top of page

Public Apology for the Former Sierra Pacific Synod Logo

Regardless of our titles and roles, anti-racism work is the job of every employee of the Sierra Pacific Synod. Today, I want to share one example of how we are seeking to decrease bias in the signs, symbols, staffing, policies, practices and gatherings of the Synod.

As we downsize from three offices, to one Millbrae office in a congregation, we have done a lot of packing and getting ready to digitize 100 boxes of documents. As we prepare these files, I have been reflecting on the signs and the symbols that have been a part of our Synod's history.

The most troubling to me is our former logo. As a parent of black children, I have taught my children to run and seek safety if they ever see a cross that is on fire. I have taught them the history of how Christianity has been used to harm and oppress others, especially those who are black.

I imagine our previous Synod logo was designed to remind us of the spirit of Pentecost that inspires us to preach and teach in the languages of the world. But all I see when I look at it, is a cross on fire. For those who have been hurt by this imagery, I apologize.

I believe in naming the mistakes of our past so we can do better. I was given a cope with this image embordered on it that I will be putting in our public archive with a copy of this blog to remind future generations that change is possible and continuously needed. Our Synod is committed to being ever re-forming, that works requires continues action, reflection and when needed an apology.

I am sorry. I ask forgiveness on behalf of the Synod.

3,346 views5 comments

Recent Posts

See All

2023 Parochial Reports

It is the season of statistical reporting! A census if you will. :-) In December your congregation may have received an email from ELCA Churchwide about the 2023 Parochial Reports. The email announced


Whatever your desire to make changes and apologize for former generations and their jumped the gun too quickly. If you did something like this in the first month of your pastorate you would be in trouble......understandable trouble. My prayers go with you. Pastor Paul G. Carlson

Unknown member
Aug 30, 2021
Replying to

The ELCA asks all organizations to participate in healing actions like this one. Authentic Diversity is a strategic effort to name actions like these. Documents calling individuals, congregations, Synods and other organizations to name and repent when necessary were approved in 2019. You can learn more about the ELCA’s Authentic Diversity strategy here:


Sandra Wolpert
Sandra Wolpert
Aug 25, 2021

Are you kidding me! How stupid can you get?

God did not make races, he made individuals. By assuming that a child of God can not possible understand the symbolism of the Holy Spirit as represented in the logo, you treat these children as lesser than people of any other heritage. You are the racist not the un-woke.

This is going to far and I can no longer take part in this condescending hogwash.


Aug 20, 2021

Thanks be to God for ministering unto the mistakes, dysfunction, stumbles, and oppression in our faiths, Bishop. May the Spirit lead on through your apologies and witnessing.


Jan Rizzo
Jan Rizzo
Aug 19, 2021

Yes, it was not a good choice to have the flames on the cross. The first logo of the ELCA also had flames. We worked hard in the ELCA Communications Department to make changes but some of those changes were late in coming.

bottom of page