ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/ELCA presiding bishop offers prayer, hope in wake of Ferguson decisionhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7709http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7709<div class="ExternalClassF54F2F26F00345F5B968B35674EFB948"><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – In response to the St. Louis County grand jury decision Nov. 24 not to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), offered a word of prayer and hope.</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;As a nation, we are struggling with and divided by the decision. It has affected so many of us in so many different ways. We want the assurance that all of this means something. We want to know that someone cares. Has not God created all of us to have inherent dignity, value and worth?&quot; she wrote in a pastoral statement to the 3.8 million-member ELCA.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Despite the anger, violence and injustice connected with this sad and horrible tragedy, we should not abandon our hope or our neighbors. Let's join Michael Brown's father and call for peace. The reconciliation we have with God in Christ leads us to our neighbors with the hope that we can engage one another in a common cause.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We come together at the cross. It is our only hope. And, resting in the conviction that we are redeemed, we can begin the hard work of confronting the reality of systemic racism in our country. Because of the cross, we have peace; we have hope; we are loved. I join with you in prayer for the Brown family, Officer Wilson and his family, the prosecutor and his family, the grand jurors and their families, the community of Ferguson and all who work for justice and peace,&quot; Eaton said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; According to Judith Roberts, ELCA director for racial justice ministries, &quot;pursuing racial justice must be on-going deliberate work that changes policies and practices across all sectors of society. If we truly desire a just society, we must ensure every community has access to quality education, affordable homes, safe jobs, fair living wages and accountability within the criminal justice system.&quot; <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;When attitudes persist that some communities are less desirable, when the practice of racial profiling is the norm, implicit bias prevalent, a pervasive community distrust of law enforcement exist – there exists only frustration for the many voices that still feel unheard.&#160; There are actions we can take today to call for reform both at the state and federal level,&quot; said Roberts.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;ELCA members are encouraged to support long-standing civil rights organizations that fight to end racism and ensure justice for all and advocate for and support legislation that would end racial profiling,&quot; said Roberts. &quot;As a church of moral discernment, I would also lift up what we have said as a church, particularly in the ELCA social statement, 'The Church and Criminal Justice&#58; Hearing the Cries,'&quot; she said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Rev. Roger Gustafson, bishop of the ELCA Central States Synod, based in Kansas City, Mo., said that the announcement of the grand jury &quot;has angered some and pleased others, assured some of 'the system's' validity, and convinced others of 'the system's' corruption.&#160; People have taken to the streets – some to express frustration at this particular decision, others to pursue their own agendas – but none of those who have engaged in violence has honored Michael Brown or respected the wishes of his parents, who have called for calm and the peaceful pursuit of justice.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;During the three months of deliberation by the grand jury as to whether white police officer Darren Wilson should be charged in the death of black citizen Michael Brown, the emotions and reactions have flowed. Underneath the surface responses, however, people who are guided by the Gospel of Jesus Christ might suspect that deeper rhythms are at work,&quot; Gustafson wrote.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In a reflection, the Rev. Stephen Bouman, executive director of ELCA Congregational and Synodical Mission, expressed his sadness, particularly in the death of Michael Brown. &quot;His family is grieving. The death of young Black males by police still happens too often in our communities. I am sad that a rite of passage in young Black lives is to learn survival skills as they learn how to negotiate being out and about in the world and encounters with law enforcement,&quot; he said. &quot;My deepest sadness is for Michael's parents and family. May their child rest in the arms of our Good Shepherd.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The full text of the presiding bishop's message is available at <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Pastoral_Word_on_Ferguson.pdf">http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Pastoral_Word_on_Ferguson.pdf</a>; the ELCA's social statement, &quot;Freed in Christ&#58; Race, Ethnicity, and Culture&quot; 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>. The National Council of Churches of Christ statement regarding the grand jury's decision is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.nationalcouncilofchurches.us/news/2014-11fergusonnoindictment.php">http&#58;//www.nationalcouncilofchurches.us/news/2014-11fergusonnoindictment.php</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 <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>11/25/2014International women leaders discuss Lutheran identity, leadership http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7708http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7708<div class="ExternalClass06082AE154814947B0763E436E16B46D"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; ​CHICAGO (ELCA) – Women leaders from across the Global South discussed the role and contribution of women in church and society as part of an annual seminar supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) International Leaders–Women program. The seminar, which took place Oct. 26 - Nov. 1 in Wittenberg, Germany, hosted 13 women leaders from Mexico, India, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Madagascar, Palestine, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Serbia and Hungary. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Over the course of the event, the women read and discussed excerpts from Martin Luther’s writings, learned the stories of women of the Reformation including Katharina von Bora, wife of Martin Luther, and shared the experiences and contributions of women in each of the participants’ home country and church. Many of the women were paired with other leaders from their home countries (one established leader and one younger woman with leadership potential) to encourage continued mentoring and networking beyond the seminar. In addition to in-classroom discussion, the women visited the sites of Wittenberg, the grave of Katharina von Bora in Torgau, and a special exhibition titled “A Strong Women’s History&#58; 500 Years of Reformation” in Rochlitz.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “The Reformation women and the group we had together this week has strengthened my faith and given me hope that no matter what challenges we face, we can still move forward. There is hope and we believe one day we shall overcome,” said Eva Banda, a seminar participant from Malawi.&#160;&#160;&#160;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “I have discovered that we all have problems. When you are in your country, you might think other countries don’t have problems, but we all have problems. It has reminded me that Jesus came for the weak. Women are considered weak, but Jesus is here for us, and he will make us strong,” said Banda.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Rev. Martina Helmer-Pham Xuan, ELCA Global Mission regional representative in Europe, attended along with teaching staff Wanda Deifelt, professor of religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa; and Kathryn A. Kleinhans, Mike and Marge McCoy Family Distinguished Chair in Lutheran Heritage and Mission and professor of religion at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Luther and Wartburg are two of 26 ELCA colleges and universities.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “The seminar exceeded our expectations,” said Kleinhans. “I don’t know whether it was more inspiring to share the stories of 16th century women reformers or to hear the stories these 21st century women brought with them.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Through the International Leaders–Women priority of <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em>, up to 100 women from across the Global South will be given the opportunity to participate in the annual seminars over the next three years. The program will also develop more than 200 women leaders from the ELCA’s global companion churches through increased scholarship support and educational opportunities. In total, <em>The Campaign for the ELCA</em> aims to raise $4 million by Feb. 1, 2019, to support the International Leaders–Women program and its initiatives.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “The International Leaders–Women program is our opportunity as a church to invest in the future of women across the world,” shared Tammy Jackson, International Leadership Development program director, ELCA Global Mission. “The time has come for a strategic emphasis on the role of women in the life and development of the church and society and <em>The Campaign for the ELCA</em> is our moment to make that happen.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Information about <em>The Campaign for the ELCA </em>is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/campaign">www.ELCA.org/campaign</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 &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.<br>&#160;*Alix Matzke is marketing communications manager for The Campaign of the ELCA.<br>For information contact&#58;<br>Melissa Ramirez Cooper, Manager, Public Relations<br><span class="baec5a81-e4d6-4674-97f3-e9220f0136c1" style="white-space&#58;nowrap;">773-380-2956<a title="Call&#58; 773-380-2956" 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 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>11/24/2014ELCA bishops support Obama’s immigration reform announcementhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7707http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7707<div class="ExternalClassBDCFB3FA91994448A846DA0F8446B70A"><p>​&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Conference of Bishops released a statement Nov. 20 in support of President Obama’s announcement of immigration reform.&#160;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “The positive role of immigrants in our history, economy and our community is unmistakable. We support this compassionate first step toward reforming an immigration system that is flawed and requires many of our neighbors to live in the shadows in fear,” the statement said.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA Conference of Bishops is an advisory body of this church that includes 65 synod bishops, the presiding bishop and secretary. The Rev. Jessica R. Crist, bishop of the ELCA Montana Synod, chairs the conference.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In their statement, the bishops emphasized the ELCA’s support for comprehensive immigration reform that upholds family unity, respects the God-given dignity of every person and establishes a clear pathway to legal status and citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly approved resolutions designed to advocate for comprehensive federal immigration reform and support of the DREAM Act – legislation that provides a path for citizenship for undocumented youth.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “As people of faith and leaders of the church, we support public policy that protects children, reunites families, and cares for the most vulnerable, regardless of their place of birth,” the statement said.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “While today’s action addresses a pressing need, it does not provide a path to citizenship, establish policies that prioritize family unity, or create more efficient channels for entry of new migrant workers,” the bishops said. “Our hope is that congress will address these and related issues, including the practice of family detention, which undermines our values as a people of faith and a nation of welcome.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The bishops also emphasized the ministries in many ELCA congregations that help provide critical services to migrant populations, spread the word of welcome and advocate for fair and humane immigration reform.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Each day in our congregations and in our service to the community, we see the consequences of this broken immigration system&#58; separated families, children returning home to find their parents have been deported, and the exploitation of undocumented workers,” they said.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “By removing the threat of deportation for many people, we are showing compassion for people who have been here for years, working hard to provide for their families, obeying the law, and contributing to the fabric of our community.” <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “The treatment of immigrants is a core religious value,” the bishops said. “To welcome the stranger is to welcome a child of God. In the New Testament, Jesus tells us to welcome the stranger, for ‘just as you did it to one of the least of these … you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25&#58;40),” the statement said.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The bishops’ full statement is available at <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/ELCA_Bishops_Statement_on_Immigration_Anouncement.pdf">http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/ELCA_Bishops_Statement_on_Immigration_Anouncement.pdf</a>.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In 2009, the ELCA Church Council adopted “Toward Compassionate, Just and Wise Immigration Reform,” a social policy resolution on immigration. The resource is available at <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Immigration_ReformSPR09.pdf">http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Immigration_ReformSPR09.pdf</a>.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA social message on immigration is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Messages/Immigration">http&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Messages/Immigration</a>.<br>&#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>11/21/2014ELCA Church Council implements youth and young adult, disability ministries to campaignhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7706http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7706<div class="ExternalClassAC9B5DD4663A428D92C89F276396275A"><p>​&#160;<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;CHICAGO (ELCA) – The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) approved the implementation of this church's Disability Ministries and Youth and Young Adult programs into </span> <em style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">. Among its other actions, the council conferred the title of &quot;emeritus&quot; to the three former ELCA presiding bishops, elected a new member, considered budget matters, received updates, reports and more when it met here Nov. 7-10. The council serves as the ELCA's board of directors.</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The council received a &quot;Youth and Young Adult Case Statement&quot; that outlines the objectives for how the ELCA will raise and expend funds as part of the campaign to &quot;cultivate young leaders, lift up the importance of diversity and inclusion, and build a robust network of support for youth and young adults.&quot; The case statement also addresses allocation of current and endowed gifts designated to this campaign priority. The campaign goal for the initiative is $4 million.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In its action, the council thanked the youth, young adults and others who prepared the case statement and affirmed the statement's objectives. The resolution the council approved was an amended substitute motion that set a goal of $2 million for the creation of a permanent endowment to support youth and young adult ministries &quot;into the future,&quot; and it set a goal of $2 million in current fund gifts to support the program.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em> seeks to raise $198 million by Jan. 31, 2019, to help sustain and grow the ministries of this church. Approved by the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly and officially launched in February 2014, the nearly $200 million goal represents a 64 percent increase in designated funding.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Maren Hulden, a member of the Church Council from Minneapolis, said the council took the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly's action of recommending a youth and young adult ministries initiative to the campaign as &quot;a call to lift up the work of engaging youth and young adults as a top priority of this church.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We received a case statement put together by a group of stakeholders who consulted on how to best spend the money, which included many imaginative and creative ideas of ways funds raised could engage youth and young adults in this church,&quot; said Hulden. &quot;We wanted to put our support behind creating the capacity to undertake more of those efforts.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;One of the most exciting things about this to me is the energy for and commitment to youth and young adult ministries that the Church Council demonstrated in our extensive, lively and passionate discussion around this action,&quot; said Hulden in an interview. &quot;It was an exciting continuation of the energy at the Churchwide Assembly around youth and young adult ministry that is reflective of the commitment of this church to fully engage and include youth and young adults.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; As work on a case statement for Disability Ministries continues, the council moved to implement the program into the ELCA's comprehensive campaign and to &quot;encourage all expressions of this church to continue to consider ways to support the [campaign] in order for the ELCA to be better-positioned to do God's work in Jesus' name throughout the world for decades to come.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Through <em>The Campaign for the ELCA</em>, ELCA members are seeking to expand &quot;ministries with people living with disabilities to become an inclusive, whole community of faith by connecting and equipping members and congregations with the resources necessary to welcome all of God's people.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In other business, the council&#58;<br> + conferred the title of &quot;presiding bishop emeritus&quot; to the three former ELCA presiding bishops&#58; the Rev. Herbert W. Chilstrom, the Rev. H. George Anderson and the Rev. Mark S. Hanson. According to the Rev. W. Chris Boerger, ELCA secretary, the title will &quot;not create a new office.&quot;</p><p>+ held a conversation about the priorities of this church using an &quot;appreciative inquiry&quot; process led by the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop. In small groups, members of the council identified ministries the ELCA does well, areas in which there's &quot;room to grow&quot; and one item that &quot;we want to know.&quot; She also led this process with the ELCA Conference of Bishops when it met here in October. &quot;I am grateful that we can think together and imagine what God is calling this church to become,&quot; Eaton wrote in her report to the council.</p><p>+ approved a revised 2015 fiscal year current fund spending authorization of $69,650,020 and a revised 2015 fiscal year ELCA World Hunger spending authorization of $20,000,000.</p><p>+ acknowledged decisions from some of the ELCA's 65 synods to increase, maintain and/or decease the percentage of sharing of 2014 and 2015 Mission Support contributions (income from congregations shared with the ELCA's 65 synods and churchwide organization), and it thanked synod bishops and leaders &quot;as they strive to be faithful to shared commitments within the ELCA, and to direct synod and churchwide staff, including directors for evangelical mission, to deepen their partnership in efforts to strengthen financial support&quot; for this church.</p><p>+ approved the &quot;Private Prisons Social Criteria Investment Screen&quot; and amendments to the &quot;Environment Social Criteria Investment Screen,&quot; the &quot;Extractive Industries Issue Paper&quot; and the &quot;Military Weapons Social Criteria Investment Screen,&quot; and it affirmed the proposed succession plan in joint planning around corporate social responsibility work between the churchwide organization and Portico Benefit Services.</p><p>+ approved the amended ELCA churchwide organization personnel policies.</p><p>+ supported the special-needs retirement fund management committee's efforts to provide financial support for annuitants who are receiving at or near the minimum pension.</p><p>+ postponed until its November 2015 meeting a report and possible recommendations from the ELCA Theological Discernment Team regarding the feasibility of developing a social message on regenerative medicine, which includes, but not limited to, a range of stem-cell technologies.</p><p>+ held two &quot;committee of the whole&quot; discussions – one on the work of the Theological Education Advisory Council led by the advisory council co-chairs the Rev. Robin J. Steinke, president of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., and the Rev. Herman R. Yoos III, bishop of the ELCA South Carolina Synod; and a separate discussion on new congregational development led by the Rev. Ruben Duran, ELCA director for new congregations.</p><p>+ received an update by the Lutheran World Relief president and CEO, Ambassador Daniel Speckhard (rt.), who emphasized how financial support from the ELCA through programs such as Lutheran Disaster Response and the ELCA Malaria Campaign helps &quot;sustaining change happen in the lives of families&quot; around the world. Speckhard recognized the Rev. Jessica R. Crist, bishop of the ELCA Montana Synod and chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops, and &#160;&#160;presented her with the Lutheran World Relief's Champion award.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The council received reports from executive directors of the ELCA churchwide organization's three program units&#58;</p><p>+ the Rev. Stephen Bouman, executive director for ELCA Congregational and Synodical Mission, described the ELCA's work in responding to the thousands of unaccompanied children arriving in the United States. Bouman reported on a recent trip to Texas, where he and other ELCA leaders visited shelters operated by Lutheran Social Services of the South and learned more about the process for these children after they are detained. Bouman outlined some ways in which this church will continue to respond to this crisis, including advocacy and relationships among ELCA synods, congregations and Lutheran churches in Central America and Mexico.</p><p>+ the Rev. Rafael Malpica, executive director for ELCA global mission, shared examples of how global mission is &quot;moving us toward the church that is joining together across its expressions to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ here and around the world.&quot; Highlights included this church's engagement in Russia and China, the Young Adults in Global Mission program, and &quot;glocal&quot; mission gatherings, which provide ELCA members the opportunity to address global concerns at the local level. The report also emphasized the ELCA's effort to contain the Ebola outbreak in Africa in accompaniment with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sierra Leone and the Lutheran Church in Liberia.</p><p>+ received a report from Christina Jackson-Skelton, executive director for ELCA Mission Advancement, who offered &quot;bright spots&quot; in giving, which include an increase in ELCA Vision for Mission and new donors to churchwide ministries through ELCA Good Gifts. One area in which &quot;ELCA members and leaders may not be aware of is the amount of money that flows through the ELCA Foundation to support the wider ministries of this church – in 2013, it was $21 million,&quot; she told the council, adding that the total market value of the ELCA Endowment Fund Pooled Trust – Fund A is $555 million.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In her report to the council the Rev. Linda Norman, ELCA treasurer, shared that the churchwide organization's &quot;gross revenue is ahead of budget by 2 percent and that spending is at 92 percent of budget.&quot; ELCA Mission Support is on budget and tracking to achieve the $48 million income goal.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; More than 16 percent of the total campaign goal has been raised and &quot;half of the campaign (priorities) are on track to meet annual goals, bolstered by undesignated gifts,&quot; Norman said. Income for ELCA World Hunger is &quot;ahead of budget&quot; and the ELCA Malaria Campaign has now earned $13 million of its $15 million goal. ELCA members have contributed $3.3 million to Lutheran Disaster Response, she said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The council elected Vernon K. Veal, Bloomington, Ill., to serve on the council, and it elected members to serve on the ELCA audit committee and boards of the National Lutheran Campus Ministry Inc., Mosaic Inc., The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa. The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and Wartburg are two of eight ELCA seminaries.<br> - - -<br> <strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;</p><p>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 <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/tools/secure_emailer?a=TWVsaXNzYS5SYW1pcmV6Q29vcGVyQGVsY2Eub3Jn&amp;b=TmV3cw==&amp;subject=News&amp;body="> email </a><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>11/12/2014ELCA Malaria Campaign reaches $13 million milestonehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7705http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7705<div class="ExternalClass64D057023EEB43E18EDAB66EE5C1897D"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and others have contributed $13 million to the ELCA Malaria Campaign in their effort to raise $15 million by the end of 2015. Through the campaign, ELCA members have joined with companion Lutheran churches and partners in 13 African countries to prevent and treat malaria, educate communities about the disease and more.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Together, ELCA members and Lutherans in Africa are making malaria history,” said Jessica Nipp Hacker, ELCA Malaria Campaign coordinator. “Generous Lutherans have now given more than $13 million to the ELCA Malaria Campaign, putting us just $2 million shy of our ultimate fundraising goal of $15 million by the end of 2015. These generous gifts have funded Lutheran malaria programs that are now educating, providing critical resources and changing lives in 13 countries in Africa.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Rolled out by the 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the campaign supports programs that provide mosquito nets, insecticides, medication, health care, education and more. 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. Ninety percent of all malaria-related deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; ELCA members’ contributions have joined a global effort focusing on a reduction of malaria-related deaths. According to the World Health Organization’s World Malaria Report 2013, between 2000 and 2012, the malaria mortality rate was reduced by 45 percent globally and by 49 percent in Africa.&#160;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Rev. Jon Macumi, who leads a two-point Lutheran parish in Mishiha in the province of Cankuzo, Burundi, offered this prayer during an interview with members of the ELCA Malaria Campaign last spring&#58;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “God, most respected, we pray for the ELCA so that you keep strengthening it, and give them blessings for the work we are planning to accomplish together in this region. We thank you. And when we meet again, may we be healthy so that we can be grateful. In the name of Jesus Christ, our King. Amen.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “We are grateful for each and every one of these gifts – large and small – that have enabled communities in Africa to bring health and hope to countless households,” said Nipp Hacker. “Together, we can do more.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA Malaria Campaign is one of&#160;10 priorities of the ELCA’s five-year comprehensive campaign, <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA.</em> Approved by the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the campaign seeks to raise $198 million to help sustain and grow the ministries of this church.<br>&#160;Information about the ELCA Malaria Campaign is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/malaria">http&#58;//www.elca.org/malaria</a>.<br>- - -<br>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America&#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>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>11/04/2014ELCA presiding bishop says land occupation is counter-productive to peace, two-state solutionhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7704http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7704<div class="ExternalClass43F845A8081A4AA98AB796841424A349"><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) – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), commended the Obama administration for urging the Israeli government to &quot;reverse its recent declaration as 'state land' the estimated 988 acres in the Gush Etzion Jewish settlement bloc in the occupied West Bank.&quot;</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; As a denomination that &quot;calls for a cessation of all settlement activities and withdrawal from settlements on Palestinian territory to the 1967 boundaries,&quot; Eaton expressed hope that the administration &quot;will continue to pursue this reversal.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In her Oct. 22 letter to the U.S. president, Eaton noted that she shares the administration's concern regarding the Israeli government's &quot;reportedly recent move to advance the settlement planning process in the sensitive area of Givat Hamatos in East Jerusalem.&quot; She said the plan for the new neighborhood &quot;would cut the territorial continuity between the Palestinian neighborhoods in South Jerusalem and the future Palestinian state.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton also mentioned the recent occupation of six residential buildings in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem. This occupation &quot;is a provocative act that only serves to escalate tensions at a moment when those tensions have been high,&quot; Eaton wrote. &quot;This new occupation, the largest since 1991, could expand the settler presence by about 35 percent from the number of settlers currently in the area.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;It is deeply distressing to us that these kinds of action, which seek to create new 'facts on the ground,' continue unabated,&quot; Eaton wrote. &quot;Along with Jewish organizations like Peace Now and B'Tselem, we fully agree with your administration that such actions are counter-productive to achieving a comprehensive and sustainable peace based upon a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, where international human rights and humanitarian law are respected and upheld. … such actions reinforce despondency among the Palestinian people, limiting optimism that a political solution will be found.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton urged Obama to call all involved in the conflict to refrain from violent or provocative actions that &quot;could lead to more casualties and further exacerbate the existing barriers toward a return to negotiations and a just final status agreement that results in two viable, secure states living side-by-side in peace.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Grounded in hope, &quot;we pray that the current truce, following the recent war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, will hold so that hope might begin to be restored,&quot; the ELCA presiding bishop wrote, adding that it is imperative that, with the help of the international community, both Palestinians and Israeli leaders return to negotiations to &quot;identify and constructively address the underlying causes of continued tension, so that God's peace and justice will prevail.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The full text of Eaton's letter is available on the ELCA website at <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/ELCA_Letter_to_President_Obama_on_Israel_and_Palestine.pdf">http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/ELCA_Letter_to_President_Obama_on_Israel_and_Palestine.pdf</a>. The ELCA Strategy for Engagement in Israel and Palestine is 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>.<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 <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>10/24/2014