ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/ELCA, Moravian Church observe 15th anniversary of full communion agreementhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7768http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7768<div class="ExternalClass21D7F513D20F4743A456635D0BF1C48F"><p>​&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – This year marks the 15th anniversary of the full communion agreement between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Moravian Church in America. The agreement was adopted by the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in 1999 and subsequently by the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church in America the following year. The full communion agreement is outlined in the document, “Following Our Shepherd to Full Communion.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “It has been a privilege and a joy to be part of a growing love for one another as sisters and brothers in Christ, and a growing desire to follow our Shepherd together as we journey in full communion,” said Kathryn M. Lohre, executive for ELCA ecumenical and inter-religious relations.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Together with the Rev. Chris Thore of the Southern Province of the Moravian Church in America, Lohre is a member the Lutheran-Moravian Coordinating Committee, which held its annual meeting July 27-29 at the Moravian Summer Camp and Retreat Center in Laurel Ridge, N.C. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “On the sacred ground of the mountain, we were able to look back on our shared history and also to look forward together to where God is calling us in the next 15 years and beyond,” said Lohre. “We give thanks to God for the many gifts which have brought this partnership to the place it is today and to all those that will nurture, sustain and grow it into the future.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Our Moravian forbearers would be pleased to see the results of the Lutheran-Moravian Coordinating Committee’s work over the past 15 years and would anticipate with great joy the work that we look forward to in the years ahead,” said the Rev. Kelly Moore, co-chair of the Lutheran-Moravian Coordinating Committee and co-pastor at Fries Memorial Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, N.C.<br>&#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>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; One example of the Lutheran-Moravian joint ministry can be found in Wilmington, N.C., where the Rev. Rachel Connelly, an ELCA pastor, serves two congregations – Water of Life Lutheran Church and Covenant Moravian Church.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “I have seen the Lutheran-Moravian partnership open lines of communication that led the way to deeper relationships and subsequently prompted leaders to put aside uncertainty about doing ministry together. The results have been joyous and impressive,” said the Rev. Samuel R. Zeiser, bishop of the ELCA Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod and a member of the coordinating committee.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In addition to the Moravian Church in America, the ELCA is in full communion with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), the Reformed Church in America, the United Church of Christ, The Episcopal Church and The United Methodist Church. <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>07/31/2015ELCA presiding bishop to hold live webcast on confronting racismhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7767http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7767<div class="ExternalClass7D5C9BBF8C054EBEB7EC56B85F0AB835"><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160;</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">CHICAGO (ELCA) – </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">In an effort to continue understanding the complexity and implications of racism, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), invites the 3.8 million member church to participate in a live webcast Aug. 6 at 8 p.m. (CDT).</span></p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; William B. Horne II, a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Clearwater, Fla., and a member of the ELCA Church Council, will serve as host. Eaton and Horne will have an on-camera conversation about the church's efforts in defining and confronting racism, advancing racial justice and more.<br><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>&quot;Talking about race and racism is hard w</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">ork for most of us,&quot; said Horne. &quot;Our Christian witness compels us to confront our sinfulness in all forms from within and outside of ourselves. It is more beneficial if we do it tog</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">ether.&quot;<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>Eaton said the webcast conversation serves in part as &quot;a call to acti</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">on&quot; to guide members' efforts to address &quot;the sin of racism.&quot;<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>&quot;We are part of the body of Christ, and we belong to each other. As part of the body of Christ, we need to examine how we live in relationship with one another,&quot; said Eaton.<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>​In several public statements, the ELCA presiding bishop has called for deep conversations about racism and racial justice, particularly in response to several events across the United States, including Charleston, S.C; Baltimore; and Ferguson, Mo.<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>​&quot;God's intention for all humanity is that we see the intrinsic worth, dignity and value of all people. Racism undermines the promise of community and fractures authentic relationships with one another. We need to talk and we need to listen, but we also need to act,&quot; Eaton said in a June 24 statement.<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>​&quot;Each of us and all of us need to examine ourselves, our church and our communities. We need to be honest about the reality of racism within us and around us,&quot; said Eaton in a June 18 statement in response to the shooting in Charleston that killed nine people. Local authorities called the killings racially motivated.</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Information about the webcast is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/webcast">www.ELCA.org/webcast</a>, where a link to the live webcast will be embedded. A live stream also will be available at <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">www.Facebook.com/Lutherans</a>. Twitter handle is #ELCAConfrontRacism. ELCA members are invited to submit a question to be considered during the live webcast at <a href="mailto&#58;livinglutheran@elca.org">livinglutheran@elca.org</a>.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton's public statements are available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Resources/Presiding-Bishop-Messages">http&#58;//www.elca.org/Resources/Presiding-Bishop-Messages</a>.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA's social statement &quot;Freed in Christ&#58; Race, Ethnicity, and Culture&quot; is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Race-Ethnicity-and-Culture">www.ELCA.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Race-Ethnicity-and-Culture</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><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Melissa Ramirez Cooper<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Associate Director, ELCA Publications and Public Relations<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">773-380-2956 or Melissa.RamirezCooper@ELCA.org</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">​<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><br>Candice Hill Buchbinder<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">ELCA Public Relations Media Specialist<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">773-380-2877 or </span><a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">http&#58;//www.ELCA.org/news</a><br><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Facebook&#58; </span><a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Living Lutheran&#58; </span><a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com</a><br></p></div>07/23/2015ELCA youth rise up to help residents of Detroit http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7766http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7766<div class="ExternalClass047F389B0ADC4F80BD4D0F07D0FE20AB"><p>​&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – Participants of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Youth Gathering held in Detroit July 15-19 responded to the event’s theme “Rise Up Together” by taking part in neighborhood service projects throughout the Detroit metro area.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The projects included helping clean up neighborhoods and boarding up abandoned houses, creating community gardens, painting and cleaning schools and community centers, packaging food into family-sized portions for distribution and helping install mosaics on the backstops at a neighborhood baseball field.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The youth and adults at the Gathering also collected nearly one million diapers to help kick-start the city’s diaper bank. Starfish Family Services helped manage the collection and has partnered with 37 agencies that provide early childhood care in Detroit. Starfish will also distribute diapers to families.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In preparation for each ELCA Youth Gathering, participants are asked to make in-kind donations of non-perishable items that are needed in the host city.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In addition to addressing the need of Detroit residents, the youth and adults at the Gathering also learned about global needs, such as clean water. In response, the ELCA World Hunger’s Walk for Water exhibit raised more than $402,000 during the event. The exhibit at Detroit’s Cobo Center simulated the experience of women in Sub-Saharan Africa who walk an average of three miles each day to get water for their families.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Held every three years, ELCA Youth Gatherings brings tens of thousands of youth, adult leaders, volunteers and other Lutherans from around the world for leadership development, faith formation, service opportunities and more. The 2018 Gathering will be in Houston. The location was announced at the closing worship July 19 at Detroit’s Ford Field.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In her sermon at the closing worship, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton told those assembled that there are “thin spaces … where we come into those places that are out of our normal elements and somehow the supernatural seems to be a normal thing to happen.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “I think that happened to us this week,” Eaton said. “We were taken out of our normal places wherever they were across this country and the Caribbean and we were set down here in Detroit, and we were just ready – ready to see what was going to happen. The spirit could come in because we didn’t have our defenses up.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton recounted the day’s Gospel reading from Mark 6&#58; 30-44 and said the crowds that came to Jesus for healing understood that he was not just “some super healer with super powers. Instead this was the living God, the God incarnate, God in the flesh, God with us, who would, to complete his mission, be broken on the cross and by that death and resurrection we have justice. The world has been reconciled; we have our peace.” <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton emphasized to the gathering that “Jesus is more than just a miracle worker or a justice worker, because if that were all he was, all the stuff that we’ve been doing this week, and what I hope you will continue back in your hometowns, would be for nothing.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “The work that we do catching up with where God has already reconciled the world to God’s self is not always going to be perky and upbeat and fun,” she said. “There’s a lot that’s going to be difficult. There will be a lot of times when we feel that we’re not making any change, but we’ve got to trust and believe that the change has been made. And that resting in that confidence, resting in the crucified and risen Christ, we might know true joy.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The presiding bishop closed her sermon by posing a question to those gathered, asking whether they would still find that joy when faced with difficult decisions once they return home.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Now here’s the thing brothers and sisters&#58; can we sing hallelujah particularly and especially when it gets hard, when we’re weary and we think we can’t do this anymore?” asked Eaton. “When we’re in the company of friends or classmates or coworkers and they start in with some racial slur, can we still have the strength to say, ‘No, that’s a child of God. We won’t talk that way.’ Can we be busy in our communities when people think, ‘Well, you’re just a bunch of do-gooders. You don’t realize how the world really works.’ And when we’re weary from helping people who have food insecurity or people who don’t have homes or when we try to talk to our town councils or even our congregations and say we’ve got to get busy, can we still sing hallelujah?” asked Eaton.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Heidi Hagstrom, who is leaving her position as director of the ELCA Youth Gathering, was recognized during the closing worship for her years of service to the event. Hagstrom, who has served as director since 2009​​​​​, is leaving her position to participate in the Theological Education for Emerging Ministries program at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. Wartburg is one of eight ELCA seminaries. Hagstrom will serve in the ELCA Southwestern Minnesota Synod.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “When you came to this community, we rejoiced to receive you in this ministry,” said Eaton. “In this community of faith, you have heard the preaching of God’s word, which reveals God’s loving purpose for you and all creation. God has blessed you in this community, and God has blessed us with you through your ministry and presence among us.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Molly Beck Dean, the new director for the ELCA Youth Gathering, was installed during the service.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In an encore appearance, Natasha T. Miller, a spoken-word poet from Detroit, recited a poem that she wrote for the closing worship.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “You are something bigger, you are part of something bigger, me who lost my brother from the streets, you who lost your aunt to cancer, and you who lost your faith in the fire of your life, we have to know that all of our scars create a road map that leads us to our own resurrection.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “We are never lost, just discovering new paths. We know that death is a part of life, suicide don’t cure depression, judgment is for the weak, and we, we are strong and in it even when we are alone together. Thank you ELCA, you have been amazing. Thank you,” said Miller.</p><p>- - -<br><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America&#58;</strong><br>The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.8 million members in nearly 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God's work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.<br>For information contact&#58;<br>Candice Hill Buchbinder<br><span class="baec5a81-e4d6-4674-97f3-e9220f0136c1" style="white-space&#58;nowrap;">773-380-2877<a title="Call&#58; 773-380-2877" href="#" style="margin&#58;0px;border&#58;currentcolor;left&#58;0px;top&#58;0px;width&#58;16px;height&#58;16px;right&#58;0px;bottom&#58;0px;overflow&#58;hidden;vertical-align&#58;middle;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline;white-space&#58;nowrap;"></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>07/22/2015ELCA members describe life-changing Youth Gathering http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7765http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7765<div class="ExternalClass18ACA0DC861A4DD59D7A4F7FE79FA423"><p>​&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; DETROIT (ELCA) – Life-changing, amazing, unimaginable, and impactful are some of the words members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) used to describe their experience during the ELCA Youth Gathering meeting here July 15-19.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “I’ve been looking forward to this week since the last day of the 2012 Youth Gathering in New Orleans,” said Joe Risdall, a member of Lifehouse Church in Northridge, Calif. “It’s such a great time and such a great atmosphere for all the Lutherans around the country and all over the world to come together to have a great time and learn about Christ.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; About 30,000 youth, adult leaders, volunteers and other Lutherans from around the world are gathered here under the theme “Rise Up Together.” The event provides leadership development, faith formation, service opportunities and more. ELCA Youth Gatherings are held every three years.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Inspirational is how Kayla Wiesneski, from Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Menomonee Falls, Wis., described her Gathering experience.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “The week has made me stronger and made me open my eyes to the problems in the world,” said Wiesneski. “I did the Walk for Water and it was really difficult. It’s inhumane that people have to go through all of that for water.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The gathering’s Walk for Water effort is hosted by ELCA’s World Hunger at the Cobo Center. The walk simulates the experience of women in Sub-Saharan Africa who walk an average of three miles each day to fetch water for their families. Other activities at the center included painting plywood boards that will be used to board up abandoned homes in Detroit.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “The theme of my board is love,” said Taylor Amundson from Messiah Lutheran in North Mankato, Minn. “We’re drawing hearts all over this tree … we’re going to bring love to Detroit.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Amundson said eye-opening is how she would describe the Gathering. “Just being here opens my eyes, makes my faith stronger.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Jesse Andersen, from Lifehouse Church, said he hopes the Gathering leaves the city of Detroit “with a peace of mind because, although they struggle, there are very strong people here. I can see that and feel that in the environment.” Andersen described the event as impactful.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Madelynne O’Callaghan, from Trinity Lutheran in Midland, Mich., said the Gathering has been a life-changing experience. She reflected on the Lutheran Disaster Response exhibit at the Cobo Center.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “You got to be immersed in the whole experience of being a refugee. I hadn’t really gotten that point of view. I had the point of view of volunteers and helpers, so now I feel like I have a better understanding. It puts into perspective what other people are going through and makes you want to help them a lot more,” said O’Callaghan.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “I always like taking them out of the Midland community so they can get a bigger idea of what God’s kingdom is and all the different people that make up the kingdom of God,” said &#160; Jordan Palladino, Trinity’s youth ministry director, who described the event as eye-opening. “I love any chance they get to see other believers working across the world, of what we can do to impact God’s kingdom – not just in [the] Midland community and not just in our lives but on a global scale – and opening their eyes to that is something I love to do and have a passion for,” he said.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; A significant aspect of the ELCA Youth Gathering is community service projects throughout the city of Detroit. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “I love our church so much,” said Andrea Sova from Trinity, who also described the week as life-changing. “We’re not only helping out in the community with work and physical stuff, but I think we’re also spreading our faith.” <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Even though they’re having hard times through all this stuff, it’s still a really pretty city from what I’ve seen,” said Alyssa Anderson from Our Savior’s Lutheran in Austin, Minn., who used the word fun to describe the event. “It’s a really nice city. I hope it gives them faith and hope and shows them that they are loved whether they are religious or not.” <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Nick Mittelsteadt from Cross of Christ Lutheran in Welch, Minn., also used the word “fun” to describe his experience. He said that one of the highlights of the Gathering are the evening Main Stage events at Ford Field.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “I’ve had a lot of fun and basically at the end of the day when we go to Ford Field I just like feeling all the emotion – it makes your heart tingle. It’s really awesome and a lot of fun.” <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>07/18/2015ELCA members to meet in Atlanta for Worship Jubilee http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7764http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7764<div class="ExternalClass9D2B9C47E659496FBEA9519BAFDD8245"><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">​&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </span><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">CHICAGO (ELCA) – Gathering under the theme “Called to be a Living Voice,” members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will meet in Atlanta July 19-23 for the ELCA Worship Jubilee and the biennial conference of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “One of the gifts of this event is it offers an opportunity for people to truly share their voice, to share who they are as a Lutheran Christian in their own specific way. But to do it by collaborating&#160;with brothers and sisters you have never even met,” said the Rev. Kevin L. Strickland, ELCA director for worship.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; According to Scott Weidler, ELCA program director for worship, the event theme includes three components that will help shape the week’s events&#58; vocation, reformation and mission. He said the first focuses on “Martin Luther’s understanding of vocation, especially because it’s the part of the week that’s specifically designed for the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, which is about the vocation of the church musician.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Weidler said the focus on reformation is two-fold, helping members prepare for the observance of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, as well as providing avenues to consider the ongoing reformation and explore how God is calling the church today.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “One of the underlying goals is to help congregations start thinking now about appropriate ways to observe that anniversary in their congregations and in their synods and areas,” said Weidler, who emphasized that mission, the third component of the theme, “is at the heart of all worship.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Worship of the triune God is the very center of our life together as Christians,” said the Rev. H. Julian Gordy, bishop of the ELCA Southeastern Synod, Atlanta. “It’s fitting that we should gather from time to time to look at how well our worship points the community to God and to our neighbors as a living voice of the good news we share in Jesus. We welcome the ELCA Worship Jubilee to Atlanta and look forward to introducing participants to our vibrant city and its historic places of worship.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Worship Jubilee will offer a diversity of worship experiences held at Atlanta’s&#160; churches. On Tuesday, July 21, participants will choose from among three evening worship locations&#58; Central Presbyterian Church, the House of Rock – an emergent community out of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer -- and Ebenezer Baptist Church where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his father, the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., both served as pastors.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; A music and arts event will be held Wednesday, July 22, at Atlanta’s historic Peachtree Road United Methodist Church. “The Church’s Journey in Art and Song” will feature chant and praise songs, German chorales and English hymns, contemporary gospel and American folk as well as songs from Asia, Africa and Latin America. The event will begin at 7 p.m. EDT. A live-stream of the event will be available at <a href="http&#58;//www.livingvoice2015.org/">www.LivingVoice2015.org</a> beginning at 6&#58;45 p.m.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “We might worship differently, it might look and sound different, but the core is the same, and we can still be church together,” said Weidler. “That’s a huge emphasis that we’re trying to put forward and participants will see it in the worship life of the event.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Participants will also have the opportunity to attend sessions and workshops led by prominent musicians and worship leaders from a variety of faith backgrounds. ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton, along with the ELCA’s Strickland and Martin Seltz, publisher for worship, music and congregational life for Augsburg Fortress in Minneapolis, will lead a discussion based on Eaton’s four emphases for the ELCA&#58; “We are church, we are Lutheran, we are church together, and we are church for the sake of the world.” Reflecting on this session, members will break into small groups to respond to questions about the observance of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the future of worship in this church. Augsburg Fortress is the publishing ministry of the ELCA.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Other event speakers include&#58; the Rev. R. Guy Erwin, bishop of the ELCA Southwest California Synod; James Abbington, associate professor of church music and worship at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta; Maggi Dawn, an ordained priest in the Church of England, composer of contemporary songs and hymns and a professor of performative theology and theology and poetry at Yale; and the Rev. Jan Michael Joncas, a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, who is artist in residence and a research fellow in Catholic studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “I look forward to great experiences of worshiping together, thinking deeply together about what God is up to and what we are up to in worship, and reflecting on our worship practices in Atlanta,” said the Rev. Jon V. Anderson, bishop of the ELCA Southwestern Minnesota Synod who is attending the event. “We are called to be stewards of the gospel. What happens in our communal worship life is one of the key places that stewardship unfolds.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Scholarships to the event were awarded to 28 ELCA seminarians. Peter Carlson Schattauer, who is preparing to start a pastoral internship at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Seattle, said he hopes the events will help him “learn about the ways in which our gatherings in communal worship can and should call us to be a living voice.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “As a seminarian, this call to be a living voice is central to my call and my understanding of the church's work in the world,” said Schattauer. “As we come upon the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the theme recalls for me the way in which worship is meant to form, re-form, and transform our lives for mission in the world. In our past, our present, and our future, worship is the place where we particularly encounter our living God who forms, re-forms and transforms us to be that living voice. It is the place where God forms us to speak a word of truth to the powerful and a word of comfort to the powerless.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; A delegation from The Lutheran World Federation will also attend events in Atlanta. Representatives are members of the International Worship Planning Committee for the communion’s 2017 assembly in Namibia. The Lutheran World Federation is a global communion of 145 churches representing more than 72 million Christians in 79 countries. The ELCA is the communion's only member church from the United States.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “We celebrate Luther's central emphasis that we are saved by grace through faith,” said Stephen M. Larson, coordinator for The Lutheran World Federation’s International Worship Planning Committee. “Our hope is to listen and learn as we enter into the worship life of the Jubilee. What experiences from ELCA worship life can come to life in the Namibian context in 2017? What new anthem will voice our praise, what (song of mourning) or kyrie will accompany our sorrow?” said Larson. “‘Called to be a Living Voice’ reminds us that reformation isn't ancient history. It's on-going and perpetual.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; More information about the ELCA Worship Jubilee is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.livingvoice2015.org/">www.livingvoice2015.org/</a>. Information about the observance of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca500.org/">www.ELCA500.org</a>.</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">- - -<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.</span></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 </span>or <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">www.ELCA.org/news</a><br>Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br>Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">www.livinglutheran.com</a></p></div>07/16/2015ELCA youth build relationships with Detroit residentshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7763http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7763<div class="ExternalClass9DB866A037E1487DBC33137D56E3B68C"><p></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">DETROIT (ELCA) – Wearing their orange T-shirts and dancing to live music, which reverberated in the streets of downtown Detroit, thousands of youth and adult participants of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Youth Gathering gathered July 16 at Hart Plaza. They gathered here before boarding buses lined-up for a mile-long, stretching from</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">the Cobo Center to the Joe Louis Arena, to depart for their service work further into the city.</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; About 30,000 ELCA youth, adults, volunteers and other Lutherans from around the world are gathering here July 15-19 for leadership development, faith formation, service opportunities and more under the theme &quot;Rise Up Together.&quot; ELCA Youth Gatherings are held every three years.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; A significant part of ELCA Youth Gatherings is service work, which offers an opportunity for ELCA youth to meet and serve alongside Detroit residents. The value of 30,000 Lutherans, each working an average of four hours per day for three days in community service projects and benefiting local restaurants and businesses, is estimated to generate millions of dollars in revenue for the city, according to Heidi Hagstrom, director of the ELCA Youth Gathering.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Abby Stromswold and Damia Siebenahler, youth members of Zion Lutheran Church in Lake Crystal, Minn., will participate in service work this week. &quot;With 30,000 people at the Youth Gathering, we could make a major impact on the city,&quot; said Stromswold, adding that she's looking forward to &quot;meeting new people and gathering together&quot; as church.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We want to help Detroit,&quot; said Siebenahler, who is also looking forward to building relationships with local residents.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; For LaTonya Dalton, a resident in the Osborn community of Detroit, the service work from ELCA youth will have a lasting impact in the community. Youth will be cleaning vacant lots and boarding up 49 abandoned homes and properties, covering a nine-block radius, she said.<br><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>&quot;As people lost their jobs and moved out of the community, as well as other activities in the area that (prompted) people to move out quickly, remaining area residents have not been able to clean up. The (exodus) of people happened so quickly that we couldn't keep up. Landlords didn't care for their properties, and the city could not conduct the maintenance,&quot; said Dalton.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We also have an elementary school on Waltham Street and another elementary school nearby with 900 students, so the board-ups and maintenance will help ensure the safety of our children who walk to school,&quot; said Dalton. &quot;We are so excited that ELCA youth are here. It's just the greatest thing. And we're confident that, with their work, we will be able to maintain the community surroundings from now on.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; About 225 ELCA youth worked in the Osborne community July 16.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Stephanie Geniac, program manager for the youth and nutrition program at Gleaners Community Food Bank, said the work of ELCA youth has the potential to feed 4,000 people in southeastern Michigan.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; According to Geniac, ELCA youth will be packing produce and date-sorting cereal boxes gathered from a recent cereal drive organized by the food bank. Once sorted, youth will package food for distribution by 60 mobile units that will service about 150 families.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In addition to sorting and packaging food, &quot;we're also working to build hunger and nutrition awareness, so that (ELCA youth) will understand why and who they are helping,&quot; said Geniac. &quot;Packaging one pound of food will feed one person. If we can package 4,000 pounds of food that could feed 4,000 people.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; At the ELCA Youth Gathering's opening program July 15 at Ford Field, speaker Mikka McCracken told the youth that it is possible to end poverty and hunger &quot;and that the church plays an important role.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Hunger is not caused by scarcity. Hunger is caused by inequality,&quot; said McCracken, who is program director for ELCA World Hunger in Chicago.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Members of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Stevens Point, Wis., have been collecting spare change to support ELCA World Hunger every Sunday for the past five years. They raised $13,000. Sydney Karch, a high school student from Redeemer attending the ELCA Youth Gathering, submitted a check of $5,330 on behalf of the congregation to support the gathering's &quot;Walk for Water&quot; effort hosted by ELCA World Hunger at the Cobo Center.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;I was in sixth grade class that started this project,&quot; said Karch. &quot;It's been amazing to watch it grow and develop over time, and it meant a lot to me to be the one to give the check today. I'm really proud of our congregation and to be a part of this,&quot; she said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Redeemer's pastor, the Rev. Anne Edison-Albright, said she &quot;loves being reminded every Sunday&quot; that Redeemer is connected to the larger church and the world. &quot;We always say, 'small change can make a big change,'&quot; said Edison-Albright.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton and the Rev. Donald P. Kreiss, bishop of the ELCA Southeast Michigan Synod based in Detroit, opened the gathering. Dr. Luke A. Powery, dean of Duke University Chapel and associate professor of the practice of homiletics at Duke Divinity School, was a speaker, and musical performances were led by Chris Clay, Royal Tailor and others.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; For more information about the ELCA Youth Gathering, visit <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Gathering">www.ELCA.org/Gathering</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<br> Associate Director, ELCA Publications and Public Relations<br> 773-380-2956 or <a href="mailto&#58;Melissa.RamirezCooper@ELCA.org">Melissa.RamirezCooper@ELCA.org</a><br> <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">www.ELCA.org/news</a><br> Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br> Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">www.livinglutheran.com</a> </p></div>07/16/2015