ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/Lutheran-Episcopal Coordinating Committee meets http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7830http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7830<div class="ExternalClass6B48F2805F884EA39A91B831B8F3EF4C"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – Members from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), joined their colleagues from The Episcopal Church for a meeting of the Lutheran-Episcopal Coordinating Committee in Marriottsville, Md., May 9-11. The committee is charged with encouraging and assisting efforts between the ELCA and The Episcopal Church as the two denominations live into their full communion relationship as described in &quot;Called to Common Mission,&quot; the 1999 document that describes this relationship.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; ELCA committee members include the Rev. Donald P. Kreiss, bishop of the ELCA Southeast Michigan Synod and Lutheran co-chair of the committee; the Rev. Claire S. Burkat, bishop of the ELCA Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod; the Rev. Lowell G. Almen, former ELCA secretary; Kathryn L. Johnson, ELCA director for ecumenical and inter-religious relations; Dr. Mitze M. Budde, Virginia Theological Seminary; and the Rev. Natalie Hall, pastor in residence at First English Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;The ELCA is enriched by all of its full communion relationships, and the gifts are enhanced because each of these relationships has its own distinctiveness,&quot; said Johnson. &quot;Thus it has been very important to have a coordinating committee for each relationship whose task is to help the partners live into the implications of being in full communion. These committees celebrate and correlate common work on all levels of the life of our churches and encourage us to go further in shared ministry and mission.&quot;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; During the meeting, the committee visited three local Lutheran-Episcopal ministries established during the last three years with the support of the ELCA Delaware-Maryland Synod and the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. These ministries include&#58; The Churches of the Nativity and Holy Comforter, an Episcopal-Lutheran community in Baltimore; Church on the Square in Canton, Md.; and The Slate Project, sponsored by First English Lutheran Church in Baltimore.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;The meeting was another important step on the journey for both our traditions,&quot; said Kreiss. &quot;We affirmed for each other the significant connections that already exist between local ministries and congregations and were excited by the shared ministries we visited in the Baltimore area. Fifteen years after 'Called to Common Mission,' the Lutheran-Episcopal Coordinating Committee is celebrating a shift in our focus – from working together to solve problems arising in this relationship to working together to advance the gospel by sharing leaders, gifts and resources.&quot;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The committee discussed a letter from the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission, the committee's partner in Canada. The letter encouraged the churches of the three full communion agreements to find ways to move into closer relationship. The agreements are those between Lutherans and Anglicans&#160;in the United States, Canada, and among churches of the Nordic countries and the British Isles.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Discussion also included the ongoing implementation of &quot;Called to Common Mission,&quot; the challenges and opportunities for joint ministries and how to support them, the creation of standard guidelines and a FAQ for churches considering joint ministries and how to make the resources more accessible<strong>.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </strong>The next committee meeting will be in Chicago, Feb. 8-10, 2017.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Full communion is not a merger between denominations. It is a relationship based on common confessing of the Christian faith and mutual recognition of Baptism and sharing of the Lord's Supper. The churches worship together and may exchange clergy.<br></p><p>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.</p><p><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;"><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877 or </font><a><font color="#000000">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</font></a><br> <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0000ff">http&#58;//www.ELCA.org/news</font></span></a><br><font color="#000000"> Facebook&#58; </font><a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0000ff">http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans</font></span></a><br><font color="#000000"> Living Lutheran&#58; </font><a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0000ff">http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com</font></span></a></span></span></p><p>​</p></div>05/18/2016Andrew Taylor elected bishop of ELCA Pacifica Synod http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7829http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7829<div class="ExternalClass318924874CEA4317A3BC0373319383DD"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – The Rev. Andrew Taylor, San Diego, was elected May 6 to a six-year term as bishop of the Pacifica Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election was held during the Synod Assembly May 5-7 at the Irvine Marriott Hotel in Irvine, Calif.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Taylor was elected on the fifth and final ballot with 174 votes to 165 votes for the Rev. David Nagler, pastor of Christ Lutheran in San Diego.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;I am humbled and honored that the people of the Pacifica Synod have elected me as their next bishop,&quot; Taylor said. &quot;I look forward to the challenge of walking with the congregations of Hawaii and Southern California as they reach out with God's love to each other, their neighborhoods and the world, and I pray that God will grant me all I need to be effective in this important role.&quot;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Taylor has served as senior pastor of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in San Diego since 1997. He was pastor of First Lutheran Church in Tulare, Calif., from 1992 to 1997.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The bishop-elect earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University in Long Beach in 1980 and a Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., in 1986. Luther is one of eight ELCA seminaries.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Rev. Murray D. Finck, current bishop of the ELCA Pacifica Synod, has served three six-year terms and will retire July 31.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Taylor will be installed as bishop Sunday, Oct. 23.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Information about the Pacifica Synod is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.pacificasynod.org/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">pacificasynod.org/</span></a>.</p><p>&#160;- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>​</p></div>05/17/2016Erik Gronberg elected bishop of ELCA Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Mission Area http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7828http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7828<div class="ExternalClass53E70C25F4404F9AB0F7F04F10D5B536"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – The Rev. Erik Gronberg, Fort Worth, Texas, was elected April 23 to a six-year term as bishop of the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Mission Area of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election was held during the synod assembly April 22-24 at the Sheraton Arlington Hotel in Arlington, Texas.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Gronberg was elected on the fifth and final ballot with 168 votes to 125 votes for the Rev. Jane Mar, bishop assistant for lifelong leadership formation of the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Mission Area.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;I am humbled and honored to receive this call from the people of Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana as they were guided by the Holy Spirit,&quot; Gronberg said. &quot;The Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Mission Area has a long history of focusing on leadership formation and mission, and I am excited to bring my experiences and passions to build upon that foundation.&quot;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Gronberg has served as senior pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Fort Worth since 2010. He was senior pastor of Dr. Martin Luther Church in Oconomowoc, Wis., from 2005 to 2010.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We live in an increasingly diverse and dynamic part of the country and, while that brings challenges, I believe we have great opportunity for mission and it is a very exciting time to be a Lutheran Christian,&quot; Gronberg said.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The bishop-elect earned a bachelor's degree in environmental science and public policy from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., in 1999 and a master of divinity degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., in 2005. Luther is one of eight ELCA seminaries. Currently, Gronberg is a doctoral candidate in leadership studies at Dallas Baptist University.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Rev. Kevin Kanouse has served as bishop of the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Mission Area since 2000. He will retire June 30.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Gronberg will be installed as bishop at First Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth on Sept. 17 at 10am. The bishop-elect said during his ministry he has increasingly observed that &quot;people are rejecting simplistic answers to deep questions of faith. In this time it is vital we form leaders in our local congregations who are focused on proclaiming Christ crucified and risen and who welcome questions, serve our neighbors and work for justice.&quot;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Information about the Northern Texas- Northern Louisiana Mission Area is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.ntnl.org/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.ntnl.org</span></a>.</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 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.</p><p><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14.66px;"><font color="#000000">For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877 or </font><a><font color="#000000" style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14.66px;">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</font></a><br> <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14.66px;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0000ff">http&#58;//www.ELCA.org/news</font></span></a><br><font color="#000000"> Facebook&#58; </font><a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14.66px;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0000ff">http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans</font></span></a><br><font color="#000000"> Living Lutheran&#58; </font><a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14.66px;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0000ff">http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com</font></span></a></span>​</p><p>&#160;</p><p>​</p></div>05/11/2016ELCA presiding bishop joins faith leaders at peace summit http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7827http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7827<div class="ExternalClassD901FCD4794245619E0A35684E5B577E"><p><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), joined leaders of Christian churches and church-related organizations from the United States and the Holy Land in Atlanta April 19-20 for &quot;Pursuing Peace and Strengthening Presence&#58; The Atlanta Summit of American and Palestinian Churches.&quot;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;</span><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">This first-ever gathering of American and Palestinian Christians in the United States focused on exploring the role of Christian churches in peacemaking in Israel-Palestine and helping strengthen the Christian presence in the Holy Land.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;</span><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">&quot;It was significant that a broad spectrum of Christian churches – Evangelicals to Orthodox, historic black denominations as well as mainline denominations – participated,&quot; said Eaton. &quot;This diverse coalition has more credibility than the usual alliances. The freedom of Palestine, the security of the state of Israel and the preservation of Arab Christianity in the Holy Land are not political issues for a few but a faith issue for many.&quot;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </span><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">Other representatives from the ELCA included the Rev. Rafael Malpica-Padilla, executive director, ELCA Global Mission; the Rev. Jeffrey Thiemann, CEO, Portico Benefits Services; and the Rev. Cindy Halmarson, area program director for Europe and the Middle East, ELCA Global Mission. The Rt. Rev. Dr. Munib Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, attended along with patriarchs and other heads of churches in Jerusalem.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </span><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">The event, held at the Carter Center, brought together about 100 leaders from diverse Christian denominations and organizations, including Catholic, Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, mainline Protestant and historic African American and Latino churches.&#160;Former President Jimmy Carter delivered the keynote speech during the final session.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </span><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">&quot;Bishop Younan and other leaders are calling for U.S. churches to strengthen the Christian presence in Palestine,&quot; said Halmarson. &quot;I hope this conference is the beginning of a broader and deeper coalition of U.S. church support to accompany Palestinians in pursuit of peace and strengthening Christian presence in the Holy Land.&quot;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </span><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">The ELCA, through its Peace Not Walls campaign, is working for peace and justice in the region through accompaniment, advocacy and awareness-building. Among other objectives, the effort connects ELCA members with Palestinian Lutheran companion churches in the region to promote healing and reconciliation.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </span><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">The goals of the Atlanta summit included drafting a summit document that articulates a comprehensive vision for the future of the Holy Land and its Christians, writing a letter to President Barack Obama that communicates this vision, and adopting a strategy for common witness by American and Palestinian churches.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </span><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">The summit document states&#58; &quot;We have come together for two days of prayer and open dialogue in a spirit of theological and ethical urgency for a just peace, and to express our ecumenical unity in action towards the end of occupation and a lasting political situation in the Holy Land. We honor the land that witnessed to the life and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ affirming his call to justice, peacemaking and to the ministry of justice and reconciliation.&quot;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </span><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">The document outlines issues that merit special attention in order to effectively promote peace with justice and advance the two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians. The points include&#58;</span></p><ul style="list-style-type&#58;disc;"><li><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">Develop more effective advocacy in the United States.</span></li><li><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">Educate members of congregations on the merits and necessity of a peace process that fulfills the rights of all people and nations in the region to live in security and peace.</span></li><li><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">Recognize, affirm and support the solidarity that is being demonstrated among some Christians, Jews and Muslims in addressing humanitarian needs, fighting poverty and fostering peace.</span></li><li><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">Designate a common day of prayer and reflections across churches in the U.S. and the Holy Land.</span></li></ul><p><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Following the Atlanta summit, Eaton and Younan joined Fouad Twal, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem; Suheil Dawani, archbishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem; and several other members of the Palestinian delegation in Washington, D.C., April 21-22. At the White House, the group delivered the letter addressed to Obama and a copy of the summit document. Meeting with Dr. Colin Kahl, assistant to the president and national security adviser to the vice president, and Yael Lempert, special assistant to the president and senior director for the Levant, Israel and Egypt at the National Security Council, the delegation highlighted the importance of education in the Holy Land, the need to fight extremism and radicalism, and Jerusalem's centrality to the peace process.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </span><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">The group also met with U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, congressional staff members and representatives of the State Department to discuss the outcomes of the summit.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </span><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">&quot;The Atlanta Summit was very significant in many respects but especially for its reaffirmation of the Palestinian Christian presence in the Holy Land and its call to revitalize advocacy efforts in the U.S. towards a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,&quot; said Dennis Frado, director, Lutheran Office for World Community, ELCA Global Mission. &quot;The delegation's follow-up visit to Washington was important to convey those messages to U.S. policy makers.&quot;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </span><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">The Atlanta Summit document is available at </span><a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Atlanta_Church_Summit_Document.pdf?_ga=1.122276939.1503715930.1461873236"><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Atlanta_Church_Summit_Document.pdf?_ga=1.122276939.1503715930.1461873236</span></a><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </span><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">More information about Peace Not Walls is available at </span><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Publicly-Engaged-Church/Peace-Not-Walls"><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">ELCA.org/Our-Work/Publicly-Engaged-Church/Peace-Not-Walls</span></a><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">.</span></p><p>&#160;</p><p><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;">- - -<br><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> <span style="font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,times,serif;">The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;14.66px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,times,serif;">&#160;</span><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,times,serif;"><font color="#000000">For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877 or </font><a><font color="#000000" style="font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,times,serif;font-size&#58;14.66px;">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</font></a><br> <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,times,serif;font-size&#58;14.66px;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0000ff">http&#58;//www.ELCA.org/news</font></span></a><br><font color="#000000"> Facebook&#58; </font><a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,times,serif;font-size&#58;14.66px;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0000ff">http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans</font></span></a><br><font color="#000000"> Living Lutheran&#58; </font><a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,times,serif;font-size&#58;14.66px;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0000ff">http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com</font></span></a></span><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,times,serif;">​</span><br>&#160;</span></p><p>​</p></div>05/03/2016ELCA invites members to consider future priorities and directionshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7826http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7826<div class="ExternalClassB01A56F851A54E50BF54A69BDA707137"><p>​&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – In anticipation of the 500<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has introduced &quot;Called Forward Together in Christ,&quot; an initiative that invites its 3.7 million members to consider what kind of church God is calling the ELCA to become.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Led by ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and endorsed by the ELCA Church Council and in collaboration with the ELCA Conference of Bishops, the initiative asks members to join in a conversation about the future priorities of the ELCA.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We're asking all of us to think together and to talk together about what our priorities are going to be so we can be as effective as possible in bringing people the good news of Jesus Christ,&quot; said Eaton in a video message.<br></p><p>The initiative has three main phases&#58;</p><ul style="list-style-type&#58;disc;"><li>Conversations across the church about the future</li><li>Consultations on the directions and priorities that emerge</li><li>Decisions as a church about where the ELCA is headed<br>&#160;</li></ul><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We need you to be involved in the conversation,&quot; said Eaton, emphasizing the importance for all members to participate. &quot;The more of us we can hear from, the more of us who are praying and listening to the Spirit, the more possible it will be for us to get a clearer picture and understanding of the future God is calling this church to.&quot;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Questions for congregations to consider include&#58; What are your hopes for the future of this church? Who would you like to see joining your congregation, and how might this happen? What are the two biggest challenges facing your congregation right now?<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Following this process, a statement of future directions and priorities will be considered by the ELCA Church Council at its November 2016 meeting. The goal is to launch the statement in 2017 as part of the ELCA's observance of the 500<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Reformation.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Information is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/future"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">ELCA.org/future</span></a>.</p><p>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.</p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877 or <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</span></a><br> <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.ELCA.org/news</span></a><br> Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans</span></a><br> Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com</span></a><br> <br></p></div>04/26/2016ELCA Church Council approves strategies to address theological educationhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7825http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7825<div class="ExternalClassBAAC36D7C8CC45B1855A3BC7A24E6A59"><p>​&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) approved recommendations and implementing strategies to help sustain theological education across this church when it met here April 7-10. The council, which serves as the ELCA's board of directors, also took action on a variety of matters designed to help move the church's mission and ministries forward.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Key among the recommendations put forward by the Theological Education Advisory Council (TEAC) was the creation of an advisory committee to the Church Council. A working group was created to develop implementing strategies for the TEAC recommendations. In its report, the working group charged the new advisory committee &quot;to sustain a robust network of theological education for the ELCA and to prioritize and to oversee the implementation of the TEAC recommendations.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Authorized by the ELCA Church Council in 2013, TEAC was established to address in a holistic way issues on theological education, leadership development, candidacy, call and rostered leaders.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We're taking a look at the need for theological education as well as the way we deliver theological education across this church,&quot; said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop, in her opening report to the council. &quot;The effort is for us to understand and recognize all the ways we deliver theological education and try to be more coordinated about it.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Introducing the working group's proposal to the council, the Rev. Dr. Robin J. Steinke, president of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., co-chair of TEAC and a member of the working group, described a leading question received during TEAC's work. &quot;Multiple times during every meeting we were asked this question – what does the mission of the gospel require of us to do in this time for the sake of the mission of the church?&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Presenting the proposed recommendation to establish an advisory committee, Steinke emphasized the Church Council's role in theological education. &quot;What we heard over the last 2½ years is this church has a stake in theological education for the sake of the future mission and ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ,&quot; Steinke said. &quot;And if that is true, then you all have a really important role in oversight.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Budget and Finance Committee, in addressing the funding implications of the TEAC recommendations, offered thanks to TEAC and the working group for their &quot;vision and contributions to our church as we seek to address in a holistic manner issues in leadership development, theological education, candidacy and call and the rosters of this church.&quot; The committee also acknowledged &quot;with thanksgiving the $15.7 million in FY15 churchwide funding in support of leadership priorities of this church including theological education and formation for current and emerging leaders.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In her report to the council, Eaton identified five major initiatives across the church. In addition to theological education, the initiatives include <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA,</em> Mission Support strategy, and becoming a multicultural church.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;If we want to become truly multicultural, we have to be honest about racial injustice in our church and in our nation. That's how we start,&quot; said Eaton. &quot;I think this is probably the most difficult and among the most critical things that we do as a church.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The fifth initiative – Called Forward Together in Christ – was approved by the Church Council at its November 2015 meeting. Led by Eaton and in collaboration with the ELCA Conference of Bishops, the process is designed to invite the 3.7 million members of the ELCA into conversations to provide ideas and feedback about the future directions and priorities of this church.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton told the council that by their approval the church will &quot;develop a process to take a look at our priorities and the future God is calling us to in this church and find ways together to listen to the Spirit.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; During the meeting, the council participated in facilitated conversations, sharing ideas about the future of the ELCA. At its November 2016 meeting, the council will consider and approve a statement to articulate and decide future directions and priorities for the church.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Church Council also voted to recommend action to the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly to approve the Accompany Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities (AMMPARO) strategy. AMMPARO is a commitment by the ELCA, as a church in the world, to accompany vulnerable children today and in the future. The strategy will respond to the situation in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala that has led to the migration of children and their families through Mexico into the United States.<br></p><p>In other business, the council&#58;</p><p>+ Received an invitation by The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) to study the significance of the Lutheran communion for the LWF member churches.</p><p>+ Recommended the following budget proposals for adoption by the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly&#58; current fund spending authorization of $65,296,005 for 2017; current fund income proposal of $64,057,220 for 2018 and $64,151,175 for 2019; ELCA World Hunger income proposal of $24,800,000 for 2017; $25,000,000 for 2018; and $25,000,000 for 2019.</p><p>+ Approved a revised 2016 fiscal year ELCA World Hunger spending authorization of $22,000,000. </p><p>+ Received a final report from ELCA Vice President Carlos Peña, who will not seek a third, six-year term. A new vice president will be elected at the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.</p><p>+ Adopted amendments to the ELCA constitution and bylaws that change the name of the Congregational and Synodical Mission unit to Domestic Mission unit.</p><p>+ Received the 2015 ELCA Churchwide Organization Operational Plan Report. </p><p>+ Recommended adoption of Rules of Organization and Procedure<em> </em>for the 2016 Churchwide Assembly. </p><p>&#160;+ Recommended action to the Churchwide Assembly to amend the ELCA constitution<em> </em>related to college corporation meetings. </p><p>&#160;+ Approved amended Policy and Procedures for Review of Liturgical Material. <br></p><p>+ Elected members to the board of directors of Luther Seminary, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and Trinity Lutheran Seminary; to the board of trustees of the ELCA Endowment Fund; and to the Committee of Hearing Officers.<br>&#160;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The council also received reports from the church's treasurer, secretary and executive for administration, and the ELCA Conference of Bishops. It received updates on <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em>, greetings from ecumenical partners and ethnic specific ministry associations, a primer on Federal Chaplaincy Ministry, and Church Council roles at the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.</p><p>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.</p><p>&#160;For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> <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"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</span></a><br> <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.ELCA.org/news</span></a><br> Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans</span></a><br> Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com</span></a><br> <br></p></div>04/15/2016