ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/ELCA presiding bishop visits companion church in the Holy Landhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7721http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7721<div class="ExternalClass7B3BCF7CAC814D9DAF2C54478EB7CBBC"><p>​<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – In her first visit to the Middle East as presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton led a delegation Jan. 11-17 to meet with leaders and members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land – a companion church of the ELCA. The delegation also met with political and religious leaders, including a meeting with the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land.</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) 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.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; During their visit, the delegation met with students of the Evangelical Lutheran School in Beit Sahour and Dar Al-Kalima Lutheran School in Bethlehem. The school and educational programs of the ELCJHL employ nearly 200 educators, administrators, social workers and others, and nearly all faculty and staff are Palestinians from Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jerusalem and elsewhere. The delegation visited Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem, and they toured the Environmental Education Center in Beit Jala, a ministry of the ELCJHL, to learn more about the denomination's special ecological projects.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;The impact of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land upon the lives of all people in the region is out of proportion to its size. This relatively small church does enormous work in education, humanitarian aid, environmental study, advocacy, ecumenical and inter- religious relations and peacemaking all while dealing with the difficult and ever present reality of the Israeli occupation,&quot; said Eaton.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;This land has a unique beauty&#58; green and gentle in Galilee, severe and barren in the mountains and hills around Jerusalem and the West Bank. It wasn't what I expected the first time I saw it. It made me aware of all of the preconceptions I bring with me to this place. That is a dangerous thing to do,&quot; she said. This trip marks Eaton's third visit to the Middle East, first as ELCA presiding bishop.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The delegation visited the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem and also toured Augusta Victoria Hospital, a ministry of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF). The hospital offers the only cancer facility for residents of the West Bank and Gaza, and it employs more than 300 people. The hospital was founded in 1950. Dr. Tawfiq Nasser, the hospital's chief executive officer, and the Rev. Mark Brown, LWF regional representative in Jerusalem, accompanied Eaton on the hospital tour.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Augusta Victoria Hospital is a vital ministry&quot; said Eaton. &quot;It is something that The Lutheran World Federation and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are committed to supporting, have been, are now and always will be.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We were very honored by the visit of Bishop Eaton and her delegation,&quot; said the Rev. Munib Younan, bishop of the ELCJHL and president of The Lutheran World Federation. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We arranged a program where she could meet all concerned parties, all ecumenical parties, representatives from all of the Abrahamic faiths, and the work of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and The Lutheran World Federation in Jerusalem. Through her visit, this accompaniment relationship that started in 1988 was strengthened even more. It has helped us to see that we both in the ELCJHL and ELCA have been called together for a common mission for the love of God in the Middle East and the United States,&quot; said Younan.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA delegation met with representatives of the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land – established in 2005 to ensure the ongoing engagement of the leadership and representation of the official religious institutions of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith communities in the Holy Land.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In addition to the council, the delegation met with Patriarch Theophilos III, the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem; Patriarch Fouad Twal, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church and Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem; and Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, Patriarch of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton and others from her delegation met with Palestinian Authority officials, the mayor of Bethlehem, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior, Israeli deputy foreign minister officials, the U.S. Consul General and others.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton addressed a gathering of ELCJHL pastors and the denomination's Church Council. The relationship between the ELCJHL and ELCA &quot;is deeply important to us,&quot; she said, adding that she sees hope for the land through the ministries of ELCJHL. &quot;When I think of people, Christian brothers and sisters, who are in situations that seem hopeless and they have hope, they give me hope. This church is a source of hope for me when I think there can be no hope,&quot; she said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Images of the ELCA delegation's visit are available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Living-Lutheran/Photos">http&#58;//www.elca.org/Living-Lutheran/Photos</a>.</p><p> <strong>Renewing efforts for a two-state peace agreement</strong><br><strong> </strong>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In a Jan. 21 letter to President Obama, members of the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East urged the president – in coordination with the Quartet (the United Nations, United States, the European Union and Russia) – to work with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to renew efforts and achieve a negotiated two-state peace agreement &quot;before it is too late.&quot; Eaton is among the Christian, Jewish and Muslim endorsers of the letter.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In their letter, the religious leaders wrote that &quot;the Gaza war demonstrated once again that there is no military solution to the conflict&quot; and &quot;given developments on the ground, including dangerous new violent clashes in Jerusalem, simply urging the parties to return to negotiations is no longer sufficient.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The leaders said that &quot;the outline for a two-state peace agreement is widely known and would likely be accepted by majorities of Israelis and Palestinians if presented by their leaders as the only viable alternative to more violence and war.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The leaders urged the president to authorize U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry – coordinating with the Quartet and &quot;drawing on internationally accepted principles and practical ideas from previous official and informal negotiations&quot; – to offer a balanced and fair framework to the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority as the basis for negotiating a two-state peace agreement to end conflict. Religious leaders also offered to meet with Kerry to discuss ways they can be helpful.<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 more than 3.8&#160;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>01/27/2015ELCA response to Ebola outbreak totals $275,000http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7720http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7720<div class="ExternalClass4BA54BF201714459906E4BAE714851B6"><p>​&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – Since the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Liberia and Sierra Leone, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has provided $275,000 to support the work of Lutheran companion churches in both African countries. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The funds were disbursed through Lutheran Disaster Response International to ELCA companion churches and partners responding to the immediate needs of people impacted by the disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 8,500 people have died due to Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “There are some signs the situation in Liberia and Sierra Leone is getting better, (but) Ebola is more than just a health crisis. Ebola also has a devastating impact on the livelihoods in Liberia and Sierra Leone,” said Vitaly Vorona, ELCA program director for Lutheran Disaster Response International. “Women and children are particularly vulnerable.” <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “One of my proudest moments as a Lutheran came when Mrs. Roselyn Kawah, (chairperson) of a concerned women group in Monrovia, enthusiastically expressed her gratitude to the Lutheran Church at a presentation ceremony a few weeks ago,” said the Rev. Jensen Seyenkulo, bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia. “Mrs. Kawah spoke of the enormous challenges the country faces and how the Lutheran Church has been a shining ray of light in this bleak situation.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Although we still have the aftermath of Ebola to deal with, there are very few new cases in Liberia today,” said Seyenkulo. “Liberians have learned a lot. Even these improvements can partly be attributed to our partners' accompaniment. We are grateful, very grateful.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA has responded in the following areas&#58;<br>+$10,000 helped cover air-freight costs for Global Health Ministries to ship personal protective equipment to Monrovia. This was at the request of the Lutheran Church in Liberia. Global Health Ministries provides medical supplies and funding for health care programs in Lutheran churches in 20 countries.<br>+$85,000 to the Lutheran Church in Liberia provided food assistance of oil, rice and fish to nearly 3,000 households in six territorial areas. Food supplies were necessary because many areas were under quarantine in an effort to contain the spread of the Ebola virus.<br>+$50,000 to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sierra Leone provided oil, rice and fish to 4,750 individuals who were under quarantine.<br>+$50,000 to Lutheran Development Service in Liberia to help raise awareness and share messages about Ebola symptoms and prevention methods to 4,500 individuals in Liberia. The funds also provided for a contractor to ensure that the construction of an isolation center at Phebe Hospital and the School of Nursing meets WHO standards. Phebe Hospital is a Lutheran hospital and is the largest public health institution in Liberia.<br>+$80,000 to the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone to support the prevention of the Ebola virus in two districts and 180 communities through various activities, including&#160; awareness and distribution of bleach and water containers.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Vorona said moving forward Lutheran Disaster Response will “shift its major Ebola efforts from immediate response to primary attention to recovery needs.” <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; He said the ELCA will provide $146,500 to support the following programs&#58;<br>+Strengthening health systems in Liberia and Sierra Leone as an essential component of an ELCA long-term strategy<br>+Support to orphans and youth affected by Ebola in Liberia<br>+Promotion of proper hygiene and safe drinking water in Sierra Leone<br>+Income generation and job creation in Liberia and Sierra Leone<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Lutheran Disaster Response provides assistance to survivors of natural disasters and humanitarian crises throughout the world. This support is carried out, both domestically and internationally, in coordination with local affiliates – social ministry organizations, agencies, partners and international companion churches – located in the disaster-affected communities.</p><p>- - -<br><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America&#58;</strong><br>The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.8 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<br><span class="baec5a81-e4d6-4674-97f3-e9220f0136c1" style="white-space&#58;nowrap;">773-380-2877<a title="Call&#58; 773-380-2877" href="#" style="margin&#58;0px;border&#58;currentcolor;left&#58;0px;top&#58;0px;width&#58;16px;height&#58;16px;right&#58;0px;bottom&#58;0px;overflow&#58;hidden;vertical-align&#58;middle;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline;white-space&#58;nowrap;position&#58;static !important;"></a></span> or <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">http&#58;//www.ELCA.org/news</a> <br>Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a> <br>Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com</a></p></div>01/20/2015ELCA provides assistance for unaccompanied minorshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7719http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7719<div class="ExternalClass06C5B7DC205C49A8B1D398376ECC8FA4"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; ​CHICAGO (ELCA) – The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) provided nearly $400,000 in humanitarian assistance to help support ELCA partners who serve the thousands of unaccompanied minors coming to the United States from countries in Central America. The funds were disbursed through Lutheran Disaster Response to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and Lutheran Social Services of the South. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Although the number of children coming to this country has decreased, they are still coming. Our grants to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and Lutheran Social Services of the South will help address the unmet needs of the children that are not covered by the government, as well as help encourage congregations and individuals to also address these needs,” said the Rev. Michael Stadie, program director for the ELCA’s Lutheran Disaster Response U.S.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Based in Baltimore, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service works with the U.S. Office of Refugee Settlement to help place unaccompanied children in foster care. The ELCA funds will help provide for planning among Lutheran partners in the United States and Central America, training materials for potential foster families, the development of welcome centers offering hospitality and support to families and others released from immigration detention centers, advocacy and strategic communications and national coordination. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “One of the untold stories of what the media called the border crisis was that Lutherans were already on the scene. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and our partners have been helping unaccompanied children and families seeking refuge for decades,” said Linda Hartke, president of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “When the number of children and families (arriving in the United States) increased to unprecedented levels, we worked proactively to address programmatic and advocacy needs. The generous grant from ELCA's Lutheran Disaster Response enables Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service to extend critical protections and services and to engage more volunteers. Most of all, the grant demonstrates that Lutherans are in this for the long haul. If even one unaccompanied child is in need of refuge, we will be there,” said Hartke.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Lutheran Social Services of the South, based in Austin, Texas, provides emergency shelter for hundreds of unaccompanied children in south Texas each month. The activities supported by the ELCA funds include the expansion of emergency shelters, the first-year salary and expenses for a local project manager, administrative overhead and program management.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Lutheran Disaster Response and Lutheran Social Services of the South share a long history of partnership in service to those who are in need,” said Mark Minick, senior vice president for external relations for Lutheran Social Services of the South and Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “We are thankful to now expand and strengthen that partnership by providing healing and hope to children and families in new ways. Among other roles, this work together provides an on-the-ground presence to assist with volunteer needs and roles, organizing of resources and spiritual care activities, and collaboration and coordination of regional, national and international efforts of Lutheran partners and other response agencies,” said Minick. “We are grateful to Lutheran Disaster Response and the ELCA for the opportunity to positively impact the lives of God’s children, often coming from such dire circumstances.”&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; <br>- - -<br><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America&#58;</strong><br>The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.8 million members in nearly 10,000 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.<br>For information contact&#58;<br>Candice Hill Buchbinder<br><span class="baec5a81-e4d6-4674-97f3-e9220f0136c1" style="white-space&#58;nowrap;">773-380-2877<a title="Call&#58; 773-380-2877" href="#" style="margin&#58;0px;border&#58;currentcolor;left&#58;0px;top&#58;0px;width&#58;16px;height&#58;16px;right&#58;0px;bottom&#58;0px;overflow&#58;hidden;vertical-align&#58;middle;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline;white-space&#58;nowrap;position&#58;static !important;"></a></span> or <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">http&#58;//www.ELCA.org/news</a> <br>Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a> <br>Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com</a></p></div>01/13/2015Jody Horner named new president of Midland Universityhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7718http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7718<div class="ExternalClassE8483B5525954CFBA3A6BB801B29D25C"><p>​&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – Jody Horner will become the 16th president of Midland University in Fremont, Neb. The university’s board of directors announced its unanimous election of Horner Dec. 17.&#160; Midland is one of the ELCA’s 26 colleges and universities.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Horner is currently president of Cargill Meat Solutions and Cargill Case Ready, headquartered in Wichita, Kan. According to a university press release, Horner is a lifelong Lutheran who has served on the Board of Regents of St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., also an ELCA college.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Jody Horner brings the right gifts and experience to lead Midland University at this juncture,” said the Rev. Mark Wilhelm, ELCA program director for schools. “I welcome her to the community of ELCA college and university presidents, and I look forward to her contributions to strengthening our higher-education network.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; When Horner begins her duties Feb. 1, 2015, she will become the fifth woman to lead an ELCA university or college.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “While our list of candidates began at 200 – a number of them truly exceptional – Ms. Horner’s business acumen and commitment to service consistently rose to the top at each step of the process,” said Gary Perkins, Midland University chairman of the board, in a press release. “Jody Horner proved to be our top candidate, and the board is extraordinarily pleased we secured our first choice to lead this great institution.” <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Horner received a Bachelor of Arts in economics from St. Olaf College and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, Minneapolis. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; According to the university press release, Horner helped develop a new strategic plan for St. Olaf College and leads a task force exploring strategies to reduce student debt. A featured classroom speaker, she draws on previous experiences managing college recruiting at Cargill to find better methods to connect students with employers after graduation.&#160;</p><p>- - -<br><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America&#58;</strong><br>The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.8 million members in nearly 10,000 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.<br>For information contact&#58;<br>Candice Hill Buchbinder<br><span class="baec5a81-e4d6-4674-97f3-e9220f0136c1" style="white-space&#58;nowrap;">773-380-2877<a title="Call&#58; 773-380-2877" href="#" style="margin&#58;0px;border&#58;currentcolor;left&#58;0px;top&#58;0px;width&#58;16px;height&#58;16px;right&#58;0px;bottom&#58;0px;overflow&#58;hidden;vertical-align&#58;middle;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline;white-space&#58;nowrap;position&#58;static !important;"></a></span> or <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">http&#58;//www.ELCA.org/news</a> <br>Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a> <br>Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com</a><br></p></div>12/22/2014ELCA presiding bishop delivers Christmas messagehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7717http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7717<div class="ExternalClass1665AA3E01304EE6BB6682803A028B2F"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; ​CHICAGO (ELCA) – In her Christmas message, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), said “The hope of Christmas was fulfilled on Good Friday. The cross is part of Christmas.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton underscored the stress many feel during the Christmas season “to get everything perfect by the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve. We are filled with wistful longing. But what are we longing for?” asked Eaton.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “We long for peace, love and a place to belong. We want to know that someone cares. We want the assurance that all of this means something. And, we try to bring that all about in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “The hope of Christmas was fulfilled on Good Friday. The cross is part of Christmas,” said Eaton. “The cross is the Christmas gift, where all of our Christmas glorias are realized in Jesus’ glorification on the cross.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton’s Christmas message is available at <a href="http&#58;//bit.ly/1DRF7gY">http&#58;//bit.ly/1DRF7gY</a>.<br>- - -<br><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America&#58;</strong><br>The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.8 million members in nearly 10,000 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.<br>For information contact&#58;<br>Candice Hill Buchbinder<br><span class="baec5a81-e4d6-4674-97f3-e9220f0136c1" style="white-space&#58;nowrap;">773-380-2877<a title="Call&#58; 773-380-2877" href="#" style="margin&#58;0px;border&#58;currentcolor;left&#58;0px;top&#58;0px;width&#58;16px;height&#58;16px;right&#58;0px;bottom&#58;0px;overflow&#58;hidden;vertical-align&#58;middle;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline;white-space&#58;nowrap;position&#58;static !important;"></a></span> or <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">http&#58;//www.ELCA.org/news</a> <br>Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a> <br>Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com</a></p></div>12/22/2014ELCA members promote racial justice on Solidarity Sunday http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7715http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7715<div class="ExternalClass35C082D8FB7E4D0B85482BBAE66BC93B"><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) – In an effort to continue this church's commitment to racial justice, some congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) participated in Solidarity Sunday Dec. 14 with prayer and engagement with other denominations using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In a December letter to the ELCA Conference of Bishops, an advisory body of this church, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop, and the Rev. Leonard Bolick, bishop of the ELCA North Carolina Synod, shared an invitation from ecumenical partners – three senior bishops of Black Methodist churches – to participate in Solidarity Sunday. That participation included some ELCA pastors and members attending a march in Washington, D.C.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton and Bolick serve as chairs for the ELCA and African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church discourse. A 2011 Statement of Mission between both denominations &quot;reminds us that we 'believe it is time that our churches come together as communities of faith and to know each other in order that we might be more effective as people of God,'&quot; they wrote.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; On Solidarity Sunday, members of Calvary Lutheran Church in Minneapolis wore black as a symbol of solidarity.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;I wore a black academic gown with a stole to help draw attention to our solidarity. We also talked about racial justice and ways to be involved,&quot; said Calvary's pastor, the Rev. Bradley Froslee, who added that some members will also be attending a rally and vigil Dec. 20 at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. Froslee said the plan is to join others at the mall. He added, though, that &quot;the mall has issued a statement (that) because it's private property, people can be suspended from visiting the mall for one year.&quot; Despite the warning and because they are committed to the vigil and racial justice, Froslee said &quot;a handful of our members do plan to attend.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Members of Calvary Lutheran created a race equity team four years ago &quot;to look at how we address racism, White privilege and equity in our congregation and community. Minneapolis has one of the highest disparities in education, employment and general poverty, and we've been addressing that,&quot; said Froslee.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; As part of &quot;ongoing growth,&quot; Froslee said the race equity team continues to lead efforts and that in May 2015 he and his family will travel to South Africa for deeper study. The Rev. Sherman Hicks, an ELCA pastor, will serve as interim pastor of Calvary and &quot;work with the congregation on racial justice and how we continue to build bridges,&quot; Froslee said. &quot;Calvary has had a long history of ongoing commitments to looking at racial justice and reconciliation&quot; and members have learned from pastors who have served the congregation, including the Rev. Earleen Miller, the first African American woman pastor in the Lutheran Church of America – a predecessor church of the ELCA, he said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Following their Dec. 28 worship, members of Augsburg Lutheran Church in Baltimore plan to rally in front of their church building with other partners and &quot;express our voices in support of the struggle or movement that is happening across the country,&quot; said the Rev. Eric T. Campbell of Augsburg. &quot;We will come together wearing black on the front steps of Augsburg.&quot;<br>&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;&quot;The work of racial justice is about aligning the values for fair treatment for all, across all sectors of society with ongoing actions. Whether we are using our voices on social media, joining with others committed to work for justice, or marching in solidarity, it's important to acknowledge efforts happening both individually and collectively across the ELCA,&quot; said Judith Roberts, director for ELCA Racial Justice Ministries.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA's social statement, &quot;Freed in Christ&#58; Race, Ethnicity, and Culture&quot; is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Race-Ethnicity-and-Culture">http&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Race-Ethnicity-and-Culture</a> and the social statement, &quot;The Church and Criminal Justice&#58; Hearing the Cries&quot; at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Criminal-Justice#sthash.TyDhiqLD.dpuf">http&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Criminal-Justice#sthash.TyDhiqLD.dpuf</a>.<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 more than 3.8 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 email <a href="mailto&#58;Melissa.RamirezCooper@elca.org">Melissa.RamirezCooper@elca.org</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>12/19/2014