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Updated: 4 hours 28 min ago

Idalia Negrón Caamaño elected bishop of the ELCA Caribbean Synod

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 00:00

The Rev. Idalia C. Negrón Caamaño, San Juan, Puerto Rico, was elected June 16 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Caribbean Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election was held during the Synod Assembly June 15-16 at Santísima Trinidad ELC, Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

Negrón Caamaño was elected on the fourth ballot with 61 votes to 21 votes for the Rev. Luis I. Ehandia, pastor of Del Buen Pastor in Santurce, Puerto Rico.

From 2003 to 2015 the bishop-elect served as part-time pastor of San Pablo Lutheran Church in San Juan and part-time director for evangelical mission in the Caribbean Synod. She has served full-time in the synod since 2017.

Negrón Caamaño received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of San Juan in 1969. She received a Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in 2003. The seminary is one of the seven ELCA seminaries.

Negrón Caamaño will be installed Oct. 6 at Christian Church-Disciples of Christ El Señorial in Cupey, Puerto Rico.

The Rev. Felipe Lozada-Montañez has served as bishop of the Caribbean Synod since 2007 and will retire Aug. 31.

- - -

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 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 and Portico Announce Changes to ELCA Medicare-Primary Health Benefits for 2019

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 00:00

In response to the ever-changing health care landscape, the ELCA and Portico have worked together to design changes to ELCA Medicare-Primary health benefits that will take effect Jan. 1, 2019. The majority of members with these benefits will be positively affected by enhanced coverage and reduced monthly contributions, or premiums.

Continuing a Tradition of Care
Since its formation, the ELCA has been committed to caring for the well-being of churchworkers. Portico has overseen the ELCA's health, retirement, and other benefits since 1988, when the ministries of the Lutheran Church in America, the American Lutheran Church, and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches merged to form the ELCA.

At that time, the ELCA agreed to subsidize health coverage for eligible retirees and family members who participated in a predecessor church plan. The subsidies vary in amount based on several factors, including age and years of sponsored service. Currently, the ELCA subsidizes ELCA Medicare-Primary health benefits for four out of five retirees and spouses. The subsidies range from fewer than $5 to several hundred dollars per month.

Along with the subsidies, the ELCA inherited a funding shortfall. The church has sought to close the gap through funding from the churchwide budget and by collecting a "retiree support" contribution from congregations. However, health care costs have outpaced what anyone imagined in 1988, and life expectancies have continued to grow. As a result, retirees' medical costs have increased significantly and, under the current approach, the ELCA estimates a continued shortfall.

In 2016, the ELCA Church Council formed an ad hoc working group to recommend a plan to sustain this important care. In a video message to members, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton shared: "In response to Church Council decisions, we have worked with Portico to make changes that will reduce costs for you and our church and allow us to continue the care and networks of health care providers you count on for years to come. I am very pleased with the outcome, and I believe you will be too."

Enhanced Coverage, Lower Costs Expected
Effective Jan. 1, 2019, Portico has selected Humana to insure its hospital and medical benefits as a group Medicare Advantage plan. These new benefits will replace the Medicare supplement currently administered by Mercer.

The change will affect the nearly 12,000 ELCA Medicare-Primary members, including retirees, spouses, dependents, members receiving disability benefits, and churchworkers who continue active service beyond age 65. Covering more than 8.5 million Medicare enrollees, Humana's economies of scale will help reduce the monthly amount that most ELCA Medicare-Primary plan members contribute, while preserving today's robust coverage.

In addition, Humana will offer new wellness programs that have been requested by members, said Portico president and CEO, the Rev. Jeff Thiemann. "We are excited about the enhanced care and cost savings this change will bring for members."

In 2019, members with ELCA Medicare-Primary health benefits will also have prescription drug coverage administered by Express Scripts and dental coverage administered by Delta Dental, the same companies serving members today.

With this change, the ELCA Medicare-Primary health benefits will no longer cover Medicare-eligible members living outside the United States and its territories. Less than 0.1% of Portico's current membership has this coverage.

Subsidy Change Designed to Strengthen Long-Term Viability
Also changing Jan. 1, 2019, the ELCA Church Council has determined that subsidies will become a fixed dollar amount instead of a percentage off the monthly health contribution. The amount is expected to increase 3% per year beginning in 2020, as approved by the council.

For most eligible members, the 2019 subsidy will start at the same dollar amount as today, with some exceptions for members whose subsidies are subject to different terms. For example, a monthly subsidy of $100 in 2018 will start at $100 in 2019 and grow by 3% to $103 in 2020.

Because Portico expects members' monthly health contributions to decrease next year, the subsidy will actually fund a greater portion of the monthly contribution amount. As a result, most retirees can look forward to paying a lower monthly contribution in January.

In fact, some older retirees currently receive such a large subsidy percentage that their 2019 subsidy dollar amount will exceed their 2019 monthly contribution. The excess will be applied toward those individuals' future monthly ELCA health contributions.

It's difficult to accurately predict future health care costs, but if health care costs increase at a greater rate than the subsidy does, the portion of contribution paid by the member may increase over time.

Portico to Share Details, Help Ensure a Smooth Transition
Members directly affected by these changes are being contacted in July and will receive personalized details, including 2019 subsidy and contribution amounts, starting in late September. Likewise, in July Portico is sharing advance notice of these changes with members currently age 64 who will be eligible for Medicare in January.

To help ease the change to Humana for retired members, Portico will automatically enroll them in the 2019 option that's most similar to what they have today. Just as in recent years, retired members who prefer a different ELCA Medicare-Primary option ― Economy, Standard, or Premium ― can elect it this fall during Portico's Annual Enrollment.

Members with ELCA Medicare-Primary benefits who are sponsored, on leave from call, or disabled will also transition to the new Medicare Advantage benefits. Like today, these members will keep the Standard health benefit option in 2019. They will have a choice of options when they retire and receive subsidy details if they qualify.

In a joint letter to members, Eaton and Thiemann described these changes as a way to better withstand the decades-long dramatic increase in U.S. health care costs. "More importantly," they said, "this new approach means the church can carry on our time-honored tradition of supporting the well-being of faithful servants."

Categories: ELCA

ELCA presiding bishop responds to Supreme Court decision on travel ban

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 00:00

June 26, 2018

 

Thus says the Lord: Act with justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the orphan, and the widow ... (Jeremiah 22:3).

I am dismayed by the Supreme Court's recent decision concerning the president's authority to restrict travel into the United States. It applies to travelers from certain countries based on those countries' inability to provide information necessary for immigration vetting. Strong vetting procedures have already been authorized by Congress and reviews of applications for possible links to terrorism are also in place. Therefore, restricting all travelers from certain countries simply because they are citizens of those countries is deeply troubling. In the past, we have seen the sometimes horrific effects of excluding and marginalizing (or worse) whole classes of people based on their ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender identity or other characteristics.

Our social statement, "For Peace in God's World," provides theological guidance for the church to respond by offering wise words of caution:

Citizens need to give careful attention to how we in the United States perceive our national interest and interpret our national identity, since what states do depends in large measure on their views of their own interests and identity. Sin's power often makes itself felt in arrogant and self-righteous views of national identity, and in narrow, short-term, and absolute views of national interest.

We expect expressions of our nation's identity to build on the best of our traditions, to respect others' identity, and to open up paths for mutual understanding. For the sake of a greater good or for reasons of conscience, citizens may need to oppose a prevailing understanding or practice of national identity and interest.

With this court decision, we are again reaching a point where the assertion of "national security" by the executive branch of government results in the rejection of all other considerations in national policy discussions. Our social statement also reminds us: "In bondage to sin, we fall captive to fear." Jesus taught us to love one another. The social statement calls us to "a dynamic vision of difference in unity."

In a time … when an idolatrous allegiance to one's own community endangers our oneness, we must voice with clarity the powerful vision of difference in unity. This vision calls us to engage differences, not to ignore or fear them. The hope for earthly peace challenges people to strengthen their own particular communities in ways that promote respect and appreciation for people in other communities, for all share a common humanity.

Let us recall that all people are created in God's image and, therefore, rather than have suspicion be our assumption, let us attribute to them honor and respect as God does.

God's peace,

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



Categories: ELCA

Statement from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton on executive order

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 00:00

About two weeks ago, I joined more than 20 other faith leaders in raising concerns about the administration’s announced plans that it would begin separating families and criminally prosecuting all people who enter the U.S. without previous authorization. In line with that statement, I acknowledge that President Donald Trump’s new executive order, “Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation,” does keep families together, but for how long and in what conditions? I am troubled by what the executive order does and does not guarantee. There is no provision for reuniting children already separated from their families, nor for children whose parents have already been deported. The executive order also allows for the possibility of future family separations.

 

The forced separation of children from their parents is unnecessarily cruel, further traumatizing families who have already suffered in their countries of origin and on the dangerous journey to the U.S. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and its predecessor church bodies have a long history of caring for children, families and refugees. It’s who we are.

 

This executive order will expand the detention of families. The ELCA opposed the detention of families policy during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, and we oppose the policy now. Detention centers are not designed to support families. Community-based alternatives to detention, like ones that Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) has piloted, are cost-effective ways to ensure that children and parents can await their court case in a dignified setting. 

 

In his explanation of the Lord’s Prayer in the Small Catechism, Martin Luther reminds us that good government is part of our daily bread. As Lutherans and as citizens, we can work with elected officials toward humane, just, and compassionate solutions. Through AMMPARO and LIRS, the ELCA is committed to walking alongside children and families who are seeking asylum. You can be part of a network that uses their hands and voice to ensure they feel welcomed wherever they go. We can also advocate through ELCA Advocacy (elca.org/advocacy).

 

By grace we are set free to love and serve the neighbor. Let us, through prayer and action, serve these vulnerable children and families.

 

 

Categories: ELCA

Deborah Hutterer elected bishop of the ELCA Grand Canyon Synod

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 00:00

​CHICAGO – The Rev. Deborah K. Hutterer, Phoenix, was elected June 16 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Grand Canyon Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election was held during the Synod Assembly June 14-16 at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Oro Valley, Ariz.

Hutterer was elected on the fifth ballot with 145 votes to 135 votes for the Rev. Peter Perry, pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in Glendale, Ariz.

The bishop-elect has served as chief development officer for Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest in Phoenix since 2012. She was executive director of Faith in the City in Minneapolis from 2008 to 2012 and served as pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Pontiac, Ill., from 2004 to 2007.

Hutterer received a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Augsburg College in Minneapolis in 1999 and a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., in 2004. Augsburg is one of 27 ELCA colleges and universities and Luther is one of seven ELCA seminaries.

Hutterer will be installed Sept. 8 at Valley Lutheran Church in Phoenix.

The Rev. Lowell G. Almen has served as interim bishop since 2017.

Information about the ELCA Grand Canyon Synod is available at www.gcsynod.org/

 

- - -

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 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

James Hazelwood re-elected bishop of ELCA New England Synod

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 00:00

The Rev. James E. Hazelwood, Wakefield, R.I., was re-elected June 8 to serve a second six-year term as bishop of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election was held during the Synod Assembly June 7-9 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass.

The bishop was re-elected on the fourth ballot with 311 votes to 72 votes for the Rev. Angel Marrero, pastor of Santuario Luterano in Waltham, Mass. A total of 254 votes were needed for re-election.

Hazelwood has served as bishop of the New England Synod in Worcester, Mass., since 2012. Previously, he served as pastor of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Charlestown, R.I., from 1993 to 2012 and Bethany Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, N.Y., from 1987 to 1993.

Hazelwood received a Bachelor of Arts degree from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks in 1981. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, Calif., in 1987 and a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., in 2001. California Lutheran is one of 27 ELCA colleges and universities and Pacific is one of seven ELCA seminaries.

Information about the New England Synod is available at nelutherans.org.


- - -

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 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

DECLARACIÓN DE LÍDERES DE FE SOBRE LA SEPARACIÓN DE LA FAMILIA

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 00:00

7 de junio de 2018

 

DECLARACIÓN DE LÍDERES DE FE SOBRE LA SEPARACIÓN DE LA FAMILIA 

Recientemente, la Administración anunció que comenzará a separar familias y procesar criminalmente a todas las personas que entren a los Estados Unidos sin autorización previa. Como líderes religiosos representantes de diversas perspectivas de fe, y con interés conjunto por el bienestar de migrantes vulnerables que cruzan nuestras fronteras huyendo del peligro y de amenazas de muerte, quedamos profundamente decepcionados y entristecidos cuando escuchamos esta noticia.

Ratificamos a la familia como la estructura fundamental de la sociedad que sostiene a la comunidad humana, y vemos al hogar como un estado bendecido por Dios. La seguridad de la familia provee del importantísimo respaldo mental, físico y emocional para el desarrollo y bienestar de los hijos. Nuestras congregaciones y agencias sirven a muchas familias migrantes que han llegado recientemente a los Estados Unidos. Con frecuencia, la única opción que tienen para ofrecer seguridad a sus hijos y protegerlos del peligro es abandonar sus comunidades. El separar a los niños de padres que han hecho tan peligroso recorrido para brindar a aquéllos una vida segura y adecuada es innecesariamente cruel y perjudicial para el bienestar de padres e hijos.  

Mientras continuamos sirviendo y amando a nuestro prójimo, oramos por los niños y las familias que sufrirán por causa de esta política, y urgimos a la Administración que ponga un alto esta política de separar a las familias.  

Su Eminencia Arzobispo Vicken Aykazian
Legado Diocesano y Director de la Oficina Ecuménica

Diócesis de la Iglesia Armenia de América

 

Sr. Azhar Azeez

Presidente

Sociedad Islámica de Norteamérica

 

El Reverendísimo Joseph C. Bambera

Obispo de Scranton, PA

Presidente, Comité de Obispos para Asuntos Ecuménicos e Interreligiosos

 

Obispo Mayor George E. Battle, Jr.

Prelado Presidente, Distrito Episcopal de Piedmont

Iglesia Metodista Episcopal Africana Sión

 

Obispo H. Kenneth Carter, Jr.

Presidente, Consejo de Obispos

La Iglesia Metodista Unida

 

El Reverendísimo Michael B. Curry

Obispo Presidente

Iglesia Episcopal (Estados Unidos)

 

El Rvdo. Dr. John C. Dorhauer

Ministro General y Presidente

Iglesia Unida de Cristo

 

La Rvda. Elizabeth A. Eaton

Obispa Presidente

Iglesia Evangélica Luterana en América

 

El Rvdo. David Guthrie

Presidente, Conferencia Provincial de Ancianos

Iglesia Morava, Provincia del Sur

 

Sr. Glen Guyton

Director Ejecutivo

Iglesia Menonita USA

 

La Rvda. Teresa Hord Owens

Ministra General y Presidenta

Iglesia Cristiana (Discípulos de Cristo)

 

Rabino Rick Jacobs

Presidente

Unión para el Judaísmo Reformista

 

Sr. Anwar Khan

Presidente

Alivio Islámico USA

 

La Rvda. Dra. Betsy Miller

Presidente, Conferencia Provincial de Ancianos

Iglesia Morava, Provincia del Norte

 

El Rvdo. Dr.  J. Herbert Nelson II

Secretario

Iglesia Presbiteriana (EE.UU.)

 

Rabino Jonah Pesner

Director

Centro de Acción Religiosa del Judaísmo Reformista

 

El Rvdo. Don Poest

Secretario General Interino

El Rvdo. Eddy Alemán

Candidato a la Secretaría General

Iglesia Reformada en América

 

Obispo Mayor Lawrence Reddick III

Obispo Presidente, El Octavo Distrito Episcopal

Iglesia Cristiana Metodista Episcopal

 

El Rvdo. Phil Tom

Director Ejecutivo

Consejo Internacional de Iglesias Comunitarias

 

Obispo Mayor McKinley Young

Prelado Presidente, Tercer Distrito Episcopal

Iglesia Metodista Episcopal Africana

Categories: ELCA

ELCA presiding bishop, faith leaders issue statement on family separation

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 00:00

CHICAGO (June 7, 2018) – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has convened ELCA ecumenical and inter-religious partners in a statement addressing concerns over a recent U.S. government policy calling for more stringent enforcement of federal immigration laws. The policy will most likely result in an increase in family separations.

The letter follows:

Recently, the Administration announced that it will begin separating families and criminally prosecuting all people who enter the U.S. without previous authorization. As religious leaders representing diverse faith perspectives, united in our concern for the wellbeing of vulnerable migrants who cross our borders fleeing from danger and threats to their lives, we are deeply disappointed and pained to hear this news. 

We affirm the family as a foundational societal structure to support human community and understand the household as an estate blessed by God. The security of the family provides critical mental, physical and emotional support to the development and wellbeing of children. Our congregations and agencies serve many migrant families that have recently arrived in the United States. Leaving their communities is often the only option they have to provide safety for their children and protect them from harm. Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children.  

As we continue to serve and love our neighbor, we pray for the children and families that will suffer due to this policy and urge the Administration to stop their policy of separating families.  

His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian
Diocesan Legate and Director of the Ecumenical Office
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America

Mr. Azhar Azeez President
Islamic Society of North America

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera
Bishop of Scranton, PA
Chair, Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

Senior Bishop George E. Battle, Jr.
Presiding Prelate, Piedmont Episcopal District
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Bishop H. Kenneth Carter, Jr.
President, Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop Episcopal Church (United States)

The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer
General Minister & President
United Church of Christ

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

The Rev. David Guthrie
President, Provincial Elders' Conference
Moravian Church Southern Province

Mr. Glen Guyton
Executive Director
Mennonite Church USA

The Rev. Teresa Hord Owens
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rabbi Rick Jacobs
President
Union for Reform Judaism

Mr. Anwar Khan
President
Islamic Relief USA

The Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller
President, Provincial Elders' Conference
Moravian Church Northern Province

The Rev. Dr.  J. Herbert Nelson II
Stated Clerk
Presbyterian Church (USA)

Rabbi Jonah Pesner
Director
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

The Rev. Don Poest
Interim General Secretary
The Rev. Eddy Alemán
Candidate for General Secretary
Reformed Church in America

Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick III
Presiding Bishop, The Eighth Episcopal District
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

The Rev. Phil Tom
Executive Director
International Council of Community Churches

Senior Bishop McKinley Young
Presiding Prelate, Third Episcopal District
African Methodist Episcopal Church

 #KeepFamiliesTogether
- - -

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 9,300 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

Laurie Skow-Anderson elected bishop of the ELCA Northwest Synod of Wisconsin

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 00:00

CHICAGO – The Rev. Laurie Skow-Anderson, Menomonie, Wis., was elected June 3 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election was held during the Synod Assembly June 2-3 at the Davies Center at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.

Skow-Anderson was elected on the fifth ballot with 228 votes to 187 votes for the Rev. John A. Sutherland, assistant to the synod's bishop.

The bishop-elect currently serves as the synod's director for evangelical mission. She served as a pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Pelican Rapids, Minn., from 2001 to 2014.

Skow-Anderson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in from Moorhead State University in Moorhead, Minn., in 1980, and a Master of Divinity degree from Northwestern Lutheran Theological Seminary (now Luther Seminary) in St. Paul, Minn. in 1986. She earned a Doctor of Ministry from Luther in 2010. The seminary is one of seven ELCA seminaries.

The Rev. Richard N. Hoyme has served as bishop of the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin since 2013 and will retire June 30.

Skow-Anderson will be installed on Aug. 25 at Bethel Lutheran Church in Hudson, Wis.

Information about the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin is available at nwswi.org.

- - -

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 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

Brian Maas re-elected bishop of ELCA Nebraska Synod

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 00:00

CHICAGO -- The Rev. Brian D. Maas, Omaha, was re-elected June 1 to serve a second six-year term as bishop of the Nebraska Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election was held during the Synod Assembly May 31-June 2 at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney, Neb.

The bishop was re-elected on the first ballot with 477 votes. A total of 586 votes were cast.

Maas has served as bishop of the Nebraska Synod in Omaha since 2012. He served as pastor of First Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Neb., from 2006 to 2012 and as pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kansas City, Mo., from 1997 to 2006.

The bishop earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln in 1986. He earned a Master of Divinity from Yale University Divinity School in 1989 and a second Master of Divinity from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (now United Lutheran Seminary) in 1992. United is one of seven ELCA seminaries.

Information about the Nebraska Synod is available at nebraskasynod.org/.

 - - -

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 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 presiding bishop letter of support in response to Indonesian bombings

Fri, 05/18/2018 - 00:00

CHICAGO – In response to the recent terror attacks at three churches and a police station in Surabaya, Indonesia, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), sent a letter offering prayers and support to The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) National Committee in Indonesia.

"On behalf of your brothers and sisters in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I join all of you in the 13 Lutheran churches across Indonesia as you advocate for peace and harmony among all Indonesian people, especially between the different faith communities; as you call on your government to prevent radicalism and acts of terror in Indonesia and beyond; and as you find God's wisdom to guide you," Eaton wrote.

The national committee represents the 13 LWF member churches in Indonesia, which together have more than 6 million members.

The committee has issued a statement calling on the government of Indonesia to investigate the terrorist acts while also addressing the root causes of terrorism in Indonesia. According to the LWF, the statement urges Christians in Indonesia to respond to acts of terror in a way that will lead to peace and harmony among the different religious communities in Indonesia.

Read Bishop Eaton's letter.

 
- - -

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 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribban 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 presiding bishop's pastoral message on situation in Gaza

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 00:00

May 15, 2018

Like so many here in our country and around the world, I am appalled and saddened by yesterday's escalation of Israeli military action against protestors in Gaza. Many reports indicate that at least 60 Palestinians, including six children, have died and more than 2,000 have been injured as a result of Israel's disproportionate use of force. Our church will support a planned medical mission from The Lutheran World Federation's Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem to Gaza to assist the wounded.

I join Bishop Sani-Ibrahim Azar of our partner church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), who today said:

We mourn with the families of the dead and dying and pray for the recovery of the injured. We believe that violent actions against the Palestinian civilians will hinder the potential for peace and reconciliation efforts between Israel and Palestine and will only lead to more violence and bloodshed.

I endorse his call "upon the Israeli government to show restraint and to pursue negotiations with Palestinian leaders rather than choosing violent action against unarmed protestors."

Yesterday's events should also be seen in the context of the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. When that decision was announced late last year, I said:

This unilateral action would not support the cause of peace and a two-state solution but rather would unnecessarily create further tensions and possible violence that would make efforts to bring them back together for talks much more difficult.

I also support the ELCJHL's long-standing position, affirmed by Bishop Azar today, that "any final status agreement will include Jerusalem as a shared city for Jews, Christians and Muslims with free access to holy sites for all and that it must serve as capital of both Palestine and Israel."

Always, but especially in this time of deep distress, I urge us all to join his call to "continue to pray, advocate and faithfully work towards a peaceful and just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

 

God's peace,

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

Categories: ELCA

Susan Briner elected bishop of the ELCA Southwestern Texas Synod

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 00:00

​The Rev. Susan J. Briner, Seguin, Texas, was elected May 6 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Southwestern Texas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election was held during the Synod Assembly May 5-6 at the Embassy Suites Conference Center in San Marcos, Texas.

Briner was elected on the fifth ballot with 175 votes to 157 votes for the Rev. Paul R. Ziese, pastor of MacArthur Park Lutheran Church, San Antonio, Texas.

The bishop-elect currently serves as the bishop's associate of the synod. She served as a pastor of St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Summerville, S.C., from 2003 to 2012.

Briner earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Duke University in Durham, N.C., in 1984, and a Master of Divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C., in 2003. The seminary is one of seven ELCA seminaries.

The Rev. Ray Tiemann has served as bishop of the Southwestern Texas Synod since 2000 and will retire Aug. 31.

Briner will be installed on Sept. 1.

Information about the Southwestern Texas Synod is available at swtsynod.org/.

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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 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

Ann Svennungsen re-elected bishop of the ELCA Minneapolis Area Synod

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 00:00

The Rev. Ann M. Svennungsen, Minneapolis, was re-elected May 5 to serve a second six-year term as bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election was held during the Synod Assembly May 4-5 at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Ramsey, Minn.

The bishop was re-elected on the second ballot with 337 votes to 50 votes for the Rev. Jeffrey P. Nehrbass, pastor of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.

Svennungsen has served as bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod since 2012. She served as interim pastor of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., from 2011 to 2012 and as president of Texas Lutheran University in Seguin from 2007 to 2010. St. Olaf and Texas Lutheran are among the 26 ELCA colleges and universities.

Svennungsen earned a degree in mathematics from Concordia College, an ELCA school in Moorhead, Minn., and a Master of Divinity degree at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., in 1981. Luther is one of seven ELCA seminaries.

Information about the Minneapolis Area Synod is available at mpls-synod.org/.

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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 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

James Gonia re-elected bishop of ELCA Rocky Mountain Synod

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 00:00

The Rev. James W. Gonia, Denver, was re-elected May 3 to serve a second six-year term as bishop of the Rocky Mountain Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election was held during the Synod Assembly May 3-5 at the Westin Hotel Westminster in Westminster, Colo.

The bishop was re-elected on the first ballot with 321 votes. A total of 293 votes was needed for election.

Gonia has served as bishop of the Rocky Mountain Synod in Denver since 2012. He was ELCA program director for West Africa, Tanzania and Madagascar from 2009 to 2012, and he served as associate pastor of Atonement Lutheran Church in Lakewood, Colo., from 1999 to 2009.  

Gonia received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind., in 1982. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Luther Northwestern Seminary (now Luther Seminary) in St. Paul, Minn. in 1988, and a Master of Theology degree in Islamic studies at Luther Seminary in 1997. Luther is one of seven ELCA seminaries.

Information about the Rocky Mountain Synod is available at rmselca.org/.

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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 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

Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld elected bishop of South-Central Synod of Wisconsin

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 00:00

The Rev. Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld, Beloit, Wis., was elected May 6 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Thomas-Breitfeld is the second African American woman to be a bishop in the ELCA.

The election was held during the Synod Assembly May 5-6 at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

Thomas-Breitfeld was elected on the fifth ballot with 224 votes to 150 votes for the Rev. Steven Kottke, assistant to the bishop of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin.

The bishop-elect currently serves as interim pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Beloit. She served as pastor of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Brookfield, Wis., from 2010 to 2013.

Thomas-Breitfeld earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., in 1974 and she received her Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago in 1979.

The Rev. Mary Stumme Froiland, current bishop of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, has served as bishop since 2013 and will retire June 30.

Thomas-Breitfeld will be installed on Aug. 18 at First Lutheran Church in Janesville, Wis.

Information about the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin is available at scsw-elca.org/.

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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 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

Patricia Davenport, first female African American elected ELCA synod bishop

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 00:00

The Rev. Patricia A. Davenport, Philadelphia, was elected May 5 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Davenport is the first African American woman to be a bishop in the ELCA.

The election was held during the Synod Assembly May 3-5 at Franconia Mennonite Church in Telford, Pa.

Davenport was elected on the fourth ballot with 331 votes to 89 votes for the Rev. Julie DeWerth, pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran, King of Prussia, Pa.

The bishop-elect currently serves as director for evangelical mission and assistant to the bishop of the synod. She served as pastor of Spirit & Truth Worship Center in Yeadon, Pa., from 2006 to 2007.  

Davenport earned a degree from the Community College of Philadelphia, and she received her Master of Divinity from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, which is now United Lutheran Seminary. The seminary is one of seven ELCA seminaries.

The Rev. Claire S. Burkat, current bishop of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, has served as bishop since 2006 and will retire July 31.

Davenport will be installed on Sept. 22.

Information about the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod is available at ministrylink.org/.


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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 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

Shelley Wickstrom re-elected bishop of ELCA Alaska Synod

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 00:00

The Rev. Shelley R. Wickstrom, Anchorage, was re-elected April 27 to serve asecond six-year term as bishop of the Alaska Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election was held during the Synod Assembly April 27-29 at Central Lutheran Church in Anchorage.

The bishop was re-elected on the first ballot with 68 votes. A total of 63 votes was needed for election.

Wickstrom has served as bishop of the Alaska Synod in Anchorage since 2012. She served as ELCA coordinator for missional leadership in Region 1 from 2007 to 2012 and as pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Bozeman, Mont., from 1999 to 2007.  

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Calif., in 1981 and a Master of Divinity from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1986. Wartburg is one of seven ELCA seminaries.

Information about the Alaska Synod is available at ELCAalaska.net.

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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 9,300 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

Historic ELCA synod bishop elections

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 00:00

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has made history with the elections of the first female African-descent synod bishops.

On Saturday, May 5, the Rev. Patricia A. Davenport was elected bishop of the ELCA Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod during its assembly at Franconia Mennonite Church in Telford, Pa. Davenport currently serves as director for evangelical mission and assistant to the bishop for the synod. She is a member of the Spirit & Truth Worship Center in Yeadon, Pa.

On Sunday, May 6, the Rev. Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld was elected bishop of the ELCA South-Central Synod of Wisconsin during its assembly at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Thomas-Breitfeld currently serves as interim pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Beloit, Wis.

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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 9,300 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

ELCA Church Council meets under Future Directions 2025

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.

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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 9,400 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

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