ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/ELCA Church Council meets under Future Directions 2025http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7923http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7923<div class="ExternalClass1A4401CA2AFD4E0CAA9CD798E3D312BE"><p>CHICAGO – The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) met at The Lutheran Center in Chicago April 5-8. The council, which serves as the ELCA's board of directors, convened under the framework of ELCA Future Directions 2025. </p><p>In her report, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton emphasized that the work of the churchwide organization, including that of the council, is guided by &quot;ways to live into and implement the five goals that we set as a church together in Future Directions 2025.&quot;</p><p>&quot;This church spent a good deal of time and invested in heartfelt conversation and prayerful conversation trying to discern what God has been calling us to do,&quot; said Eaton. &quot;As we look at those goals, how are they lived out, (how do they) enhance and support our two foci of vital congregations and leadership?&quot; she asked.</p><p>Eaton went on to say that the council will play a significant role in helping the church determine how to make vital congregations and leadership a priority and will also play a role in discovering ways to build on these efforts.</p><p>Related to the fifth goal of Future Directions 2025 that states &quot;a well-governed, connected and sustainable church,&quot; the council approved a proposal from the board development committee to create an ELCA governance policy manual. As a first step in the process – and to help build consensus around their shared understanding of roles and responsibilities – the council discussed ways to strengthen governance of the ELCA in order to provide for clarity in roles and authority, strong relationships and shared leadership, and a culture of willing accountability. It also appointed an ad hoc committee to oversee the development of an ELCA governance policy manual.</p><p>In further conversation around Future Directions 2025, the council continued a discussion on sustainability and church structures that began during the November 2017 meeting. &#160;</p><p>In other business, the council&#58;</p><ul dir="ltr" style="text-align&#58;left;"><li><p>received an introduction to a draft of the inter-religious policy statement by the inter- religious task force. A final statement for consideration by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly will be presented at the council's November 2018 meeting; </p></li><li><p>engaged in a discussion on gender identity and next steps in the council's decisions on existing gender-identity definitions and policies. The council was asked to study gender identity and review existing ELCA definitions and policies through a 2016 Churchwide Assembly memorial and a resolution on gender identity; </p></li><li><p>held a hearing on the draft social statement on women and justice. The proposed social statement will be presented to the council's April 2019 meeting for consideration by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly;</p></li><li><p>received a report of the Theological Education Advisory Committee;</p></li><li><p>affirmed the 2018-2019 operational plan of the churchwide organization;</p></li><li><p>approved the policy and procedure for the allocation of &quot;where needed most&quot; dollars in Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA;</p></li><li><p>voted to refer the proposed recommendations from the Entrance Rite Discernment Group to the Office of the Secretary for preliminary work on possible amendments to the constitution, bylaws and continuing resolutions. The council encouraged the group to share the report with the whole church and present final recommendations at the November 2018 meeting; <br></p></li><li><p>approved the creation of a task force of council members, churchwide organization staff and liaison bishops to consider a future ELCA campaign and a strategic focus on generating additional revenue for the church. The council also authorized the executive committee to appoint members to the task force. The task force will present a timeline at the council's November 2018 meeting and a report at the April 2019 meeting;</p></li><li><p>elected Sonja Wolfe, Kenosha, Wis., to the council for a term ending in 2022;</p></li><li><p>approved a council-designated fund of $2.75 million representing the excess revenue over expenses from fiscal year 2017 to be released to fund the post-retirement medical benefit obligations of the churchwide organization; and<br></p></li><li><p>approved the &quot;Political and Civil Human Rights&#58; Equal Access and Participation&quot; social criteria investment screen requested through a 2016 Churchwide Assembly memorial regarding &quot;justice for the Holy Land through responsible investment.&quot;</p></li></ul><p>The council also received<strong>&#58;</strong></p><ul><li><p>reports from the officers, its committees, the churchwide organization administrative team and the Conference of Bishops;</p></li><li><p>reports from the ELCA Ethnic Associations, including a follow-up on the Multi-Cultural Summit. The council also discussed how the voices of the ethnic associations can be more representative during council meetings;</p></li><li><p>updates on Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA; and<br></p></li><li><p>greetings from ecumenical partners.<br></p></li></ul><p>The council also shared congregational vitality learnings.</p><p>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million members in more than 9,400 worshiping communities 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> <br></p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br> &#160;</p><p>​</p></div>04/17/2018Earth Day statement from ELCA presiding bishophttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7922http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7922<div class="ExternalClass9698D9C533424FE8B4A5FA7023659C2A"><p>As members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), we share a deep love for all of God's creation and a profound responsibility for it. Made in the image of God, we are called to continue what God is already doing for the earth (Psalm 104), enabling it to flourish. God assigns humans to care for the earth as God does, in loving servanthood. (Philippians 2&#58;7, Genesis 2&#58;15).<a href="/elcanews/Lists/ELCA%20News/newItem.aspx#_edn1"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[i]</span></a>&#160;&#160; </p><p>Daily we witness the evidence of a rapidly changing climate. At the same time, we also witness in too many instances how the earth's natural beauty, a sign of God's wonderful creativity, is defiled by pollutants and waste, resulting in ecological crisis. As a member church of The Lutheran World Federation, we affirm &quot;that the global ecological crisis, including climate change is, human-induced. This is a spiritual matter. As people of faith, we are called to live in right relationship with creation and to not exhaust it.&quot;<a href="/elcanews/Lists/ELCA%20News/newItem.aspx#_edn2"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[ii]</span></a> </p><p>The effects of the warming climate are felt in nearly every corner of the globe. These include increased migration, food insecurity due to changing agricultural landscapes, national security issues and health problems. As bad as it is for all creation, the most vulnerable people around the world are suffering the most. Yet they have contributed the least and, as noted in the United Nation's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,<a href="/elcanews/Lists/ELCA%20News/newItem.aspx#_edn3"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[iii]</span></a> are ill equipped to adapt to or mitigate the effects of a changing climate to build resilient communities.</p><p>An honest and credible look at the increasing environmental degradation and climate change names the neglect, carelessness and wrongs of industry, civil society and global governmental leadership. It also recognizes how human beings individually and collectively worsen the attacks on God's creation. As a church, we must confess our frequent lack of urgency in addressing environmental degradation and slow action to address a changing climate. We also must pledge to acknowledge the intersections of racial and environmental injustices and strive to involve the voices of those most affected in the process. </p><p>In grateful response to God's grace in Jesus Christ, this church carries out its responsibility for the well-being of society and the environment. Our &quot;concern for the environment is shaped by the Word of God spoken in creation, the Love of God hanging on a cross, the Breath of God daily renewing the face of the earth.&quot;<a href="/elcanews/Lists/ELCA%20News/newItem.aspx#_edn4"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[iv]</span></a> Our concern is, then, propelled by hope and guided by principles of justice.<a href="/elcanews/Lists/ELCA%20News/newItem.aspx#_edn5"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[v]</span></a>&#160; We find our hope in the promise of God's own faithfulness to everything God has made. We seek justice for all of creation in concert with God's creative and renewing power. We do so understanding that we have the ability and responsibility to act together for the common good, especially for those who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.</p><p>As presiding bishop, I give thanks for all the ways this church embraces our common responsibility to care for all of God's creation. I call on us as individuals and congregations to continue efforts through stewardship, education and advocacy. I am reminded of the 2016 Churchwide Assembly resolution &#160;&quot;Towards a Responsible Energy Future,&quot; among others, that urges members of the ELCA and its related institutions to exemplify personal and institutional responsibility. Such efforts could include practicing energy conservation, congregational energy audits, purchasing more energy efficient appliances and vehicles, and investing in renewable energy systems. These resolutions also urge advocating at all levels of government for public policies that support clean, renewable energy sources.</p><p>The present moment is a critical and urgent one, filled with both challenge and opportunity to act as individuals, citizens, leaders and communities of faith in solidarity with God's good creation and in hope for our shared future. We claim God's promise in Revelation 21 for &quot;a new heaven and a new earth&quot; as we pray together&#58; </p><p>&quot;Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us coworkers in your creation. Give us wisdom and reverence to use the resources of nature so that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.&quot;<a href="/elcanews/Lists/ELCA%20News/newItem.aspx#_edn6"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[vi]</span></a></p><p>&#160;</p><p>In Christ, </p><p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<br> Presiding Bishop<br> Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</p><p><br></p><p><a href="/elcanews/Lists/ELCA%20News/newItem.aspx#_ednref1"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[i]</span></a> See ELCA social statement &quot;Caring for Creation&#58; Vision, Hope and Justice&quot; (1993), 1, 2. </p><p><a href="/elcanews/Lists/ELCA%20News/newItem.aspx#_ednref2"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[ii]</span></a> Lutheran World Federation Twelfth Assembly resolution.</p><p><a href="/elcanews/Lists/ELCA%20News/newItem.aspx#_ednref3"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[iii]</span></a> <a href="https&#58;//sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">https&#58;//sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld</span></a></p><p><a href="/elcanews/Lists/ELCA%20News/newItem.aspx#_ednref4"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[iv]</span></a> ELCA social statement, &quot;Caring for Creation&#58; Vision, Hope and Justice.&quot;</p><p><a href="/elcanews/Lists/ELCA%20News/newItem.aspx#_ednref5"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[v]</span></a> ELCA social statements identify these normative principles as participation, solidarity, sufficiency and sustainability. See &quot;Caring for Creation&#58; Vision, Hope and Justice&quot;<em> </em>and<em> </em>&quot;Genetics&#58; Faith, and Responsibility&quot; (2011).</p><p><a href="/elcanews/Lists/ELCA%20News/newItem.aspx#_ednref6"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[vi]</span></a> Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p. 80</p><p>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million members in more than 9,400 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</p><p>&#160;</p><p>​</p></div>04/16/2018ELCA presiding bishop issues pastoral statement on humanitarian situation in Syriahttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7921http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7921<div class="ExternalClassC448FBC1077443BEAD4E90DAAEEF039E"><p><em>&quot;Give God no rest&quot; (Isaiah 62&#58;6-7) until that day when &quot;the wolf and the lamb shall feed together. ... They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord&quot; (Isaiah 65&#58;25) </em>(ELCA social statement, &quot;For Peace in God's World&quot;).</p><p>In recent days we have witnessed, with additional horror, further atrocities in Syria in a conflict that has taken almost countless lives over the past seven years and displaced millions of Syrians and others.</p><p>Following the April 13 air strikes conducted by the armed forces of the United States, the United Kingdom and France, the president and the general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation issued a <a href="https&#58;//www.lutheranworld.org/news/lwf-pushes-peaceful-resolution-conflict-syria-and-respect-international-law"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">statement</span></a> that I encourage ELCA members to read and prayerfully consider. </p><p>Our church is responding to the needs of Syrian refugees and displaced people through the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), in coordination with ACT Alliance (formerly Action by Churches Together). The IOCC has been assisting those in need in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan to ensure food security, establish shelter, and provide better access to water and sanitation facilities, among other activities. LWF-Jordan is working with Syrian refugees and host communities in Amman, Mafraq, Irbid and in the Zaatari refugee camp, bolstering livelihoods through cash transfers and skills training in agriculture practices and improved technologies for vegetable production in home gardens to benefit malnourished children, pregnant and lactating women, and sick people. They are also providing psychosocial support, particularly among women. We plan to continue and intensify this work.</p><p>In the face of this ongoing humanitarian crisis, our nation also needs to open its arms again to receive Syrian refugees for resettlement in the United States. We will continue to work in ecumenical partnership as we pray, advocate and work to receive refugees.</p><p>Last, but not least, our government, as part of the international community, needs to redouble its efforts to work diligently for a diplomatic resolution of this conflict. As U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said earlier this weekend, &quot;There is no military solution to the crisis.&#160; The solution must be political.&quot;&#160; </p><p>&#160; </p><p>In Christ, </p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<br><p> Presiding Bishop<br> Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</p><p>&#160;</p> <font size="3"></font><font color="#000000"></font><font face="Times New Roman"></font><p><br></p><p>​</p></div>04/14/2018ELCA presiding bishop calls on church to work for racial justice http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7920http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7920<div class="ExternalClass5FD9F7E020454928938078F2A28C3C8A"><p>CHICAGO (April 6, 2018) – Following the &quot;Act Now&#58; Unite to End Racism&quot; rally in Washington, D.C., the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has issued a statement on racism, recommitting this church &quot;to work for racial justice and inclusion, to work against white privilege, and to be a church that truly welcomes all.&quot; The April 4 rally was held in commemoration of the 50<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.</p><p>Bishop Eaton's statement&#58;</p><p>In 2017, we observed the 500<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Reformation. In 500 years, Lutheranism has grown into a global movement. We worship in every language all over the world. There are now more Lutherans of color than there are European descent Lutherans. But here in the United States, Lutherans are predominantly white.</p><p>Lutherans came to this country in ethnic waves in the 18th and 19th centuries. English was not our first language; we kept to ourselves and were mostly outside of the predominant American culture. But Lutherans did share in the dominant culture in that we were mostly white and, therefore, had the privilege of not having to think or talk about the reality of racism in America.</p><p>We came to a tipping point in June 2015. There, in Charleston, S.C., a stranger walked into a Bible study at Mother Emmanuel and, after being welcomed by pastors and people, shot and killed nine. The martyrs of Mother Emmanuel. Two of those killed, the Rev. Clementa Pickney, pastor of Mother Emmanuel, and the Rev. Daniel Simmons, associate pastor, were graduates of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. The shooter, Dylann Roof, is a member of one of our (ELCA) congregations. One of our own shot and killed two who had adopted us as their own. All of a sudden, and for all of us in the ELCA, this was an intensely personal tragedy. Racism wasn't something outside of us; it was in us and had been all along.</p><p>It is a funny thing about being confronted by the truth – it can lead to transformation. Our bishop in South Carolina talked with his African Methodist Episcopal colleagues. The shock and grief of the massacre was still raw. But inaction was no longer an option. So congregations, ELCA and AME, started meeting together to share a meal, watch the film &quot;Selma&quot; and then talk about the reality of racism. The youth of our churches met together to share a meal, watch the film &quot;Remember the Titans&quot; and talk about the reality of racism. It is a small step, but it is a start.</p><p>We still have work to do. Within the ELCA, we have named the reality of institutional and structural racism. We have begun to pry Lutheran identity away from European descent identity. It is not culture and cuisine that define us but our common witness to the gospel. We recommit ourselves to work for racial justice and inclusion, to work against white privilege, and to be a church that truly welcomes all. We cannot do this work alone. We will work with ecumenical and interreligious partners. We will show up. We will speak up. We will act up.</p><p>The martyrs of Mother Emmanuel were not the first victims of violence. Martin Luther King Jr. was not the first victim of violence. Our only hope is in the innocent One who was violently killed on Good Friday, Emmanuel, God with us. He was wounded for our transgressions including the deadly sin of racism. But as he rose from the dead, we are able to rise up.<br>&#160;</p><p>In Christ, </p><p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<br> Presiding Bishop<br> Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</p><p>&#160;</p><p>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million members in more than 9,400 worshiping communities 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> <br></p><p>For information contact&#58;<br>Candice Hill Buchbinder<br>773-380-2877<br>Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</p><p>​</p></div>04/06/2018ELCA presiding bishop delivers Easter messagehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7919http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7919<div class="ExternalClass90C1F562F9D848DA8EDC6526A0A93060"><p><span style="margin&#58;0px;line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">CHICAGO – In her Easter message, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), reminds us that Jesus’ crucifixion is the death of our death. </font></span></p><p><span style="margin&#58;0px;line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoVtNJFL3-c"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0000ff">Listen</font></span></a><font color="#000000"> to Eaton’s message.</font></span></p><p><span style="margin&#58;0px;line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;">English PDF&#58; <a href="http&#58;//bit.ly/2GhnwlY" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-ft="&#123;&quot;tn&quot;&#58;&quot;-U&quot;&#125;" data-lynx-uri="https&#58;//l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fbit.ly%2F2GhnwlY&amp;h=ATMsIKsmXHzNmPVZ-zyXc6TAX-Z-JYAT6N_QuK2QTgpdooiRLA6qEMAfpxxKWYkd8FpRFWDtjyxgYFWrY0nKy32y2aWSMvBHKUyedqZ9EqISFUXinGw17hI" data-lynx-mode="origin"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0066cc">http&#58;//bit.ly/2GhnwlY</font></span></a> | Spanish PDF&#58; <a href="http&#58;//bit.ly/2unhS0i" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-ft="&#123;&quot;tn&quot;&#58;&quot;-U&quot;&#125;" data-lynx-uri="https&#58;//l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fbit.ly%2F2unhS0i&amp;h=ATPtTcu6CQTJrKaBMUosJ7W7xpvKoIY-2ZccfbqYIOdm0s9enWnMC-6JihnmndJCO8hq0bMQ3dwMpCegrceKQH__lo7MdR4C_Abc73T0sYCJXxLNoNpSXW0" data-lynx-mode="origin"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0066cc">http&#58;//bit.ly/2unhS0i</font></span></a></span>​</p></div>03/27/2018The Campaign for the ELCA enters final year with $144 million – 73 percent of goal – raisedhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7918http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7918<div class="ExternalClassF5E51CD1D7AD45C5BAF776E975B6A1C4"><p>CHICAGO -- Entering its fifth scheduled year, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) first comprehensive campaign, <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em>, is celebrating $144 million in cash gifts and gift commitments, representing 73 percent of the five-year, $198 million goal by Jan. 31, 2019. In addition, $30.5 million in planned gifts is committed to the ministries of the campaign.</p><p>&quot;Through this first-ever campaign, we made a commitment to invest in the future of the ELCA – and working together to do so. Something we learned and saw with the Malaria Campaign is that every gift counts,&quot; said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop. &quot;It is so important for us to do this together, because together, we can do more. Together, we are deepening our relationships and expanding ministries that serve our neighbors and communities here at home and around the globe.&quot;<br></p><p>Featuring four priorities – Congregations, Hunger and Poverty, Leadership and Global Church – the campaign offers ELCA members the opportunity to invest in the future of this church, enabling programs that share a bold message of God's grace to the world both today and for many years to come. This year's emphasis is on the Leadership priority, including ELCA Fund for Leaders and Youth and Young Adults.</p><p>Since the campaign's launch four years ago, gifts to these priorities have made an impact here at home and around the world, including&#58;<br></p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Young Adults in Global Mission opened four new country programs – Rwanda, Cambodia, Australia and Senegal – with 93 young adults sent into service during the 2017/2018 year, representing a nearly 48 percent growth since 2014.<br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In January, the ELCA Fund for Leaders reached its five-year $15 million goal within the campaign, providing more than 520 students with seminary scholarships. While the initial fundraising goal was met, continued support is needed to achieve the program's long-range goal of providing full-tuition support for every candidate at an ELCA seminary. <br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; With more than $21.5 million contributed in a 12-month span, 2017 was the largest year of direct giving to ELCA World Hunger in the program's history – a 15 percent increase in annual giving since the campaign began. With this support, 518 projects that help fight hunger in 62 countries, including the United States, are continuing or being implemented. <br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The campaign's Renewing Congregations initiative reached the $1 million mark, allowing for the implementation of 26 grants across the ELCA, including 16 Synodical Renewing Congregations strategies, six Area Ministry strategies and four Fast Growth Congregations initiatives. <br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Above and beyond the monies raised for the campaign, ELCA members continued to respond generously to numerous disasters in 2017, contributing an additional $23 million in support of this lifesaving work. In total, $41 million has been raised for Lutheran Disaster Response during the life of the campaign.</p><p>&quot;The Lord has blessed this campaign. We have accomplished so much together. Yet, there is more work to be done,&quot; said the Rev. Ron Glusenkamp, director for the campaign. &quot;We have a goal, which we plan on meeting and surpassing by Jan. 31, 2019. We're inviting individuals, congregations, synods and our partners to join us as we rally and make additional gifts to these life-giving ministries.&quot;</p><p>This year, the campaign is looking to the future of the church with the Leadership priority. Through this priority, the ELCA is accompanying youth and young adults in their faith journeys and supporting talented, gifted students as they prepare to begin a life of ministry.</p><p>&quot;The ELCA Fund for Leaders is investing in the future of the church by supporting outstanding leaders as they answer the call of service to this church and the world,&quot; said the Rev. Gabi Aelabouni, director of ELCA Fund for Leaders. &quot;The Holy Spirit continues to call people with the gifts and passion for transformational leadership. Excellent leaders positively impact the whole church, and the ELCA Fund for Leaders is our commitment that they will be supported in their decision.&quot;</p><p>&quot;The ELCA is dedicated to ministries that engage and affirm children, youth and youth adults as an integral part of this church, now and in the future,&quot; added Mark Burkhardt, director of the ELCA Domestic Mission unit's faith formation team. &quot;<em>The Campaign for the ELCA</em> seeks to provide significant new opportunities for youth and young adults to participate in ministry, develop their leadership skills and pursue their vocational calling as Christians in the world.&quot;</p><p>In addition to its emphasis on the Leadership priority, the campaign is focused on&#58;<br></p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Reaching the $115 million goal for ELCA World Hunger, including supporting and lifting up efforts like the <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/40days"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">40 Days of Giving</span></a> and the Global Farm Challenge as part of the upcoming ELCA Youth Gathering. <br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Continuing to accompany our neighbors from around the world through the Global Church priority. Earlier this month, the ELCA commemorated International Women's Day with a <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/international-women-leaders?_ga=2.201167405.2094699947.1521037705-2002159783.1515097456"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">$100,000 match</span></a> for gifts to the International Women Leaders initiative.<br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Advancing congregational vitality, as well as enhancing ministries with those with disabilities.</p><p>Information about <em>The Campaign for the ELCA</em> is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/campaign"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">ELCA.org/campaign</span></a>.<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 more than 3.5 million members in more than 9,400 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br> &#160;</p><p>​</p></div>03/20/2018