Racial Equity Audit-Update on Stage 2

Group 236

Dear Siblings in Christ,

The Synod Council and staff have been working diligently, in partnership with Gold Enterprises, to complete the Racial Equity Audit. Over the past 6 months, many important steps of this process have been completed and we are sharing some insights and next steps with you today.

We have summarized the hours, days, and weeks worth of audit work into a two-page document for your review which you can download below. This document outlines and shares findings from the following steps which were completed in 2022:

  • Document Review – over 217 synod documents were analyzed and reviewed
  • Online Survey – completed by 250 individuals
  • In-Person & Online Listening Sessions – attended by 29 individuals

Click here to Download the Handout

Next Step: Strategic Planning

The Synod Council and staff have assembled a team of rostered ministers and lay leaders from congregations within the Metro D.C. Synod to form a strategic planning team that will meet regularly over the next four months to digest the audit findings and identify an action plan for the next steps. The strategic plan report will be the outcome of our audit and will help us shape our ongoing commitment to racial equity in the years ahead.  Information about the strategic plan will be presented at the 2023 Synod Assembly. 

Based on the audit findings, the strategic plan will focus on the following areas:

  • Culture Shifts
  • Identity/Affinity Groups
  • Rostered Ministers
  • Policy Updates
  • Synod-wide Communications

Members of the Strategic Planning Team are:

  • Emily DeMarco – Candidate for Word & Sacrament; member of All Saints | Bowie, MD
  • Rev. Troy Jacobson – Good Samaritan | Lexington Park, MD
  • Rev. Hank Langknecht – Christ the King | Great Falls, VA
  • Rev. Frank Morales – Saint Luke & La Sagrada Familia | Silver Spring, MD
  • Don Mullins – Candidacy Chair; member of Good Shepherd | Gaithersburg, MD
  • Rev. Elijah Mwitanti – Christ Evangelical | Fairfax, VA
  • Rev. Julia Ogg – Community Lutheran | Sterling, VA
  • Shannon Spence – Leader of Metro D.C. Synod’s Faith in Action Racial Equity Network; member of Peace Lutheran | Alexandria, VA
  • Rev. Jeanette Surita-Vazquetelles – Hope Lutheran | Annandale, VA
  • Duke Taylor – lay leader; member of Abiding Presence | Burke, VA
  • Krystal Waters – Candidate for Word & Sacrament; member of Georgetown | Washington DC
  • Rev. David Yocis – Epiphany | Alexandria, VA

Members of the synod staff and council who will be participating include:

  • Jennifer Slagle Peck – Vice President of synod council; member of Epiphany | Burtonsville, MD
  • Melody Stachour – synod council member; member of St. Matthews | Woodbridge, VA
  • Don Wallace – synod council member; member of King of Kings | Fairfax, VA
  • Bishop Leila Ortiz – Metro D.C. Synod
  • Rev. Lamar Bailey – Assistant to the Bishop | Metro D.C. Synod
  • Katharyn Wheeler – Administrative Assistant to the Bishop; Candidate for Word & Service
  • Kelly Champagne – Communications Coordinator for synod; Evoke team
  • Annie Larson – Communications Coordinator for synod; Evoke team


Please continue to lift up in prayer all of our synod’s racial equity work, which is occurring both through this audit and in and through our congregations and congregants.  Please also remember the members of the strategic planning team, who are volunteering their time and talents to help our synod and its congregations dismantle white supremacy in the church and society, eliminate racial biases from our processes and policies, and better serve all of God’s beloved creation.

La Paz,
The Rev. Leila M. Ortiz
Bishop, Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod

Jennifer A. Slagle Peck
Vice President, Synod Council