The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: The Whitest Christian Denomination in the United States

Author: Lily Pingel
Major: Sociology
Approved: Spring 2021
Status: In progress

This project will attempt to determine why the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is the whitest denomination in the US. After developing a review of the literature, I will conduct interviews with pastors in the Virginia Synod in order to gauge their opinions on the homogeneity of the ELCA and where they think the way forward, in terms of racial reconciliation in the ELCA, may be. I will then follow up with a larger-scale survey, sent to pastors, laypeople, and parishioners throughout the Virginia Synod. The questions in this survey will likely be primarily determined by responses from previous interviews, in order to answer more general questions I may have that I want to get public opinion on. After analyzing data and writing a research paper, I will present my findings to the Virginia Synod Assembly when it meets here at Roanoke College in June of 2023.