One of the largest Christian denominations in the USA is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA]. Their six regional districts in Minnesota, called Synods, own the agency that provides general guardianship to Ray Sandford.


Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA]

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA]

Located: Headquarters is in Chicago, but of course, since they are one of the largest Christian denominations, they have activities in every USA state, including Minnesota.

In Minnesota ELCA has six Synods, which are the regional divisions of their church. The Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSSMN), which provides the general guardianship for Ray Sandford, is owned by ELCA.

Connection to Ray’s case, and their position:

First, MindFreedom has never said that ELCA, or their affiliated agency Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSSMN), are directly in charge of the involuntary electroshock of Ray.

However, ELCA definitely has some personal responsibility for what is happening with Ray. And no matter what,  because ELCA states they have a commitment to social justice, they ought to speak out about the issue of human rights and mental health, especially involuntary outpatient electroshock.

Unfortunately, ELCA has essentially washed its hands of Ray Sandford, and of their activities by their affiliated agency Lutheran Social Services, and hundreds of similar agencies.

ELCA has had several representatives state that they feel no connection to Ray’s case, and that they have no responsibility at all for the activities of LSSMN itself.

Certainly, one of the key problems raised by Ray’s case is that there are hundreds of social service agencies that use the good name, reputation and connections of ELCA to obtain government funding; but ELCA itself, and its members, are not providing oversight and accountability about the activities of these agencies.

Public position on Ray Sandford’s forced outpatient electroshock: Despite repeated civil requests from hundreds, refuses to take position.

Public position in general on outpatient involuntary electroshock over expressed wishes of subject: Despite request to engage in dialogue, refuses to speak out or even discuss social justice issues of forced electroshock.

MindFreedom has requested that this group speak out publicly against the forced electroshock of Ray Sandford, or — if they feel this violates his privacy — to speak out against outpatient involuntary electroshock over the expressed wishes of the subject in general.

So far, this group has not yet taken a public position against Ray’s forced shock, or in general against outpatient involuntary shock over the expressed wishes of the subject.

IMPORTANT NOTE:MindFreedom and Ray endorse nonviolence principles. Even if an individual or agency opposes Ray’s human rights, MindFreedom and Ray ask that any communication be civil.

Disclaimer: The information on this page is the opinion of the author, based on reports from Ray Sandford and allies, to the best of their knowledge. If there is any dispute of the facts, please let MindFreedom know.


MindFreedom has been in touch with the office of Bishop Mark Hanson, who leads ELCA.

Bishop Hanson asked Ruth Reko, ELCA’s Director of Social Ministry Department, to respond to MFI. Ms. Reko told MindFreedom, “Supervision is not a concept we enter into with affiliates like LSSMN or our 299 other social service agency affiliates.”

Please ask Bishop Mark Hanson, to encourage ELCA, its Synods and its agencies to engage in productive dialogue on human rights and mental health, especially involuntary electroshock.

Please e-mail to Bishop Mark Hanson here:

Sample message (your own words are best):

“Dear Bishop Hanson:

“Please engage in dialogue about human rights and mental health. I am not saying ELCA is directly in charge of anyone’s forced electroshock, but ELCA could take a stand against it. In the name of social justice, ELCA ought to have more oversight over its affiliated social service agencies that receive taxpayer funds to guard clients.

“Your name and contact info: ___________”

You may also try phoning Bishop Hanson or Ms. Ruth Reko by calling (773) 380-2700. (Wait for an attendant.)

You may e-mail ELCA headquarters at or use their web form by clicking on ‘e-mail’ at this web page:

We also encourage all concerned people in the USA to contact local ELCA congregations, which they can find by entering their postal code here:

More information about ELCA:

To read items about ELCA on the MindFreedom web site click here:

One unfortunate development was that the public relations representative in the headquarters for ELCA, Ms. Miriam Woolbert, resorted to sarcasm in her dismissal of the campaign for Ray:

See the alert here about Ms. Woolbert’s unprofessional comment:

You may read more about Ms. Woolbert here: