ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/College students surpass fundraising goal for ELCA Malaria Campaignhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7686http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7686<div class="ExternalClassE78B12A4257444FFB52788A440D23805"><p>​<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160;</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;CHICAGO (ELCA) </span> <span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">– </span> <span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Students attending some of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">'</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">s (ELCA) colleges, universities and campus ministries surpassed a matching challenge goal this month of raising $125,000 for the ELCA Malaria Campaign by $6,619.20 and counting.</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Sorenson Matching Challenge was set forth by Arne and Ruth Sorenson of Chevy Chase, Md. In 2011, they gave an initial gift of $25,000 to the ELCA Malaria Campaign, which was distributed as seed money to 12 ELCA colleges, universities and campus ministries to support their fundraising efforts to the campaign. The second part of the Sorensons' gift was a $125,000 matching challenge, designed to match the money raised by college students. The 12 grantee institutions were joined by 23 other organizations to raise money for the ELCA Malaria Campaign. The challenge given to students was to raise the money by the end of the 2013-14 school year, which they completed right on time.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;The ELCA can be proud of the dedicated students who have worked hard to educate their peers and raise so much money to support malaria programs in Africa,&quot; said Jessica Nipp, coordinator of the ELCA Malaria Campaign. &quot;Their committed and creative leadership has catalyzed generosity in many communities and on many campuses across the ELCA.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In order to raise the money needed, the campus ministries at the 35 institutions reached out to schools and congregations, held concerts and fundraising events, and showed the effects of malaria to the students at their schools. Although malaria is preventable and treatable, each year more than 200 million people worldwide become infected with the disease and more than 600,000 people die, many of these children under 5.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, alone raised more than $43,000 with their Wartburg Malaria Initiative, a year-long, campus-wide initiative held in cooperation with the ELCA Malaria Campaign. Wartburg is one of 26 ELCA colleges and universities.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;I am really proud of the Wartburg Malaria Initiative and our efforts as a community to partner with the ELCA Malaria Campaign,&quot; said Kelsey Nulph, who led the initiative. &quot;By March of the academic year we had surpassed our fundraising goal, but we continued to fundraise and involve students, faculty, staff and community members in the efforts of the Wartburg Malaria Initiative.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; More than 700 Wartburg students were involved in the work of the initiative through student-staffed tables at every Wartburg home game in a variety of sports and multiple Wartburg events, such as Homecoming, a benefit concert and Family Weekend. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in the Sorenson Matching Challenge because it provided hundreds of college students the opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters in Africa,&quot; said Nulph.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The funds raised by college students and matching grants will be used to provide life-saving health care, train pastors, teach people how to protect themselves from the spread of malaria, and distribute insecticide-treated mosquito nets.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;It has been exciting to participate in the ELCA Malaria Campaign Initiative inspired by the spirit&#160;brought to the mission by the many college students who brought awareness of the Malaria challenge to their friends ,families and communities,&quot; said Arne and Ruth Sorenson.<br><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>​&quot;With an abundance of creative activities inviting all to make a difference and the stories of collaboration and determination to reach beyond their goals, college campuses demonstrated that they are indeed the leaders of the future in the movement to raise awareness and funds to eradicate malaria in Africa. We have been honored to be partners in the effort through the Sorenson Grant Challenge,&quot; they said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA Malaria Campaign, initiated by the 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, seeks to raise $15 million by the end of 2015. Through the campaign, ELCA members have joined with companion Lutheran congregations and partners in 13 African countries to prevent and treat malaria, educate communities about the disease and more. To date, the campaign has raised $12.5 million of the $15 million goal. The campaign is a priority of <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em> – a five-year campaign seeking to raise $198 million in support of new and expanded ELCA churchwide ministries.<br> ---<br> About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America&#58;</p><p>The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 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> <em>By Jeremy Lensing, an intern for the ELCA Public Relations Department and a student at Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill., majoring in multi-media mass communication and communication studies. </em></p><p>For information contact&#58;</p><p>​Melissa Ramirez Cooper, Manager, Public Relations<br> 773-380-2956 or <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/tools/secure_emailer?a=TWVsaXNzYS5SYW1pcmV6Q29vcGVyQGVsY2Eub3Jn&amp;b=TmV3cw==&amp;subject=News&amp;body="> email </a><br> ELCA News&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">www.ELCA.org/news</a><br> Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br> Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">www.livinglutheran.com</a> <br></p></div>07/26/2014ELCA presiding bishop offers ‘State of the ELCA’http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7684http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7684<div class="ExternalClass3A1E8383EB574C1499EF042F46BF9A9C"><p> <span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160;</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;CHARLOTTE, N.C. (ELCA) – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), said part of the reason why women now serve as ordained pastors in the ELCA &quot;is because of the work done by Women of the ELCA and predecessor church bodies.&quot;</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Reporting on the &quot;State of the ELCA&quot; to the more than 360 delegates of the Ninth Triennial Convention of Women of the ELCA, which met at the Charlotte Convention Center here July 24, Eaton expressed her gratitude for Women of the ELCA, who &quot;worked tirelessly&quot; for the ordination of women. &quot;I need to say thank you for the work that you and your sisters have done.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The convention took place July 22-24 and precedes the Ninth Triennial Gathering of Women of the ELCA, July 24-27. About 2,000 women from across this church are gathering under the theme &quot;of many generations.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In her conversation with delegates, Eaton thanked the ELCA women's organization for its many financial contributions, particularly support to ELCA missionaries serving in partnership with Lutheran companion churches overseas, the ELCA Malaria Campaign and more.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Women of the Lutheran church from our predecessor bodies and Women of the ELCA have supported, for a couple of centuries, missionaries so that the good news of Jesus Christ might be heard and experienced and felt (among) people all over the world.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;And you didn't stop there,&quot; said Eaton. &quot;To date (Women of the ELCA) has contributed over $84,000 to the ELCA Malaria Campaign&quot; – a five-year campaign in which ELCA members have joined with companion Lutheran congregations and partners in 13 African countries to prevent and treat malaria, educate communities about the disease and more. To date, the campaign has raised more than $12 million of its goal of $15 million by 2015.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;You are actually saving lives of people you might never meet but who are actually your brothers and sisters in Christ, all children of God,&quot; she said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA presiding bishop shared four emphases in which she is organizing the work of the ELCA churchwide organization, based in Chicago, and is inviting the 65 ELCA synod bishops, pastors, members and others across this church to embrace&#58; We are church. We are Lutheran. We are church together. We are church for the sake of the world.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;At the heart of what we do together as church is worship. And at the heart of our worship is the crucified, risen Christ,&quot; she said. &quot;There are probably lots of nongovernmental organizations, corporations and charitable organizations who can be far more effective, do more work and have far more resources than we do, but all we have – and because of this we have everything – is Jesus. Can we claim that? Can we lean into that? Can we be used by this good and gracious God, who loved us so much that he would rather die than lose a single one of us?&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;I think (and) not in any sort of a boastful way, but with humility but unapologetically, if we are very clear about who we are, it makes it more possible for us to engage in meaningful relationships and dialogue with other people,&quot; said Eaton. &quot;I think it's important for us to recover some of the great themes of who we are as Lutheran Christians and use that – raise that voice, not only in our ecumenical conversations, but also in religious conversations and conversations in the public square, in secular conversations.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton noted that ELCA members can serve as &quot;a model for the rest of our neighbors about how it is possible for people of goodwill and deep convictions to disagree on extremely important issues but still see Christ in the other and not separate one from the other.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Of her four emphases, Eaton shared that &quot;we are church together has proven to be so far the most difficult aspect of my eight months, three weeks and three days&quot; in her call as presiding bishop and &quot;before my seven years as a synodical bishop and even parish pastor.&quot; She challenged delegates to help members of their congregations understand that &quot;when we are baptized, we become part of the body of Christ.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; When &quot;you return to your congregations, how can you infect them with the disease of understanding – a happy disease – that we're stronger together than we are apart? And it's not just the individual, local congregation, but we have agencies and institutions, colleges, universities&quot; and more.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; An important way that understanding &quot;plays out right now&quot; is among the work of ELCA congregations and Lutheran social service agencies &quot;who are dealing with already 50,000 undocumented, unaccompanied minors fleeing terrible poverty and gang violence in their countries. Some of these children in detention are 3 years old. They come with their names either written or sewn onto their clothes.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Not a single one of us could take care of that crisis ourselves, but together we can. And we are hoping to work in those communities who feel so overwhelmed by this wave of people coming … we need to pray for them as well. That's how we are as church together, and we are church for the sake of the world.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton also highlighted <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em> – a five-year campaign seeking to raise $198 million in support of new and expanded ELCA churchwide ministries.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Among the campaign priorities, &quot;We are already asking our companion synods to send candidates (to the United States) to be trained in our seminaries and our colleges and, overwhelmingly, they select men. Part of this campaign now is going to be dedicated to (asking companion synods) to identify women leaders in their churches not only for seminary education, which is important, but for undergraduate education, because we know that women have the greatest impact in their communities. Partnering with them is a way that we are a global church.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Another priority&quot; is that &quot;we will be raising funds to start new congregations. Half of our new starts are among people of color or whose primary language is not English or people (experiencing) poverty. We haven't moved the needle much on becoming an inclusive church and a diverse church, but we're intentional about this,&quot; said Eaton, who also noted that another campaign priority is to support the ELCA Fund for Leaders, &quot;a critical right now.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Jennifer Michael, the outgoing president of Women of the ELCA's executive board, is an ELCA Fund for Leaders scholarship recipient attending Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, one of eight ELCA seminaries.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We are a church stronger together than we are apart,&quot; Eaton said in her concluding comments. &quot;So what can we do individually, as congregations and as this church to engage in those basic spiritual disciplines of prayer, silence, Scripture study, giving, doing works of justice, and corporate worship? What can we do? I want you to be folks who agitate your families,&quot; she said. &quot;What can we do to help people see that this is not some gimmick or some 'kumbaya' sort of thing? It is just basically what Christians have done for two millennia, and that we need to recover this in an intentional way in our church in order that we might make space for the Holy Spirit to breathe into us. Then, we can start to make plans.&quot;<br> - - -<br> <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 about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 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>​Melissa Ramirez Cooper, Manager, Public Relations<br> 773-380-2956 or <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/tools/secure_emailer?a=TWVsaXNzYS5SYW1pcmV6Q29vcGVyQGVsY2Eub3Jn&amp;b=TmV3cw==&amp;subject=News&amp;body="> email </a><br> ELCA News&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">www.ELCA.org/news</a><br> Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br> Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">www.livinglutheran.com</a> </p></div>07/24/2014Women of the ELCA concludes Ninth Triennial Conventionhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7685http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7685<div class="ExternalClass25F14B9D75504A37B5AC5718FA11B6F0"><p>​<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">CHARLOTTE, N.C. (ELCA) – The Ninth Triennial Convention of Women of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) concluded here July 24 with the installation of new officers and members of the Women of the ELCA churchwide executive board. The convention, which took place at the Charlotte Convention Center July 22-24, is Women of the ELCA's highest legislative authority with delegates elected by each of the 64 synodical women's organizations.</span></p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Delivering her final report July 22 as president of Women of the ELCA, Jennifer Michael told the convention, &quot;I am continuing to grow into who God has meant me to be. And it could never have happened, never have happened, without being a participant in Women of the ELCA.&quot;<br><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>The more than 360 delegates to the Ninth Triennial Convention elected new officers and executive board members who will serve a three-year term concluding in 2017. The new officers include&#58;</span></p><p>+Patti Austin, president. Austin is a member of All Saints Lutheran in Lilburn, Ga.<br><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">+ Jody Smiley, vice president. Smiley is a member of St. Michael Lutheran in Blacksburg, Va.</span></p><p> +Becky Shurson, secretary. Shurson is a member of Faith Lutheran in Yucaipa, Calif.<br> +Ely Smith, re-elected treasurer. Smith is a member of Trinity Lutheran in Parkland, Wash.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In her remarks to the convention, Austin said, &quot;Now is the time for us to tell our story, to connect and to communicate with every woman in our congregations, telling them what God has done through this organization, our organization.&quot;<br><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>​Drawing on the convention's theme, &quot;of many generations,&quot; Austin said, &quot;Ladies, it's important that we remain focused and dream big. We are the repairers of the breach. Young or old, our role in God's work is too important not to share with every generation. We are called and empowered to do it together, she said. &quot;God's kingdom is unfolding just as he had planned from the beginning. Get ready, ladies. God is doing a new thing in and through this organization and each of you.&quot;<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>Other convention business included the approval of the following memorials, or proposals, from the 64 synodical women's organizations&#58;</span></p><p>+ Financially support efforts to provide solar energy for Phebe Hospital in Liberia – the largest public health institution in the African country.</p><p>+ Raise awareness and prevention of human trafficking, a &quot;growing problem&quot; in the United States, according to the text of the memorial. It is estimated that 2 million people are trafficked worldwide and &quot;27 million people are enslaved around the world,&quot; according to the memorial.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Emily Fitchpatrick, founder and executive director of On Eagles Wings – &#160;a Charlotte-based ministry designed to provide hope and care to victims of sex trafficking – offered greetings and expressed her gratitude to the convention.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Delegates also committed the women's organization to pray for guidance and direction in the current humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied children entering the United States. With 318 to 30 votes in favor, delegates of the convention approved a resolution July 23 that also encourages ELCA congregations to be places of hospitality and to share its action with ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton and executive, legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. government to &quot;welcome children who are seeking refuge from violence&quot; and to &quot;treat these children with compassion.&quot;<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; <span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Linda Hartke, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, addressed the convention and thanked delegates for their &quot;generous support.&quot; Based in Baltimore, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is one of the nation's leaders in welcoming and advocating for refugees and immigrants, working on behalf of the ELCA.<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>​In other business, delegates defeated a recommendation to reduce the board's membership size. Of the 363 total eligible votes, 326 delegates voted no and 32 were in favor of the recommendation, which required a two-thirds vote for adoption.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Offerings taken during the convention's worship will be distributed to Women of the ELCA, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and On Eagles Wings Ministries.<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;</span>The convention also approved the 2015 budget for the </span> <span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">women's organization. The accepted budget accounts for revenue, support and other income equal the expenditures at $2,941,593. The expenses include $425,000 to be given to the ELCA churchwide organization, based in Chicago.<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>The convention precedes the Ninth Triennial Gathering of Women of the ELCA, July 24-27, where 2,000 women from across this church are gathering under the theme &quot;of many generations.&quot;</span></p><p> <span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">- - -</span></p><p> <strong style="line-height&#58;1.6;">About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#58;</span></p><p> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 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>​Melissa Ramirez Cooper, Manager, Public Relations<br> 773-380-2956 or <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/tools/secure_emailer?a=TWVsaXNzYS5SYW1pcmV6Q29vcGVyQGVsY2Eub3Jn&amp;b=TmV3cw==&amp;subject=News&amp;body="> email </a><br> ELCA News&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">www.ELCA.org/news</a><br> Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br> Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">www.livinglutheran.com</a><br></p></div>07/24/2014Women of the ELCA elect new officers, executive board membershttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7683http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7683<div class="ExternalClassF88701B8640C41E4AE6E8413124CDC88"><p> <span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; CHARLOTTE, N.C. (ELCA) – New officers and executive board members of Women of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) were installed July 24, 2014, during the closing service of the Ninth Triennial Convention of the Women of the ELCA, which took place&#160;at the Charlotte Convention Center here July 22-24. They will serve a three-year term concluding in 2017.</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The convention is Women of the ELCA's highest legislative authority with delegates elected by each of the 64 synodical women's organizations. The convention precedes the Ninth Triennial Gathering of Women of the ELCA, July 24-27, where 2,000 women from across this church are&#160;gathering under the theme, &quot;of many generations.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Patti Austin from Decatur, Ga., was elected as the organization's executive board president. Austin, a member of All Saints Lutheran in Lilburn, Ga., was elected on the fourth ballot with 191 votes to 163 votes for Jody Smiley from Blacksburg, Va. There were 354 votes cast, with a total of 178 votes needed for an election.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In her remarks to the more than 360 women attending the convention, Austin recalled the childhood experience of growing a tiny seed in a Styrofoam cup. &quot;We kept a daily watch until a tiny, green sprout would nudge the dirt aside, unfold and become our own small plant. Whether it arrives to full maturity or not, the growing plant was reflective of whatever seed we planted,&quot; she said. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;In much the same way, the end result of our women's ministry is already bound up within the seed that was planted many generations ago,&quot; said Austin, who has served on the churchwide executive board of Women of the ELCA since 2011. She also serves on the stewardship committee and the constitution review committee.&#160; <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Our world is constantly changing and as Christian women we have an opportunity to be a part of those changes by planting God's love on good soil and bad soil to everyone we come in contact with.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Austin told the convention about her 14-year-old granddaughter who is attending her first Triennial event and is &quot;excited to be attending and learning about the many ministries that we're involved in and to dream about what her generation of women might do in the name of Jesus.&quot;&#160; <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Ladies, we have the opportunity to take our young women under our wing, to nurture them, to mentor them, and yes, to learn from them,&quot; said Austin. &quot;We can share our faith, our stories, and most of all God's blessings with them, but we must be ready to hand over to them the legacy of many bold women with full confidence that God is doing something new in and through them.&quot; <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Austin said she looks forward with &quot;great anticipation to see what God has in store for us in the next 25 years. I know we will continue to nurture the seed of faith that was planted, knowing that it will continue to develop and grow into an active and vibrant ministry beyond anything we could have ever imagined because this is the mystery of the kingdom of God.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Triennial Convention also elected&#58;<br> + Jody Smiley, vice president. Smiley is a member of St. Michael Lutheran in Blacksburg, Va.<br><br> +Becky Shurson, secretary. Shurson is a member of Faith Lutheran in Yucaipa, Calif.<br><br> +Ely Smith, re-elected treasurer. &#160;Smith is a member of Trinity Lutheran in Parkland, Wash.<br><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>​The Triennial Convention elected the following to the Women of the ELCA executive board&#58; </p><p>+Cindy Arnett, ELCA Sierra Pacific Synod</p><p>+Deborah Banks-Williams, ELCA Metropolitan Chicago Synod</p><p>+Lois Bylund,&#160;ELCA Northwestern Minnesota Synod</p><p>+Lydia Davila, ELCA Caribbean Synod</p><p>+Dinah Dutta, ELCA Central States Synod</p><p>+Gwendolyn Edwards, ELCA Nebraska Synod</p><p>+Joyce Gibson, ELCA&#160;Montana Synod</p><p>+Nancy Giddings, ELCA Minneapolis Area Synod</p><p>+Sandra Grier, ELCA Upper Susquehanna Synod</p><p>+Joan Iverson, ELCA Southwestern Minnesota Synod</p><p>+Gwendolyn King, ELCA Southeast Pennsylvania Synod</p><p>+Barbara Miller, ELCA Southeast Michigan Synod</p><p>+Lisa Plorin, ELCA Western North Dakota Synod</p><p>+Anna Sarver, ELCA Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod</p><p>+Dawn Smith, ELCA&#160;North/West Lower Michigan Synod</p><p>+Karen Voris, ELCA Alaska Synod</p><p>+Jackie Wilson, ELCA Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod.<br> - - -</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 about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 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, Public Relations News/Media Specialist <br> 773-380-2877 or <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/tools/secure_emailer?a=Q2FuZGljZS5IaWxsQnVjaGJpbmRlckBlbGNhLm9yZw==&amp;b=TmV3cw==&amp;subject=News&amp;body="> email </a><br> ELCA News&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">www.ELCA.org/news</a><br> Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br> Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">www.livinglutheran.com</a> </p></div>07/24/2014Kevin Strickland named ELCA worship directorhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7682http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7682<div class="ExternalClass696EB6B1127D497BB3A8DA503ECA9029"><p>​<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – The Rev. Kevin L. Strickland, Nashville, Tenn., has been named new director for worship formation and liturgical resources at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) churchwide organization effective Aug. 24,</span><sup> </sup> <span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">2014.</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;It is a true joy for me to accept the call to this position and to work with brothers and sisters around the ELCA in what is central to our mission -- worship,&quot; said Strickland. &quot;Worship is at the heart of our mission as Christ's church and provides an opportunity for us to be made whole and encounter the holy. Worship equips us to be disciples in this world, striving for justice and in doing so, we return often to the heart of our mission to be re-charged and fed.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Kevin brings the grounding of daily parish ministry to this position,&quot; said the Rev. Stephen Bouman, executive director of ELCA Congregational and Synodical Mission. &quot;Kevin has also been a leader in most of the tables supporting the linking of liturgy with mission. He will bring a unique voice and leadership to a church deeply engaged in being church first, but a church in mission together for the life of the world,&quot; he said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA Office of the Presiding Bishop and the Congregational and Synodical Mission program unit are &quot;delighted to welcome Rev. Kevin Strickland,&quot; said Evelyn Soto, ELCA director of synod partners for mission and unit operations. &quot;Kevin's passion for worship and liturgy will benefit and impact the wider ELCA, liturgical resource development and our Lutheran Center worship.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Strickland earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion, philosophy and history from Newberry College in Newberry, S.C., one of 26 colleges and universities of the ELCA. He earned a Masters of Divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C., one of eight ELCA seminaries.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Strickland is pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Nashville, and was pastor of St. Paul Lutheran in Maryville, Tenn. He has served in the area of youth and family ministry at Incarnation Lutheran Church in Columbia, S.C., St. Philip's Lutheran in Newberry, and Lutheran Church of Redeemer in Newberry, and Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church in West Columbia, S.C.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; He served as chair of the ELCA Southeastern Synod Worship Team, president of the board for Lutheran Services in Tennessee, member of the ELCA Southeastern Synod Immigration and Refugee Task Force and the ELCA Southeastern Synod Council.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Strickland succeeds the Rev. Peter J. L. Perella, who passed away Feb. 24, 2014.<br> ---<br> About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America&#58;</p><p>The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 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>By Jeremy Lensing, an intern for the ELCA Public Relations Department and a student at Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill., majoring in multi-media mass communication and communication studies. </p><p>​<br> For information contact&#58;<br> Melissa Ramirez Cooper, Manager, Public Relations<br> 773-380-2956 or <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/tools/secure_emailer?a=TWVsaXNzYS5SYW1pcmV6Q29vcGVyQGVsY2Eub3Jn&amp;b=TmV3cw==&amp;subject=News&amp;body="> email </a><br> ELCA News&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">www.ELCA.org/news</a><br> Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br> Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">www.livinglutheran.com</a><br> ​<br></p></div>07/22/2014ELCA presiding bishop joins call for peace in the Holy Landhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7681http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7681<div class="ExternalClass0656D0EFB90F45869887DA724BF9CE82">​<div class="ExternalClass89106C29D37C41EFA0F881BAF9A7F319"><p> <span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160;</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; CHICAGO (E​LCA) – As the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip further escalates, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, pre​siding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), expressed her profound concern for members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land in a July 17, 2014, letter to that denomination's bishop, the Rev. Dr. Munib A. Younan.</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Our hearts are heavy as we read about and see images of the violence being inflicted on both Israelis and Palestinians. This suffering and loss of life are inexcusable before God. As followers with you of the Prince of Peace, and as children of God, the Creator and Sustainer of all life, we long for peace and a just resolution to the escalating conflict between the State of Israel and the Palestinian people,&quot; Eaton wrote, adding that she is responding directly to Younan's call to participate in interventions and actions &quot;to create hope in a hopeless situation.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In a July 16 public statement, Younan asked that Christians and &quot;all people of good will intervene in the present situation of unacceptable violence and bloodshed.&quot; He said, &quot;If we cannot take steps towards peace, we will continue to be held hostage by extremism. Please do not leave us alone in this moment of struggle. The whole Middle East is boiling. We need your prophetic voice and support so that peace built on justice and reconciliation built on forgiveness will prevail.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In her letter to Younan, Eaton shared that &quot;we join you in your call for a cessation of all hostilities between Israel and Hamas and a return to direct peace talks to achieve a comprehensive and sustainable peace based upon a two-state solution and adherence to international human rights and humanitarian law.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA presiding b​ishop wrote that she will encourage all ELCA congregations to continue their prayers for peace in the Holy Land, including participation in &quot;a minute of silence&quot; during Sunday worship.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Although her intended visit to Jordan and the Holy Land scheduled for later this month has been postponed, Eaton told Younan that she looks &quot;forward to our time together.&quot; In her letter, she noted the &quot;steadfastness&quot; of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land&#58; &quot;The church's strong witness for coexistence grounded in peace with justice permeates every level of congregational, educational and diaconal service. Our faith is strengthened by knowing how, even in the midst of great difficulties, the Body of Christ is working in Palestine and Jordan for the good of all communities.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Along with the witness of your pastors and lay leaders, your witness, Bishop Younan, has strengthened our confidence that peace can indeed be achieved among the two peoples and three religions that share the Holy Land. Your statements, speeches and sermons have been a model for promoting both political and interreligious coexistence, along with your strong support of the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land, which you helped found,&quot; Eaton wrote.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA presiding bishop also expressed her gratitude for Younan's capacity to uplift &quot;the voices of moderation and against extremism.&quot; She expressed her appreciation in particular for the long-standing work of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land's schools in demonstrating &quot;the importance of education through a curriculum based on peace, nonviolence, peaceful co-existence and the strengthening of civil society for the benefit of all communities.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Through an ELCA &quot;Peace Not Walls&quot; action alert issued July 17, ELCA members are being encouraged to contact members of U.S. Congress to ask for an end &quot;to the latest round of violence.&quot; The alert offers a sample letter which ELCA members can use to contact U.S. Senators and Representatives, featuring elements of Younan's July 16 statement that calls for the &quot;immediate cessation of hostilities in Gaza.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Younan also calls for the resumption of direct peace talks to achieve a comprehensive and sustainable peace; critical support for healthcare infrastructure; material support for interreligious cooperation and peacebuilding through the educational and diaconal ministries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land; and that the global Christian community, including member churches of The Lutheran World Federation, provide necessary assistance to those who have been internally displaced or affected by the current wave of violence and to help the economic and development of the growth of the Palestinian people.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land are member churches of The Lutheran World Federation – a global communion of 144 churches representing more than 70 million Christians in 79 countries. The ELCA is the communion's only member church from the United States.</p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The full text of Eaton’s letter is available at&#160;<a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Letter_To_Bishop_Younan_July_2014.pdf">http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Letter_To_Bishop_Younan_July_2014.pdf</a>,&#160;and the Peace Not Walls action alert at <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=63280591&amp;PROCESS=Take+Action">http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=63280591&amp;PROCESS=Take+Action</a>. The ELCA has a “Strategy for Engagement in Israel and Palestine” available at <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Engagement_Israel_PalestineSPR09.pdf">http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Engagement_Israel_PalestineSPR09.pdf</a>, and a social message at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Messages/Israeli-Palestinian-Conflict">http&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Messages/Israeli-Palestinian-Conflict</a>.</p><p>- - -<br> About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America&#58;</p><p>The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 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> Melissa Ramirez Cooper, Manager, Public Relations<br> 773-380-2956 or <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/tools/secure_emailer?a=TWVsaXNzYS5SYW1pcmV6Q29vcGVyQGVsY2Eub3Jn&amp;b=TmV3cw==&amp;subject=News&amp;body="> email </a> <br> ELCA News&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">www.ELCA.org/news</a><br> Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br> Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">www.livinglutheran.com</a> ​​​​​​<br></p></div></div>07/17/2014