Authentic Diversity & DEI

In May of 2022, the Greater Milwaukee Synod Council voted to undertake an Authentic Diversity Audit. This decision was made recognizing that, while this synod has a long history of public statements and resolutions that are filled with eloquent words and lofty goals regarding our commitments to being an antiracist and fully inclusive church, our actions don’t always match our rhetoric. Here’s some additional information about this important work.

What is an Authentic
Diversity Audit?

Simply put, it’s an effort to identify the policies, practices, beliefs, and attitudes that get in the way of our being a fully inclusive and authentically diverse church. The Gold audit expanded on the work started by the Authentic Diversity Task Force formed at the 2021 Synod Assembly.

 

The first step was a review and analysis of our governing documents and public statements through an authentic diversity lens. There were also surveys, interviews and focus group conversations to identify those things that inhibit our progress.

Who will be conducting
the audit?

We have signed a contract with Gold Enterprises, LLC (learn more at goldenterprisesllc.com), a leading firm in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work. They are also conducting an audit of the Metropolitan DC Synod of the ELCA, and they have a diverse, energetic, and experienced team of consultants. 

How long will the
audit take?

We received the final report and recommendations of the audit (phase 1) in the Spring/Summer of 2023. We are now moving into a synod-wide strategic planning process based on the audit’s recommendations at the synod assembly (phase 2).

How is the audit
being paid for?

The synod council determined that the audit was consistent with the goals of the Equipping the Saints Mission Appeal, supporting the work of the Racial Equity Organizer position, so the audit is being paid for with ETS funds already raised, including a generous grant from the Siebert Lutheran Foundation and funds resulting from the closing of Abiding Savior Lutheran Church.

But Will Anything Really Change?

That’s up to us. The audit will only be successful if leaders from all across the synod actively participate, especially people of color and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. We had over 500 participants in the survey, and we are conducting focus group interviews as well. We will receive the final report and recommendations at our synod assembly on June 3, and the work will be implemented in the following ways:
  1. We have hired an Assistant to the Bishop for Authentic Diversity and Leadership, the Rev. Afi Dobbins-Mays. Her job is to guide and support this work, alongside the rest of the synod staff, the synod council, rostered ministers, and congregational leaders across the synod.
  2. We will encourage and support the formation of congregational teams to implement this work in a manner appropriate to each setting.
  3. The synod council will continue to oversee implementation of the final recommendations as they apply to synod policies, procedures, and documents.
Resources

July 2023 - Authentic Diversity Audit Synopsis

In the document linked below, Gold Enterprises summarizes their findings from the synod-wide diversity audit (phase 1), and lays out the process for synod-wide strategic planning (phase 2).

June 2023 (presented at Synod Assembly)

Pre-Assembly Zoom Presentation
Assembly Presentation - Part 1 (Plenary 1)
Assembly Presentation - Part 2 (Plenary 2)
Assembly Presentation - Part 3 (Plenary 2)

January 2023 (presented at Together in Mission)