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Pedro Suarez elected bishop of the ELCA Florida-Bahamas Synod

18 hours 54 min ago

CHICAGO – The Rev. Pedro Manuel Suarez, Pompano Beach, Fla., was elected Oct. 13 to a six-year term as bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election was held during the Synod Assembly Oct. 12-14 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Kissimmee, Fla.

Suarez was elected on the sixth ballot with 334 votes to 125 votes for the Rev. Thomas Slater, pastor of Christus Victor in Naples, Fla. A total of 230 votes was needed for election.

The bishop-elect has served as lead pastor of St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Pompano Beach since 2015. He served as the director for Evangelical Mission for the ELCA Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod from 2011 to 2015 and as associate pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church in Madison, Wis., from 2002 to 2011.

Suarez earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in 1992. The seminary is one of seven ELCA seminaries.

He will be installed as bishop on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in New Tampa, Fla.

Information about the ELCA Florida-Bahamas Synod is available at fbsynod.com.

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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 9,200 congregations 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

Former Lutheran bishop, the Rev. Rudolph P.F. Ressmeyer, 93, dies

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 00:00

The following press release was first published by the ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod.

The Reverend Rudolph P.F. Ressmeyer, D.D., of Oviedo,Florida passed away on October 6, 2017 of natural causes at the age of 93.

Dr. Ressmeyer was elected Bishop of the East Coast Synod of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC) from 1976 until the AELC merged in 1988 with the American Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church in America to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

He served as AELC Bishop’s Assistant for Liaison with the Commission for the New Lutheran Church from 1983-1987. Prior to 1976, he served for nine years as President of the Atlantic District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. During those years, his office was located in New York City, and he also served as chairman of the Board of Concordia College in Bronxville, NY; member of the Board of Public Relations of the LCMS and chaired the Committee on Public Relations of the Lutheran Council in the USA; and President of the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau. He was honored by Wagner College with the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1976.

 

Ressmeyer, the son and grandson of Lutheran pastors, grew up in Baltimore, MD, attended Baltimore City College (High School), Concordia College in Bronxville, NY, and graduated from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO in 1947. He served as assistant professor at Concordia Academy in Portland, OR; as founding pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Spokane, WA; and assistant pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Baltimore, MD. He was pastor of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Seaford on Long Island, NY from 1954 to 1966 and was one of the founders of Long Island Lutheran High School in Brookville, NY. He later served as its Executive Director.

 

He was a grandson of Franz Pieper, professor and president of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. His father was pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Baltimore, MD and also served for six years as president of the Southeastern District of the LCMS.

 

Dr. Ressmeyer and Virginia Werberig united in marriage in 1949 and had five children. His wife, Virginia, predeceased him in 2008, his daughter Faith, in 2015. He is survived by their four children: Judith Hinsch of Plainview, NY; Marcia Sink of Manchester, NH; Paul of Marshall, NC; and Timothy of Chicago, IL, eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren. He is also survived by Lenore Wittrock of Somers, NY, whom he married in 2010.

 

A memorial service of Praise and Thanksgiving with the Holy Eucharist will be held at 3:00 pm on Sunday, November 19, 2017, at The Hahn Center of Long Island Lutheran Middle and High School located at 131 Brookville Road, Brookville, NY. Additionally, a Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist will be held at Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Bronx on Saturday, November 25, at 11:00 am. The church is located at 4360 Reverend Theodore Wittrock Crossing between Boyd and Barnes Avenue, The Bronx, NY.


Memorial donations can be made to the Ressmeyer Family Memorial of Long Island Lutheran Middle and High School at www.longislandlutheran.org  or Lutheran Disaster Response at www.elca.org.

Categories: ELCA

ELCA presiding bishop responds to DACA announcement

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 00:00

CHICAGO (Sept. 4, 2017) – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has issued the following statement in response to the Trump administration's announcement about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

"As we journey together through the time God has given us, may God give us the grace of a welcoming heart and an overflowing love for the new neighbors among us" –ELCA social message, "Immigration" (1997).

We are saddened today by the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provided relief from deportation to young people who have grown up as members of our churches, as neighbors playing with our children, and enriching our communities. We pray today for those who will suffer undue repercussions due to the end of this program. As Lutherans, we regard the family as an indispensable social institution and stand firmly against policies that cause the separation of families.

As we lament this change in policy, we call on members of Congress to pass long-overdue legislation to protect young people brought to the U.S. as children, also known as Dreamers. Our churches, our schools, our communities and the country are enhanced by their presence and contributions. It is time that our immigration policy reflects their gifts to all of us.

God's peace,

Elizabeth A. Eaton
ELCA Presiding Bishop

 
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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations 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

ELCA on Gender Identity Discrimination

Thu, 08/24/2017 - 00:00

In light of recent public events and conversation, it is important to remember the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) rejects all forms of hatred or discrimination. This includes employment discrimination against the transgender community, as stated in "Gender Identity Discrimination," a policy resolution that was adopted by the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.

"As church together, it's now more important than ever for us not only to pray, but also stand beside all who are facing many forms of prejudice," stated Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. "Transgender individuals should not be denied the opportunity to participate in our armed forces. We should honor the courage and sacrifice of all members of our military regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation and join those who serve in upholding the respect and dignity of each person."

The ELCA has repeatedly spoken against discrimination in law or policy related to sexual orientation or gender identity. The policy resolution, adopted by the Churchwide Assembly in 2013 – the highest legislative body of the church – instructed the presiding bishop to communicate public support for actions that prohibit "employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity" and encouraged all ELCA synods, congregations and members to do the same. Additionally, as a church, we have committed our support to those whose vocation is in the military ("For Peace in God's World," 1995).

The ELCA is a church that belongs to Christ and Christ's church universal, where there is a place for everyone. The call of Christ's people today is to celebrate the diversity of God's creative work and embrace all people in the spirit of love, regardless of race or ethnicity, economic status or gender.

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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations 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. Visit us at ELCA.org.


Categories: ELCA

ELCA commitment to confronting racism and anti-Semitism

Tue, 08/15/2017 - 00:00

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), stands against all forms of hatred and discrimination. The church believes that cultural, ethnic and racial differences should be seen and celebrated as what God intends them to be—blessings rather than means of oppression and discrimination.

The ELCA’s social statement “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture” states: “Racism—a mix of power, privilege, and prejudice—is sin, a violation of God’s intention for humanity. The resulting racial, ethnic, or cultural barriers deny the truth that all people are God’s creatures and, therefore, persons of dignity. Racism fractures and fragments both church and society.”

The social statement, adopted by the ELCA 1993 Churchwide Assembly, calls on the church to make confession for complicity, name the spiritual crisis at the roots, commit to change and make pledges to public witness, advocacy and action to confront racism. 

“We recognize that the kind of violence we witnessed in Charlottesville last weekend is very real and affects all of us,” said ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton. “We need to stand up firmly against racism and anti-Semitism, show up for and advocate with others. Jesus, who makes visible those who are invisible, is already there. We need to show up, and we need to listen in each of our communities.”

The ELCA is a church that belongs to Christ and Christ’s church universal, where there is a place for everyone. The job of Christ’s people today is to celebrate the diversity of God’s creative work and embrace all people in the spirit of love, whatever race or ethnicity, economic status or gender.

Read the full social statement.

Categories: ELCA

Prayer for Charlottesville rally

Fri, 08/11/2017 - 00:00

CHICAGO – In support of those who will join an act of public witness against racial injustice Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, Va., the Rev. William O. Gafkjen, bishop of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops, has issued the following prayer on behalf of the conference.

The prayer follows:

Just and merciful God, we give you thanks for our sisters and brothers – bishops, pastors, deacons, people of God – who this Saturday walk the way of the cross in Charlottesville, Va. On this day and in that place, they join other courageous and faithful people across time and space to stand against bigotry, hatred and violence; to stand with those who are intended victims; and to stand for justice and mercy, peace and equality for all people.

We stand with them in prayer, asking you to empower them, protect them, and use their witness as hopeful sign of your resurrection reign afoot in your beloved and troubled world. By your might, break the bondage that bigotry, hatred and violence impose on their victims and their perpetrators. May your kingdom come on earth as in heaven. And, we pray, empower us in our own communities to follow their lead as fellow servants to your dream of a community in which all people and their gifts are welcomed and honored, cherished and celebrated as beloved children of a just, merciful and loving God; through Jesus Christ crucified and risen for the life of the world. Amen

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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations 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

Mark Wilhelm named executive director of Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 00:00

CHICAGO – The Rev. Mark N. Wilhelm has been named executive director of the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities.

Wilhelm previously served as ELCA program director for schools, which included early childhood, elementary, secondary and colleges and universities. He was appointed interim executive director of the network when it was established in 2015.

"The search committee conducted a national search, which yielded a strong pool of candidates," said Steven C. Bahls, president of Augustana College and chair of the search committee. "Mark's depth of experience in Lutheran higher education, as well as his clear vision for facilitating a strong network , made him an easy choice. The presidents of the ELCA colleges (and universities) look forward to working with Mark in making the network central to the ministry of the ELCA in higher education."

The network was established in collaboration with the ELCA's 26 colleges and universities to promote their shared mission and identity and to continue work previously managed by higher education offices in the ELCA's churchwide organization. Luther College in Regina, Saskatchewan, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada was recently admitted as the 27th member of the network. The network is overseen by a board of directors composed of the presidents of the 27 institutions and an executive director.

"Presidents and leaders of our ELCA colleges and universities have been on a crucial journey to form an ELCA association, grounded in the faith in which they were planted," said the Rev. Stephen Bouman, executive director of ELCA Domestic Mission unit. "Mark Wilhelm has faithfully guided this process and is now the first executive director of the association. I salute this remarkable achievement and what it will offer to our church and the world as they form leaders for society grounded in a spiritual vision for vocation."

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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations 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
Public Relations Manager
773-380-2877
Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org

Categories: ELCA