lower Michigan Synod and the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering in Detroit.
  • Informed educational presentations for congregations seeking speakers or a panel to share knowledge, resources, and faith journeys as LGBTQ Lutherans or as allies.
  • Secured and confidential e-mail distribution list where members and friends are kept apprised of our activities and other topical news impacting the LGBTQ faith community. (One may be added to the Diversity Task Force distribution list by contacting Chair Wendy Wellman at wendywellman@gmail.com or Rob Montry at montry@umflint.edu.)

The following provides a timeline of past Diversity Task Force accomplishments: Diversity Task Force Timeline. One major focus of the Task Force in recent years has been the active support and promotion of the Reconciling in Christ (RIC) welcoming program sponsored by ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation (formerly Lutherans Concerned/North America). 

The RIC program is for congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries, and other Lutheran organizations who seek to publicly welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people with an “Affirmation of Welcome” or “Welcome Statement.” 

Our Task Force in tandem with ReconcilingWorks provides information, resources, and proactive support to congregations who are exploring the importance of welcoming people of all sexual orientations and gender identities/expressions into the radiant light of Christ’s unconditional love where they may find safety, respect, and the warm embrace of a loving faith community.  The RIC roster now exceeds 700 Lutheran settings in North America, including the Southeast Michigan Synod and 11 of our congregations/campus ministries.

Convening once a month on weekday evenings between September and May (excluding December), meeting locations alternate between churches in Ann Arbor and metropolitan Detroit.  The agenda is preceded by light dinner and devotions.  With a membership in excess of one hundred, a typical meeting may draw twelve to fifteen as individuals attend based upon availability.  Reflecting the diversity of the group, a variety of congregations and localities are represented from throughout the synod.  The Diversity Task Force on Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression invites new members, friends, and allies to join us for fellowship as we work for justice and inclusivity in our congregations, synod, ELCA, and society.  For further information, please contact Chair Wendy Wellman at wendylwellman@gmail.com or Rob Montry at montry@umflint.edu.

Immigration Task Force


Why AMMPARO? In a holistic, whole church commitment by the ELCA, as a church in the world, AMMPARO was envisioned to accompany children today and in the future who are forced to flee their communities because of complex and interrelated reasons, including chronic violence, poverty, environmental displacement and lack of opportunities in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. 

The Immigration and Refugee Task Force meets monthly in person at Hope Lutheran Church in Farmington Hills as well as via zoom on the third Wednesday of each month from noon to 1:30pm.  The goals of the task force include:

  • To further our understanding of what is happening in SE Michigan, Michigan at large, and the United States in issues relating to immigrants and refugees.
  • To be a presence in the community in partnership with those working to serve or advocate for immigrants and refugees.
  • To educate ourselves and then our congregations about what we can do to walk alongside refugees and immigrants.
  • To be a stronger presence within the SE Michigan Synod to further the work of the church’s awareness of and valuation of work in immigration and refugee advocacy, justice, and support.

Task force members have developed relationships with and provide updates from a broad spectrum of faith-based and secular entities including: Guardian Angels and AMMPARO, Strangers No Longer, Freedom House, Hamtramck area refugee community, World Refugee Day and Advocacy Week, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, Church World Service, Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, Michigan United, Justice for Our Neighbors, Border Servant Corp., SEMI ELCA Synod Justice Committees and Task Forces, Samaritas Opportunities for Engagements, ELCA Advocacy, and national legislative updates.

Special activities from 2022-2023 include:

  • Resuming visits to Judge Jennifer Gorland’s Chambers in Federal Immigration Court in Detroit to serve as Guardian Angels for unaccompanied minors going through the asylum request process in the U.S.   
  • December service experience sorting and packing donations at Samaritas storage facility in Sterling Heights and hearing from Samaritas staff involved in preparing for and moving refugee families into apartments and homes.
  • Hosting two immigration-related workshops at the Justice Summit held on March 25, 2023, covering topics including: Sponsoring a Refugee Family and Who are the Immigrants?.
  • Planning for an upcoming Border Immersion Experience planned for October 8-12, 2023, in El Paso, Texas in partnership with Border Servant Corp and led by Pr. Jack Eggleston. 

If interested in participating in or learning more about the Immigration and Refugee Task Force, please contact Chair, Jessica Beamer, at djbeamer@sbcglobal.net. 

Women of the ELCA

Women of the ELCA (W/ELCA) is an organization committed to mobilizing women to act boldly on their faith in Jesus Christ. At the congregational, synodical and Churchwide levels, women are affirmed and supported as they engage in group and individual ministries that seek to promote healing and wholeness in the church, their communities and the world. More information may be obtained at the following web sites: www.womenoftheelca.org and www.semi-welca.org.

Hearts, Hands and Voices

Hearts, Hands and Voices is a summer camp program led Dr. Michael Burkhardt. It is a unique opportunity for churches of Southeast Michigan to invite young people of all faith and music backgrounds to come together in a safe and welcoming environment to grow spiritually and musically. Through hands-on experiences hearts, hands and voices endeavors to provide children with lifelong tools for creating, appreciating and sharing music, participating in worship, and leading productive lives in society. Click this link to go to the Hearts, Hands, and Voices Home page for more information.

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