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A Christmas message from the ELCA presiding bishop

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 00:00

CHICAGO – In her Christmas message, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), reminds us that Advent is a time to be present and still, to be aware of the promise to come.

Categories: ELCA

ELCA presiding bishop responds to decision to move U.S. Embassy in Israel

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 00:00

CHICAGO  – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has issued the following statement in response to the decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

 
December 6, 2017

I am deeply disturbed to learn of the Trump administration's plans to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel away from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The ELCA has long held the view that a negotiated, final status agreement, including a "shared Jerusalem," must be reached without unilateral actions by any party that would prejudice the outcome of negotiations. 

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. As my brother in Christ and colleague, Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, has often said, the security of Israelis depends on the freedom of Palestinians and the freedom of Palestinians depends on the security of Israelis. This proposed action would make both more insecure.

To proceed with this plan will only further isolate our nation from the global movement for a just peace for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike in the region and our church's policy that seeks an end to the occupation, an end to terrorism and violence, and, ultimately, the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state. Since the announcement is one of intentions, I call upon the president to rescind this plan and instead continue to focus on our nation's ability to contribute constructively toward a peaceful settlement of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Along with other interreligious partners, I continue to stand ready to discuss with the president ways to reach a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Sincerely,

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

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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

Lori Fedyk elected treasurer of the ELCA

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 00:00

CHICAGO – Lori Fedyk, a member of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Libertyville, Ill., was elected to a six-year term as treasurer of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) by the ELCA Church Council at its November meeting. Her term will begin Feb. 1.

Fedyk has been employed by Lutheran Life Communities in Arlington Heights, Ill., since 2014 where she served as vice president of corporate finance and chief financial officer. In 2017 she was promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer. Lutheran Life Communities owns and operates six continuing-care retirement communities in Illinois, Indiana and Florida.

"Lori Fedyk not only brings professional skill and experience, but she is also deeply committed to the mission and ministry of the ELCA," said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop. "I am happy to welcome her to team ELCA."

Fedyk's responsibilities at Lutheran Life Communities included oversight of financial reporting, budgeting, treasury management, information technology, investments, regulatory compliance and risk management. She brings more than 25 years of business and financial leadership in both private industry and nonprofits, including eight years of accounting experience with Arthur Andersen. 

Fedyk has served on a variety of boards, most recently for the Mission Investment Fund, a separately incorporated ministry of the ELCA.

She received a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Illinois State University, Normal and became a certified public accountant in 1987.

The current treasurer, the Rev. Linda O. Norman, has served since July 2011. 

- - -

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

ELCA Church Council’s fall meeting looks to the future

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 00:00

CHICAGO (Nov. 15, 2017) – The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) met at The Lutheran Center in Chicago, Nov. 9-12. The council, which serves as the ELCA's board of directors, focused on the goals of ELCA Future Directions 2025 and the church's priorities around congregational vitality and leadership.

The council, addressing the needs of the church now and into the future, adopted a number of actions on the reorganization of the ELCA Foundation, including approving additional responsibilities for the Endowment Fund of the ELCA. Effective Jan. 1, 2018, the Endowment Fund will assume responsibility for all programs and related assets currently associated with the ELCA Foundation. In order to do this, the council approved the process of transferring the activities of the ELCA Foundation to the Endowment Fund. The approval followed a presentation by the chair of the Task Force on the Structure and Governance of the ELCA Foundation. The task force was established by the council at its November 2016 meeting.

The Endowment Fund of the ELCA is a separately incorporated ministry of the ELCA that serves as trustee of the Endowment Fund Pooled Trust (Fund A) with oversight provided by a board of trustees elected by the Church Council. The ELCA Foundation is a program of the churchwide organization that provides fund-raising and gift-planning services to donors through vehicles that include Charitable Remainder Trusts, Charitable Gift Annuities, donor advised funds and other gift-planning resources. Beginning in January, the oversight of the program will be provided by the Endowment Fund of the ELCA (now to be known as the ELCA Foundation) board of trustees.

In its report, the task force laid out the benefits of the transfer: improved governance, expanded investment and financial oversight, increased transparency to current and prospective donors, financial sustainability and legal-risk mitigation.

The council also adopted a revised social message on human rights. The social message was written, in part, as a response to the 2016 Churchwide Assembly adoption of a social policy resolution calling for an investment screen related to human rights. The social message would support and inform such a social criteria investment screen. It would also articulate in one place the themes and commitments from the disparate sources in which the ELCA has affirmed or mentioned human rights.

In other business, the council:

  • Elected an ELCA treasurer to a six-year term, beginning Feb. 1, 2018. The name will be released pending notification of the person's current employer.
  • Presented the Servus Dei Award to Treasurer Linda Norman in thanksgiving for her service.
  • Elected Man-Hei Yip to the Church Council, Ingrid Stafford to the Executive Committee and the Rev. Tiffany Chaney to the Nominating Committee.
  • Directed the Theological Education Advisory Committee to define a single seminary governance structure.
  • Appointed a task force to provide benchmarks, accountability and support for attaining diversity goals in all expressions of this church.
  • Declined the request for the ELCA to declare itself a sanctuary denomination, yet supported the spirit of the sanctuary movement by encouraging congregations to serve and support the protection of migrants in their communities.
  • Affirmed the recommendations adopted by the African Descent Lutheran Association biennial gathering related to a process for relationship building and systematic analysis.
  • Approved a 2018 fiscal year fund spending authorization of $67,140,670 and an ELCA World Hunger spending authorization of $23,750,000.
  • Requested that the churchwide organization prepare a plan for the process by which "where needed most" dollars in Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA will be allocated.
  • Deferred the question of developing social messages on aging and the U.S. National Drug Policy until 2018.
  • Adopted "Vision, Process and Practice of ELCA Campus Ministry: Guidelines and Recommendations."
  • Approved revisions to the Environment Social Criteria Investment Screen.
  • Approved the report of the Audit Committee.
  • Elected members of the boards of separately incorporated ministries, seminaries and other organizations and approved appointments to the Audit Committee and the Justice for Women Consulting Committee.
  • Allocated additional members to the ELCA 2019 Churchwide Assembly.
  • Approved amended bylaws of the Deaconess Community of the ELCA.
  • Ratified amendments to synod constitutions.
  • Approved the Asset Transfer Agreement for the reunion of Capital University and Trinity Lutheran Seminary and revised bylaws of Capital University.
  • Commended The Lutheran World Federation Gender Justice Policy to the ELCA for study and consideration.

The council also received and engaged in:
  • Reports from the officers, its committees, the churchwide organization administrative team and the Conference of Bishops.
  • Updates on the hearing process for the women and justice social statement.
  • Discussion on sustainability and church structures.
  • Discussion on Joint Leadership Table commitments – the Joint Leadership Table is the executive committees of the Church Council and Conference of Bishops and the churchwide organization's administrative team. 
  • Shared congregational vitality learnings.
  • A primer on AMMPARO – the ELCA's strategy to Accompany Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities. AMMPARO is a commitment by the ELCA to accompany vulnerable migrating children today and in the future. The strategy will respond to the situation in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala that has led to the migration of children and their families through Mexico into the United States.
  • Conversation with representatives of ethnic associations.
  • Updates on Lutheran Disaster Response.
  • Updates on Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA.
  • Greetings from ecumenical partners.

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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

ELCA presiding bishop delivers Veterans Day message

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 00:00

CHICAGO – In honor of Veterans Day, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), calls the church to prayer and action in support of our military, veterans and their families. Watch Eaton’s message.

Categories: ELCA

Pedro Suarez elected bishop of the ELCA Florida-Bahamas Synod

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 00:00

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