Feed aggregator

Monday, April 23, 2018

God Pause - 14 hours 26 min ago
Acts 8:26-40 -- The connection violated all kinds of normative boundaries and barriers—culture, class and sexuality to name a few. Yet, the connection was obviously Spirit-led. As Phillip approached, he heard the Ethiopian eunuch reading from Isaiah. The text spoke about innocence slaughtered, human injustice read more...
Categories: God Pause

Sunday, April 22, 2018

God Pause - Sun, 04/22/2018 - 00:00
"Guide Me Ever, Great Redeemer," ELW 618 -- Guide me ever, great Redeemer, pilgrim through this barren land. I am weak, but you are mighty; hold me with your pow'rful hand. Bread of heaven, bread of heaven, feed me now and evermore, feed me now and evermore. Open now the crystal fountain where read more...
Categories: God Pause

Saturday, April 21, 2018

God Pause - Sat, 04/21/2018 - 00:00
"Guide Me Ever, Great Redeemer," ELW 618 -- Guide me ever, great Redeemer, pilgrim through this barren land. I am weak, but you are mighty; hold me with your pow'rful hand. Bread of heaven, bread of heaven, feed me now and evermore, feed me now and evermore. Open now the crystal fountain where read more...
Categories: God Pause

Friday, April 20, 2018

God Pause - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 00:00
John 10:11-18 -- In this gospel reading, Jesus makes the intentions of his ministry clear: that there would be one flock and one shepherd. In addition to tending to those who already know and trust his voice, Jesus says that he must bring in those who do not already belong to his fold. He then speaks read more...
Categories: God Pause

Thursday, April 19, 2018

God Pause - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 00:00
John 10:11-18 -- This coming Sunday of the church year is often called "Good Shepherd Sunday." In our reading for today Jesus begins by calling himself the Good Shepherd, alluding to Ezekiel 34:11ff. According to Jesus, a good shepherd stands apart from a hired hand, because the shepherd is willing to read more...
Categories: God Pause

Psalm 150

Daily Bible Verse - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 00:00

​ Let everything that breathes praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

God Pause - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 00:00
1 John 3:16-24 -- Even though I am familiar with this passage of scripture, somehow this is the first time I really noticed the phrase, "God is greater than our hearts" (Verse 20). I'm sure we are all familiar with the counsel that when we are facing big decisions or feeling conflicted, we should "listen read more...
Categories: God Pause

ELCA Church Council meets under Future Directions 2025

ELCA News - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 00:00

CHICAGO – The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) met at The Lutheran Center in Chicago April 5-8. The council, which serves as the ELCA's board of directors, convened under the framework of ELCA Future Directions 2025.

In her report, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton emphasized that the work of the churchwide organization, including that of the council, is guided by "ways to live into and implement the five goals that we set as a church together in Future Directions 2025."

"This church spent a good deal of time and invested in heartfelt conversation and prayerful conversation trying to discern what God has been calling us to do," said Eaton. "As we look at those goals, how are they lived out, (how do they) enhance and support our two foci of vital congregations and leadership?" she asked.

Eaton went on to say that the council will play a significant role in helping the church determine how to make vital congregations and leadership a priority and will also play a role in discovering ways to build on these efforts.

Related to the fifth goal of Future Directions 2025 that states "a well-governed, connected and sustainable church," the council approved a proposal from the board development committee to create an ELCA governance policy manual. As a first step in the process – and to help build consensus around their shared understanding of roles and responsibilities – the council discussed ways to strengthen governance of the ELCA in order to provide for clarity in roles and authority, strong relationships and shared leadership, and a culture of willing accountability. It also appointed an ad hoc committee to oversee the development of an ELCA governance policy manual.

In further conversation around Future Directions 2025, the council continued a discussion on sustainability and church structures that began during the November 2017 meeting.  

In other business, the council:

  • received an introduction to a draft of the inter-religious policy statement by the inter- religious task force. A final statement for consideration by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly will be presented at the council's November 2018 meeting;

  • engaged in a discussion on gender identity and next steps in the council's decisions on existing gender-identity definitions and policies. The council was asked to study gender identity and review existing ELCA definitions and policies through a 2016 Churchwide Assembly memorial and a resolution on gender identity;

  • held a hearing on the draft social statement on women and justice. The proposed social statement will be presented to the council's April 2019 meeting for consideration by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly;

  • received a report of the Theological Education Advisory Committee;

  • affirmed the 2018-2019 operational plan of the churchwide organization;

  • approved the policy and procedure for the allocation of "where needed most" dollars in Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA;

  • voted to refer the proposed recommendations from the Entrance Rite Discernment Group to the Office of the Secretary for preliminary work on possible amendments to the constitution, bylaws and continuing resolutions. The council encouraged the group to share the report with the whole church and present final recommendations at the November 2018 meeting;

  • approved the creation of a task force of council members, churchwide organization staff and liaison bishops to consider a future ELCA campaign and a strategic focus on generating additional revenue for the church. The council also authorized the executive committee to appoint members to the task force. The task force will present a timeline at the council's November 2018 meeting and a report at the April 2019 meeting;

  • elected Sonja Wolfe, Kenosha, Wis., to the council for a term ending in 2022;

  • approved a council-designated fund of $2.75 million representing the excess revenue over expenses from fiscal year 2017 to be released to fund the post-retirement medical benefit obligations of the churchwide organization; and

  • approved the "Political and Civil Human Rights: Equal Access and Participation" social criteria investment screen requested through a 2016 Churchwide Assembly memorial regarding "justice for the Holy Land through responsible investment."

The council also received:

  • reports from the officers, its committees, the churchwide organization administrative team and the Conference of Bishops;

  • reports from the ELCA Ethnic Associations, including a follow-up on the Multi-Cultural Summit. The council also discussed how the voices of the ethnic associations can be more representative during council meetings;

  • updates on Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA; and

  • greetings from ecumenical partners.

The council also shared congregational vitality learnings.

- - -

About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million members in more than 9,400 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.

For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder
773-380-2877
Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org
 

Categories: ELCA

Hosea 5:15—6:6

Daily Bible Verse - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 00:00

I will return again to my place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face. In their distress they will beg my favor: Come, let us return to the LORD; for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck down, and he will bind us up.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

God Pause - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 00:00
Psalm 23 -- The congregation I serve faced a lot of death and dying during the season of Lent. In addition to losing a few beloved congregational members, we also received a larger than normal number of requests for funerals from the surrounding community. Many congregations seem to go through such seasons. read more...
Categories: God Pause

Earth Day statement from ELCA presiding bishop

ELCA News - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 00:00

As members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), we share a deep love for all of God's creation and a profound responsibility for it. Made in the image of God, we are called to continue what God is already doing for the earth (Psalm 104), enabling it to flourish. God assigns humans to care for the earth as God does, in loving servanthood. (Philippians 2:7, Genesis 2:15).[i]  

Daily we witness the evidence of a rapidly changing climate. At the same time, we also witness in too many instances how the earth's natural beauty, a sign of God's wonderful creativity, is defiled by pollutants and waste, resulting in ecological crisis. As a member church of The Lutheran World Federation, we affirm "that the global ecological crisis, including climate change is, human-induced. This is a spiritual matter. As people of faith, we are called to live in right relationship with creation and to not exhaust it."[ii]

The effects of the warming climate are felt in nearly every corner of the globe. These include increased migration, food insecurity due to changing agricultural landscapes, national security issues and health problems. As bad as it is for all creation, the most vulnerable people around the world are suffering the most. Yet they have contributed the least and, as noted in the United Nation's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,[iii] are ill equipped to adapt to or mitigate the effects of a changing climate to build resilient communities.

An honest and credible look at the increasing environmental degradation and climate change names the neglect, carelessness and wrongs of industry, civil society and global governmental leadership. It also recognizes how human beings individually and collectively worsen the attacks on God's creation. As a church, we must confess our frequent lack of urgency in addressing environmental degradation and slow action to address a changing climate. We also must pledge to acknowledge the intersections of racial and environmental injustices and strive to involve the voices of those most affected in the process.

In grateful response to God's grace in Jesus Christ, this church carries out its responsibility for the well-being of society and the environment. Our "concern for the environment is shaped by the Word of God spoken in creation, the Love of God hanging on a cross, the Breath of God daily renewing the face of the earth."[iv] Our concern is, then, propelled by hope and guided by principles of justice.[v]  We find our hope in the promise of God's own faithfulness to everything God has made. We seek justice for all of creation in concert with God's creative and renewing power. We do so understanding that we have the ability and responsibility to act together for the common good, especially for those who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

As presiding bishop, I give thanks for all the ways this church embraces our common responsibility to care for all of God's creation. I call on us as individuals and congregations to continue efforts through stewardship, education and advocacy. I am reminded of the 2016 Churchwide Assembly resolution  "Towards a Responsible Energy Future," among others, that urges members of the ELCA and its related institutions to exemplify personal and institutional responsibility. Such efforts could include practicing energy conservation, congregational energy audits, purchasing more energy efficient appliances and vehicles, and investing in renewable energy systems. These resolutions also urge advocating at all levels of government for public policies that support clean, renewable energy sources.

The present moment is a critical and urgent one, filled with both challenge and opportunity to act as individuals, citizens, leaders and communities of faith in solidarity with God's good creation and in hope for our shared future. We claim God's promise in Revelation 21 for "a new heaven and a new earth" as we pray together:

"Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us coworkers in your creation. Give us wisdom and reverence to use the resources of nature so that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."[vi]

 

In Christ,

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


[i] See ELCA social statement "Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice" (1993), 1, 2.

[ii] Lutheran World Federation Twelfth Assembly resolution.

[iii] https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld

[iv] ELCA social statement, "Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice."

[v] ELCA social statements identify these normative principles as participation, solidarity, sufficiency and sustainability. See "Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice" and "Genetics: Faith, and Responsibility" (2011).

[vi] Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p. 80

- - -

About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million members in more than 9,400 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.

 

For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder
773-380-2877
Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org

 

Categories: ELCA

Jeremiah 30:1-11a

Daily Bible Verse - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 00:00

​On that day, says the LORD of hosts, I will break the yoke from off his neck, and I will burst his bonds, and strangers shall no more make a servant of him. But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.

Monday, April 16, 2018

God Pause - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 00:00
Acts 4:5-12 -- Something inside of Peter changed when the reality of Jesus' resurrection set in. It was only a few weeks earlier that Peter had denied Jesus in the temple courtyard. Today's scripture reading describes him standing in front of the same Annas and Caiaphas as he did at Jesus' trial, but read more...
Categories: God Pause

Acts 3:12-19

Daily Bible Verse - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 00:00

​And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out,

Sunday, April 15, 2018

God Pause - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 00:00
-- Christ is risen! Alleluia! Risen our victorious head! Sing his praises! Alleluia! Christ is risen from the dead! Gratefully our hearts adore him as his light once more appears; bowing down in joy before him, rising up from griefs and tears. Refrain Christ is risen! Alleluia! Risen our read more...
Categories: God Pause

ELCA presiding bishop issues pastoral statement on humanitarian situation in Syria

ELCA News - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 00:00

"Give God no rest" (Isaiah 62:6-7) until that day when "the wolf and the lamb shall feed together. ... They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord" (Isaiah 65:25) (ELCA social statement, "For Peace in God's World").

In recent days we have witnessed, with additional horror, further atrocities in Syria in a conflict that has taken almost countless lives over the past seven years and displaced millions of Syrians and others.

Following the April 13 air strikes conducted by the armed forces of the United States, the United Kingdom and France, the president and the general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation issued a statement that I encourage ELCA members to read and prayerfully consider.

Our church is responding to the needs of Syrian refugees and displaced people through the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), in coordination with ACT Alliance (formerly Action by Churches Together). The IOCC has been assisting those in need in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan to ensure food security, establish shelter, and provide better access to water and sanitation facilities, among other activities. LWF-Jordan is working with Syrian refugees and host communities in Amman, Mafraq, Irbid and in the Zaatari refugee camp, bolstering livelihoods through cash transfers and skills training in agriculture practices and improved technologies for vegetable production in home gardens to benefit malnourished children, pregnant and lactating women, and sick people. They are also providing psychosocial support, particularly among women. We plan to continue and intensify this work.

In the face of this ongoing humanitarian crisis, our nation also needs to open its arms again to receive Syrian refugees for resettlement in the United States. We will continue to work in ecumenical partnership as we pray, advocate and work to receive refugees.

Last, but not least, our government, as part of the international community, needs to redouble its efforts to work diligently for a diplomatic resolution of this conflict. As U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said earlier this weekend, "There is no military solution to the crisis.  The solution must be political." 

 

In Christ,

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton

Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 


Categories: ELCA

Acts 3:1-10

Daily Bible Verse - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 00:00

​But Peter said, "I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk." And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God,

Saturday, April 14, 2018

God Pause - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 00:00
-- Christ is risen! Alleluia! Risen our victorious head! Sing his praises! Alleluia! Christ is risen from the dead! Gratefully our hearts adore him as his light once more appears; bowing down in joy before him, rising up from griefs and tears. Refrain Christ is risen! Alleluia! Risen our read more...
Categories: God Pause

Psalm 4

Daily Bible Verse - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 00:00

​But know that the LORD has set apart the faithful for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds, and be silent. Selah

Friday, April 13, 2018

God Pause - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 00:00
Luke 24:36-48 -- The resurrected Jesus has shown up among those first disciples, and Jesus wants to be sure they recognize that it’s really him: "Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." He's not a ghost read more...
Categories: God Pause

Pages