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ELCA presiding bishop issues statement on Dreamers

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 00:00

Immigration is an ever-present topic at our dinner tables and in our congregations as Congress continues to discuss long-overdue protection for thousands of our community members who lack permanent legal status. Scripture calls us to welcome the sojourner. God commanded of the Israelites: "The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 19:34).

Today, I renew my call to all of us as Christians to recognize our neighbors as made in the image of God, and to our nation's elected leaders: Enact policies that provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented young people who arrived in the U.S. as children, known as Dreamers, and do so without harming other vulnerable immigrants.  

As Lutherans, we live out our biblical calling by serving in ministries with migrants and refugees in our communities and advocating for laws that reflect this commitment. I am troubled that policies under consideration will protect some of our community members while, at the same time, harming others. While recognizing the right of all countries to control their borders, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) social teaching affirms that "border policies should always respect the human dignity of all persons." I'm especially troubled by policy proposals that harm:  

  • Family unity: "Our advocacy will continue to insist that family reunification should be the primary objective of immigration laws" ("Message on Immigration," 1998).

I encourage policymakers to reflect upon Martin Luther's challenge: "How do we know that the love of God dwells in us? If we take upon ourselves the need of our neighbor." I also call upon Lutherans throughout the country to lift our voices through our Advocacy network and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service to urgently call for legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers without harming others.

"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" ("Message on Immigration," 1998).

Sincerely,
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton

Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Categories: ELCA

ELCA presiding bishop to participate in rally to end racism

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 00:00

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), will join ecumenical and inter-religious partners for Act Now: Unite to End Racism April 3-5 in Washington, D.C. The focus of the three-day event will be a rally April 4 on the National Mall.

The event, organized by the National Council of Churches in Christ in the USA, will bring together many ELCA members from across the country. The ELCA is a founding member of the council.

The rally's call to action emphasizes three key points: awaken to the truth that racism is evil and hurts us all; confront racism through truth-telling and action to right the wrong; and transform the hearts, minds, and behaviors of people and institutions.

Events begin April 3 with an ecumenical worship service at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral and will be capped off by a lobby day on Capitol Hill April 5.

All are invited to join Bishop Eaton at the event. Learn more here.

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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

‘Set Free By Truth’ Lent devotions offered by four church leaders

Mon, 02/05/2018 - 00:00

CHICAGO – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and leaders from The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada have prepared a series of Lent devotions titled "Set Free By Truth."

The devotion theme addresses truth and racial justice, reflecting on the challenges facing churches in North America today.

In her devotion for Ash Wednesday, Eaton writes, "We have been claimed in baptism, buried with Christ in a death like his, to be raised with Christ in a resurrection like his. We have already died the only death that really matters, and yet … . We do not recognize the full humanity of others. There is not justice for all. In our fear we doubt the resurrection. This Lent, let us enter into a time and space of honest and unflinching examination."

In addition to Eaton, devotions were contributed by the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop and primate, The Episcopal Church; the Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, primate, Anglican Church of Canada; and the Rev. Susan C. Johnson, national bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

The Lent devotions begin with Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, and continue through Easter Sunday, April 1. Each devotion includes Scripture citations, a reflection and a prayer.
 

Download the Lent devotions.

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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

ELCA Presiding Bishop responds to reported racist comments

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 00:00

I am very disappointed and disturbed by the remarks that President Donald Trump is reported to have said yesterday – and confirmed by others who were present – in the context of a discussion about immigration. 

Regardless of the context, references of that kind have no place in our civil discourse and, if true, reflect racist attitudes unbecoming any of us, but especially a president of the United States. 

Instead, we should be fostering a world where each of us sees every person – regardless of race, origin, ethnicity, gender or economic status – in the image of God and, therefore, worthy of dignity and respect. Our church has relationships and partnerships with Christians and others on six continents. These are our sisters and brothers. We strive to accompany them and they us, across boundaries and cognizant of our diversity, yet all seeking the common good. In working for a healed, reconciled and just world, we all should faithfully strive to participate in God's reconciling work, which prioritizes disenfranchised, vulnerable and displaced people in our communities and the world, bearing witness – each of us – to the love of God in Jesus Christ.

 

"We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization" —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  

 

God's peace,

Elizabeth A. Eaton
ELCA Presiding Bishop

Categories: ELCA

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. 

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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 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