ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities issues statement condemning hate threatshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7859http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7859<div class="ExternalClassC5F5D59BA8B449FCB9E0D6D2C3772D72"><p>CHICAGO (ELCA) – The board of directors of the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities has issued a statement condemning hate threats made against Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan., and its president, William Jones. </p><p>Earlier this month, racist messages written in chalk were discovered on the Bethany campus. Following the incident, Jones received threatening phone calls from someone claiming responsibility for the messages and drawings.</p><p>The Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities comprises the 26 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America-related institutions of higher education. The network's board of directors is made up of the institutions' 26 presidents and an executive director.</p><p>The statement said&#58;</p><p>&quot;The Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities has watched with grave concern recent incidents at Bethany College. As the association of the twenty-six institutions of higher education related to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), we are compelled to speak in support of Bethany College, our member institution in Lindsborg, Kansas.</p><p>&quot;We have learned that threats from a hate-group appeared earlier this month in chalked messages on campus walkways and in messages conveyed by telephone. These racist messages focused on the family of Bethany College's new president, William Jones, and the two bi-racial children of the president and his wife. An increased presence of persons of color in the student body was also the target of this hate speech.</p><p>&quot;We are diverse institutions in the Lutheran tradition, but we stand as one against these threats. With President Jones, we deplore these despicable actions that are, as he has shared, 'disgusting and completely contrary to our core values and intellectual identity.'</p><p>&quot;The ELCA Network of Colleges and Universities condemns the racist attacks and threats of violence made against the president, his family, and members of the Bethany College community. Such behavior is antithetical to human, Christian and American values. All people of good will should stand with us against the racism, bigotry and hatred that is at the root of these recent attacks.&quot;</p><p>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> 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 &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; 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.</p><p>For information contact&#58;<br>Candice Hill Buchbinder<br>773-380-2877 or Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0066cc">http&#58;//www.ELCA.org/news</font></span></a><br>Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0066cc">http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans</font></span></a><br>Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0066cc">http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com</font></span></a><br>​&#160;</p><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;11pt;"><br> </span><p>&#160;</p><p>​</p></div>09/21/2016ELCA endorses presidential debates standardshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7858http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7858<div class="ExternalClass6FF45DA71278437880B0D5D5CD85C242"><p>CHICAGO&#160; – The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has joined faith-based groups and other organizations in endorsing standards of conduct for the upcoming U.S. presidential debates. The standards are proposed by the National Institute for Civil Discourse.</p><p>The institute created standards for the presidential candidates, audience members and moderators. The standards for the candidates expect that they be respectful of others in speech and behavior, and make ideas and feelings known without intentionally disrespecting others.</p><p>Standards for the audience include when faced with incivility, speak against it by reminding candidates it is not acceptable. Moderators are expected to hold candidates accountable by challenging each candidate to speak the truth and&#160;act with integrity.</p><p>ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton addressed civic discourse in her May 2016 column for Living Lutheran magazine.</p><p>&quot;I understand that the world is a dangerous place; I understand that many in our country feel left behind and left out,&quot; Eaton wrote. &quot;There are legitimate security, foreign policy and domestic policy concerns. Candidates and political parties have the duty to speak to these concerns and make the case for their platform.&quot;</p><p>Eaton emphasized, though, that &quot;political speech that doesn't ensure that the 'other' is treated with the same respect and care that we would wish for our own brother or sister or father or mother is not what God intends for God's beloved community.&quot;</p><p>The ELCA has long been concerned that public discourse be conducted with civility and fairness. The ELCA's social statement (1991) &quot;The Church in Society&#58; A Lutheran Perspective,&quot; reads that &quot;Christians need to be concerned for the methods and the content of public deliberation.&quot;</p><p>More recently, the ELCA Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Synod, expressed this concern by approving a resolution titled, &quot;Current American Political Discourse.&quot; In the resolution, the synod &quot;rejects the public expressions of hatred, fear and bigotry being made during current political campaigns and encourages national and local leaders to boldly, unequivocally and responsibly embrace the values of compassion, honor, respect, cooperation and compromise that are the heart and soul of America.&quot; </p><p>The ELCA's social statement &quot;Church in Society&quot; is available at <a href="http&#58;//bit.ly/2d5YJ9H"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">bit.ly/2d5YJ9H</span></a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">.</span></p><p>Eaton's column is available at <a href="https&#58;//www.livinglutheran.org/2016/05/love-your-neighbor/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">livinglutheran.org/2016/05/love-your-neighbor/</span></a>.</p><p>More information about the Standards of Conduct for Debates is available at <a href="http&#58;//bit.ly/2d2mrR4"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">bit.ly/2d2mrR4</span></a>.</p><p>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> 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 &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; 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.</p><p>​&#160;</p><p>​</p></div>09/20/2016ELCA presiding bishop issues statement addressing Dakota Access Pipelinehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7857http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7857<div class="ExternalClassAD1B062D258D4A588D839E3A5196B3FE"><p>CHICAGO – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has released a statement addressing the situation surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline. On Sept. 9 a federal judge ruled against the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's request to halt construction of the pipeline. Three federal agencies have issued a statement and have asked the pipeline company to pause construction.</p><p>Bishop Eaton's statement follows&#58;</p><p>&quot;As church together, we have been watching the situation regarding the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Several ELCA members have been present on the ground with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The ELCA American Indian Alaska Native Lutheran Association has issued a statement as have other local ELCA congregations. We have been in conversation with local synod bishops.<br>We recognize the complexity and the deeply personal significance of what is at stake for those living in the area. We have been looking at the situation in light of the Churchwide Assembly action to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, and our church's long-standing concern for respecting the sovereignty of tribal nations.<br>We welcome the joint statement from the U.S. Departments of Justice, the Army and the Interior issued on September 9, 2016. We are particularly heartened by the tenor of the statement from the departments and we affirm its concern that it is now &quot;incumbent on all of us to develop a path forward that serves the broadest public interest.&quot;<br>The statement also read, &quot;We appreciate the District Court's opinion on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act.&#160;However, important issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations and their members regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline specifically, and pipeline-related decision-making generally, remain.&quot;<br>I recognize there are people of deep faith on all sides of this issue with varied perspectives and I pray that we use this time wisely. We need to be in prayer, to express solidarity and to build relationships. We also need to take seriously the concerns of the American Indian community, initiate and/or continue local efforts to strengthen and expand partnerships, and deepen cross-cultural understanding.&quot;<br>Here is a link to the joint statement&#58; U.S. Departments of Justice, the Army and the Interior joint statement&#58; <a href="https&#58;//www.justice.gov/opa/pr/joint-statement-department-justice-department-army-and-department-interior-regarding-standing"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">https&#58;//www.justice.gov/opa/pr/joint-statement-department-justice-department-army-and-department-interior-regarding-standing</span></a> </p><p>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> 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 &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; 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.</p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877 </font></span></p> <span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;"><a><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</font></span></a></span>​<p>​</p></div>09/09/2016ELCA presiding bishop issues statement in observance of 15th anniversary of 9/11http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7856http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7856<div class="ExternalClassA1C457902D514481B21234E713DC9E44"><p>CHICAGO – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has issued a statement in observance of the 15<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.</p><p>September 11, 2016</p><p>Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;<em>God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea&quot; Psalm 46​.</em></p><p>September 11, 2001. Like many of you I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news that the United States had been attacked. I remember the confusion, fear, helplessness and anger of those days immediately following the attack and the deep sadness for the thousands of people who died. </p><p>That was fifteen years ago. A lot has happened in our nation and in the world. We have been at war. We have become habituated to terrorist threats and TSA security checks. We have adjusted to a new normal. We feel less secure.</p><p>This year &quot;God's Work. Our Hands Sunday&quot; falls on September 11. We should take time to remember where we were on that terrible day fifteen years ago. But we should also take a look at where we are now. There are voices that clamor for suspicion and division. There are voices that promise that, by our own effort, we can guarantee our own security, by force if necessary. The sense of unity that arose out of the ashes of the Twin Towers has disappeared. This is not a good place to be, nor is it the place to which God has called us as a church.</p><p>Stephen Bouman, executive director for the ELCA Domestic Mission unit and former bishop of the Metropolitan New York Synod, tells this story about one of the events of September 11, 2001. A pastor in the synod also served as a chaplain to the fire department. The pastor saw the first plane hit the first tower and ran to the site. When he arrived the firefighters were putting on their gear. The pastor gathered them together, marked the cross on their foreheads with oil and prayed. Then the firefighters ran into the building. The people who survived said they could see the crosses shining on the firefighters' foreheads. In that great darkness and suffering the light of Christ appeared.</p><p>In baptism we have been marked with the cross of Christ. And we are sent into the dark places in the world. That is where we are and must be on September 11, 2016. God has given us God's work of reconciliation. When we show up for our day of service in our yellow T shirts in our communities we must give witness to the love of Christ that is stronger than hate and the life of Christ that is stronger than death. May we, joined to the death and resurrection of Christ through baptism, be light for the world.</p><p>In God's peace,</p><p>Elizabeth A. Eaton<br>&#160;</p><p>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> 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 &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; 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.</p><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877 or </font></span><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;"><a><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</font></span></a></span><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><br> <font color="#000000"></font><br> </span>​<p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>​</p></div>09/09/2016ELCA Churchwide Assembly addresses human rights concerns in Israel and Palestinehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7855http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7855<div class="ExternalClassF040C4BC0F5847F6A909B7ECDB7C89CF"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (Sept. 8, 2016) – Voting members of the 2016 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans Aug. 8-13 approved two memorials that address concerns over human rights in Israel and Palestine. The assembly also affirmed the ELCA's inter-religious partnerships and efforts to address anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of hatred based on religion and reaffirmed actions of previous assemblies regarding responsible investment in Israel-Palestine.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Through the first action – &quot;Peace with Justice in the Holy Land&quot; – the assembly reaffirmed the commitment of the ELCA to continue its awareness-building, accompaniment and advocacy for &#160;a peaceful resolution of the Israel and Palestine conflict, as well as seeking ways to support Palestinians and Israelis in restorative-justice dialogue.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The memorial also called for assisting the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) and other Christians to sustain their endangered presence in the Holy Land and promoting the economic empowerment of Palestinians, including through investment, prayer for the ELCJHL and the work of The Lutheran World Federation Jerusalem program.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The action reaffirmed the need to protect the human rights of Palestinians and Israelis and oppose all violence and actions that discriminate or deny any people their freedom, dignity or human rights.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; It also urged the church's members, congregations, synods, agencies and presiding bishop to call on their members of Congress and the administration to require that, to continue receiving U.S. financial and military aid, Israel comply with internationally recognized human rights standards as specified in U.S. law, stop settlement building and the expansion of existing settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, end its occupation of Palestinian territory, and enable an independent Palestinian state.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Dennis Frado, director of the Lutheran Office for World Community, said that these actions &quot;called for greater accountability by the U.S. government on the basis of international human rights standards for Israeli practices in order for Israel to continue to receive foreign and military assistance.&quot;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Frado emphasized that these laws apply to all U.S.-aid recipients. &quot;The ELCA has made similar calls for accountability for U.S. aid with respect to the civil war in El Salvador in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as well as signed a letter to Congress in May 2016 concerning military aid and sales to several Middle East nations, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt as well as Israel,&quot; he said.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In the second action – &quot;Justice for the Holy Land through Responsible Investment&quot; – the assembly called on the church to reaffirm the actions of the 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2013 ELCA churchwide assemblies regarding responsible investment in Israel-Palestine. The memorial directed the ELCA's corporate social responsibility review team to develop a human rights social criteria investment screen based on the social teachings of the church and on human rights concerns raised in the ELCA Churchwide Strategy for Engagement in Israel and Palestine, adopted by the ELCA Church Council in 2005.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The memorial also encourages ELCA members, congregations, synods, agencies and institutions to increase positive investment in Palestine and other under-resourced areas where human rights abuses materially impact the well-being of all people and to engage in shareholder advocacy in support of human rights.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA's social criteria investment screens provide a guide for this church with regard to corporate social responsibility. They delineate areas in which the ELCA would like to invest or refrain from future investing and provide criteria to evaluate the scope of corporate social responsibility work. The social criteria investment screen policy was approved by the ELCA Church Council in 2006 and revised in 2012.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;The Churchwide Assembly voted to develop a human rights social criteria investment screen taking into account the concerns raised in the ELCA Churchwide Strategy for Engagement in Israel and Palestine.&#160;It did not vote to divest,&quot; said Frado.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The assembly welcomed two guests who brought greetings and shared their respective commitments to partnering with the ELCA and others opposing hatred based on religion and to building peace.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;Rabbi David Sandmel, director of interfaith affairs of the Anti-Defamation League, told those gathered, &quot;All of us who are people of faith, who are proud to identify with a particular tradition, must stand together and speak out, to act, and to protect those at home and around the world who suffer because of their religious identity. This is one of the great challenges of our generation, one that we can only address together.&quot;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Dr. Sayyid Syeed, national director of the Islamic Society of North America's Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances, commended the ELCA's shared vision of a society where &quot;different religious are working together, and different religions – shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand – are creating and translating our religious ideals of equality, respect, and of peace and justice together.&quot; Both guests received a standing ovation and warmly embraced each other.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Sandmel lifted up the ELCA's 1994 &quot;Declaration to the Jewish Community,&quot; which repudiated Luther's anti-Judaic diatribes, denounced anti-Semitism, and reached out to Jewish neighbors.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;This declaration serves as the framework for our church's Jewish relations – past, present and future,&quot; said Kathryn Lohre, ELCA executive for ecumenical and inter-religious relations. &quot;The actions of the assembly must be understood in relationship to these commitments – as challenging the policies of the government of Israel– and not as an affront to Judaism or the Jewish people. Therefore, we must continue to engage in dialogue seeking mutual understanding and collaboration for the common good.&quot;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; All the legislative updates of the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly are available at <a href="http&#58;//elca.org/ChurchwideAssembly"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">ELCA.org/ChurchwideAssembly</span></a>.</p><p>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> 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 &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; 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.</p><p>&#160;For information contact&#58;<br>Candice Hill Buchbinder<br>773-380-2877 or Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.ELCA.org/news</span></a><br>Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans</span></a><br>Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com</span></a><br> <br></p><p>​</p></div>09/08/2016ELCA members plan for “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7854http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7854<div class="ExternalClass83D759F539284BB0A3443E49FFFC1050"><p>CHICAGO – In affirmation of a church that boldly participates in what God is up to in this world, members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will gather together Sept. 11 for &quot;God's work. Our hands.&quot; Sunday.</p><p>On this dedicated day of service, members of all ages will participate in a multitude of service projects, building on the work they do in their communities every day. Activities include cleaning beaches and parks, assembling school kits and hygiene bags, making sleeping mats for the homeless, collecting and delivering items to local food pantries and helping with home repairs and yard care.</p><p>The 2016 &quot;God's work. Our hands.&quot; Sunday also marks the 15-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. Many congregations' service projects will be in appreciation for the first responders in their communities.</p><p>At Hope Lutheran Church in Reno, Texas, volunteers will host a chili dinner for local police and fire departments, as well as EMTs and public works personnel and their families.</p><p>&quot;We are protected by a five-member police department, a volunteer fire department and a dedicated public works department,&quot; said Connie Morrow,&#160;a member of Hope Lutheran who helped organize the service project. &quot;We feel truly blessed to have these brave men and women there when we need them, by placing themselves in harm's way for us when necessary.&#160;We may be small town, but they are definitely big hearted.&#160;Our dinner is only a small token of the gratitude and admiration we have for them.&#160;They are truly doing God's work with their hands every day.&quot;</p><p>Other service projects for first responders include washing police cars and fire engines and delivering meals, baked goods and thank-you cards.</p><p>More information about &quot;God's work. Our hands.&quot; Sunday is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/dayofservice"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">ELCA.org/dayofservice</span></a>.&#160; <br></p><p>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> 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 &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; 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.</p><p><br>For information contact&#58;</p><p>Candice Hill Buchbinder<br>773-380-2877 or Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.ELCA.org/news</span></a><br>Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans</span></a><br>Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com</span></a><br> ​<br></p><p>​</p></div>09/08/2016