ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/ELCA young adults begin year-long journey of global servicehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7695http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7695<div class="ExternalClassE5FE08E221F44A82948264FEEF5FF239"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – Sixty-three young adults from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have begun a year-long journey in which they will “live and learn and serve” with ELCA companion churches and partner organizations around the world. The young adults are participants in the ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Mission program – an international mission opportunity for young people from the ages of 21 to 29. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “The Young Adults in Global Mission program is, for me, among the clearest examples of why it matters that we are church together,” said the Rev. Heidi Torgerson-Martinez, program director for the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission.&#160;<br>&#160;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Our Young Adults in Global Mission volunteers often find themselves deeply humbled by the ways that the ELCA rises up around them as they prepare to deploy for service. Through financial gifts, prayers, letters from Sunday school (students) at a church they’d never heard of, and a thousand other acts of faithful kindness, ELCA synods, congregations and members are wrapping our Young Adults in Global Mission volunteers in support,” said Torgerson-Martinez.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Young Adults in Global Mission program started in 1999, with eight young adults who volunteered in the United Kingdom. Since then, almost 500 young adults have traveled to locations that include Africa, Asia, Mexico, the Middle East and South America, where they volunteer 35 to 40 hours a week at a variety of placement sites including churches, schools and hospitals.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “In my faith thus far in my life, I have had moments where I feel a nudge to do something,” said Joseph Young, a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Waukegan, Ill., who is currently serving in Mexico. “I am always thinking what more can I be doing with my life? How can I contribute to the world? I believe that all of us have a moral obligation to make the world a better place.” </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160; Although the young adult volunteers assist with the work of ELCA companions churches and organizations in the countries where they serve, what they gain from the experience is often much more valuable.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Our Young Adults in Global Mission volunteers do, without question, provide critical service in communities around the world. But what they share and receive through their experience is so much deeper than simply traveling to another country to help out,” said Torgerson-Martinez. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “At its core, the Young Adults in Global Mission experience is about learning to live in deep mutual relationship with others from whom the Young Adult in Global Mission volunteer is very different,” Torgerson-Martinez emphasized. “It’s about discovering what it means to hold less tightly to Western ideas of success, progress and development, and instead lean into one’s own vulnerability. It’s about seeking and finding the face of God in people and places where most would never think to look. It’s about learning how to follow Jesus, whose life and ministry were characterized by radical relationships of love,” she said.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Sarah Brock, from Zion Lutheran Church in Litchfield, Minn., is one of six young adults serving in Rwanda, where the program is in its first year. The Lutheran Church in Rwanda was established by refugees who returned to Rwanda from Tanzania where they fled to escape the genocide that killed more than 1 million people in 1994. In her Aug. 26 blog post, Brock describes meeting the congregation at Kigali Lutheran Parish.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “We didn’t look like everyone else. We didn’t speak like everyone else. We were far from home. But we didn’t feel out of place. ‘We have been waiting for you,’ said one of the men of the congregation as he shook my hand,” wrote Brock.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Brock went on to describe the words of welcome from the Rev. Evariste Mugabo, bishop of the Lutheran Church in Rwanda. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “He told the congregation that we had left our parents, so now they needed to be our parents. He told the youth that many of us had left behind brothers and sisters, so now they needed to be our brothers and sisters. Looking at us he said, ‘We will be your parents, your pastors, your bishop.’ As he continued his sermon, he talked about unity. He shared his excitement about building this relationship between the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Lutheran Church of Rwanda. He addressed the six of us directly and urged us to work hard so that our time here would be a testimony to the future of this relationship,” Brock wrote.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “These (ELCA) global companions are truly stepping out in faith when they say ‘yes’ to welcoming a group of young Westerners into their midst,” said Torgerson-Martinez. “They give so freely of themselves and model a kind of hospitality that most of our Young Adults in Global Mission had never dreamed possible. Simply put, the Young Adults in Global Mission program would not be possible were it not for each of us – here and around the world – living into the call to be church together.” &#160;</p><p>- - -<br><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America&#58;</strong><br>The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God's work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.<br>For information contact&#58;<br>Candice Hill Buchbinder<br><span class="baec5a81-e4d6-4674-97f3-e9220f0136c1" style="white-space&#58;nowrap;">773-380-2877<a title="Call&#58; 773-380-2877" href="#" style="margin&#58;0px;border&#58;currentcolor;left&#58;0px;top&#58;0px;width&#58;16px;height&#58;16px;right&#58;0px;bottom&#58;0px;overflow&#58;hidden;vertical-align&#58;middle;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline;white-space&#58;nowrap;position&#58;static !important;"></a></span> or <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">http&#58;//www.ELCA.org/news</a><br>Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br>Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com</a><br></p><p>​</p></div>09/05/2014ELCA campaign nears $25 million markhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7694http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7694<div class="ExternalClassF121D846998141148040A0E852D67272"><p>​&#160;<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;CHICAGO (ELCA) – The Evangelica</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">l Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is celebrating the first six months of its five-year, comprehensive campaign, </span><em style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">, with nearly $25 million raised. The amount as of July 31, 2014, includes $12.6 million for the ELCA Malaria Campaign, which is part of </span><em style="line-height&#58;1.6;">The Campaign for the ELCA</em><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">, and represents approximately 12 percent of the campaign's total goal of $198 million by Jan. 31, 2019. Approved by the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the campaign seeks to raise funds to sustain and grow the ministries of the ELCA.&#160;</span></p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;People are responding to the call to give generously; they want this church and campaign to succeed,&quot; said the Rev. Ron Glusenkamp, director for the campaign. Glusenkamp joined the campaign team in mid-June. Prior to this role, he was senior pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Cherry Hills Village, Colo. &quot;We're hearing from individuals, families and congregations who want to do more, together, in Jesus' name.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Making up $12.6 million of the current campaign gifts is support for the ELCA Malaria Campaign. Initiated by the 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the ELCA Malaria Campaign seeks to raise $15 million by the end of 2015. Through the campaign, ELCA members have joined with companion Lutheran churches and partners in 13 African countries to prevent and treat malaria, educate communities about the disease and more.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Lutherans from across the ELCA have already demonstrated great generosity through their support of programs working to make malaria history. I know as we all come together around <em>The Campaign for the ELCA</em>, members and congregations will continue that spirit of generosity through their support of other ELCA ministries,&quot; said Jessica Nipp Hacker, ELCA Malaria Campaign coordinator. &quot;Through the ELCA Malaria Campaign, we have seen the impact we can make in the world when we work together.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In addition to the nearly $25 million in current gifts for <em>The</em> <em>Campaign for the ELCA</em>, another $4.8 million is pledged in commitments toward the campaign's goal of $198 million. With an added $1.9 million in planned gifts, $31.5 million has been committed toward campaign priorities.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;One of my favorite pieces of scripture, in all four gospels, is the story of the five loaves and two fish. Jesus receives the offering of the young boy, which the disciples question the value of, and blessed it, broke it and shared it, so that all were fed. The same is true for the campaign; Jesus is blessing what is given. With God's help, we will grow and go in our ability to meet our ministry goals,&quot; said Glusenkamp.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Through several featured priorities, <em>The Campaign for the ELCA</em> seeks to&#58;</p><ul><li>Increase the ELCA's capacity to support congregational renewal and the planting of new congregations</li><li>Form and support new lay, ordained and global leaders for mission</li><li>Encourage and form lay youth and young adult leaders</li><li>Support disability ministries</li><li>Bolster the commitment to walk with global companion churches in shared witness</li><li>Expand efforts to address poverty and hunger<br><br>Information about <em>The Campaign for the ELCA</em> is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/campaign">www.ELCA.org/campaign</a>.</li></ul><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 about 4 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>&#160;*Alix Matze is marketing communications manager for <em>The</em>&#160;<em>Campaign of the ELCA</em>.</p><p>For information contact&#58;<br><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">M</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">elissa Ramirez Cooper, Manager, Public Relation</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">s<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">773-380-2956 or </span><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/tools/secure_emailer?a=TWVsaXNzYS5SYW1pcmV6Q29vcGVyQGVsY2Eub3Jn&amp;b=TmV3cw==&amp;subject=News&amp;body=" style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> email&#160;</a><br><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">ELCA News&#58; </span><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">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;">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;">www.livinglutheran.com</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"></span></p></div>09/04/2014ELCA offers prayers for those affected by California earthquakehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7693http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7693<div class="ExternalClass5351FCA3969248649F456D3F007A9634"><p>​&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) offers prayers for all those affected by the Aug. 24 earthquake that struck near Napa, Calif.&#160;&#160; <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “The thoughts and prayers of the Lutheran Disaster Response network are with those injured and affected by the earthquake,” said the Rev. Michael Stadie, program director for Lutheran Disaster Response. “We are monitoring the situation and standing by to provide help to the impacted communities as they begin the process of recovery.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The magnitude 6.0 earthquake injured almost 200 people and caused extensive damage to homes and businesses in Napa Valley. No deaths were reported. The earthquake was the largest to strike the Bay Area of California since a magnitude 6.9 earthquake in 1989. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Napa Valley Lutheran Church in Napa, Calif., is the only ELCA congregation in the area that has reported receiving damage in the earthquake. The Rev. Julie Webb, associate pastor, said she is aware of only one minor injury among her members and that a small group still gathered for worship Sunday morning.&#160;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Some (members) couldn't get cars out of garages buried in fallen storage items. A few who were able to get out after the 3&#58;20 a.m. quake gathered sleepily, but gratefully, for worship in the morning and stayed to clean up,” said Webb.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Folks spent all day yesterday putting things back and sweeping up. It was heartening to hear about Lutherans who went right out on their own initiative to check on neighbors and other Lutherans. ‘God's work. Our hands,’” she said, describing the concern members had for one another.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Webb said she and other church administrators “will need to spend some time with building inspectors and insurance agents in the coming days to evaluate damage to the building.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Along with some interesting cracks in the nave, it looks like we sustained significant damage to the church’s trademark blue-cross tower – the one our Jewish neighbors from Congregation Beth Shalom (have used) when giving directions to their synagogue before they started meeting in our building last year. Rabbi Lee Bycel has already reached out to me to see how they can help us. Since their new building is almost finished, we are sure of having a place to meet if our building needs work.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Lutheran Social Services of Northern California is on standby, ready to deploy once disaster teams complete their damage assessment.&#160; <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Lutheran Social Services (of Northern California) stands ready to respond as the community begins the long-term process of rebuilding,” said Carol Roberts, chief executive officer of Lutheran Social Services of Northern California. <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 about 4 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>08/25/2014Psalm speaks to unrest in Iraq, ELCA leader sayshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7692http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7692<div class="ExternalClass18525207B30945C79478553678FAD812"><p> <span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;CHICAGO (ELCA) – As the 4 million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) gathers for Sunday worship Aug. 17 and shares in the reading of Psalm 133, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of this church, said the Psalm &quot;reminds us of the goodness and blessing of a life lived in unity with one another.&quot;</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In an Aug. 15 letter to the church, Eaton wrote that Psalm 133 generally is &quot;an encouraging Psalm, at a time such as this, when the world seems anything but unified, these words may feel more jarring than inspiring. This is especially so now as news from Iraq continues to worsen.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; About 150,000 people have &quot;recently fled their homes in the wake of attacks from Islamic state militants and their allies. While reports indicate that the immediate threat to many of these precious lives was abated by the delivery of food and water aid, an estimated 300 people, many of them children, still perished from exposure, dehydration and starvation. Reports of attacks, atrocities and human-rights abuses, often targeted at religious minorities and other vulnerable groups cause, our hearts to cry out in lamentation rather than in the hope that this week's Psalm celebrates,&quot; she wrote.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The continued violence in part of Iraq &quot;has put at grave risk the already tenuous security situation of the entire country and diminishes the ability of Iraq's new government to lead with a strong vision of national solidarity and peace,&quot; said the presiding bishop.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Our hearts are heavy with sorrow and concern as we further mourn the violence that has come to typify the news we hear from Iraq. Many of us served or have family or friends who served as U.S. military or security personnel in Iraq or are Iraqis ourselves and are now a part of U.S. communities. The proximity of Iraq in our experience as American Christians heightens our awareness of the continued suffering and increases the depth of our distress and grief.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In what &quot;seems like an endless stream of bad news, the Holy Spirit leads us to ponder these words of the Psalmist&#58; 'How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity,'&quot; Eaton wrote.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Perhaps this Psalm, in this week when the world seems splintered and on the brink of rupture, speaks to us with special encouragement and whispers an enduring word of hope,&quot; she wrote. &quot;Our hearts may cry out in mourning, but God fills us with a desire to follow the words of the Psalmist as we pray for peace and unity. Indeed, how very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The full text of the ELCA presiding bishop's letter is available at <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Iraq_Statement.pdf">http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Iraq_Statement.pdf</a>.<br> - - -<br> About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.</p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Melissa Ramirez Cooper, Manager, Public Relations<br> 773-380-2956 or <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/tools/secure_emailer?a=TWVsaXNzYS5SYW1pcmV6Q29vcGVyQGVsY2Eub3Jn&amp;b=TmV3cw==&amp;subject=News&amp;body="> email </a><br> ELCA News&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">www.ELCA.org/news</a><br> Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br> Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">www.livinglutheran.com</a> <br></p></div>08/15/2014ELCA presiding bishop urges prayer, peace amid outrage over shooting deathhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7691http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7691<div class="ExternalClass460F3BAE9E0842118EBAC3FC2353A25B"><p> <span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;CHICAGO (ELCA) – In response to the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., which has triggered outrage among some area residents and others across the country, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has called for prayer and peace.</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Throughout the gospels, Jesus reached out to the 'others,' those whom society deemed utterly foreign. We are at greatest risk when we divide into 'us' and 'them.' Then, we are unable to see each other's humanity,&quot; said Eaton. &quot;In Christ, there is no 'them,' not Michael Brown, not the community, not the police. All are one. All are 'us' and all are Christ's.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We pray that peace will come to Ferguson and the Brown family – peace is founded on the knowledge that in Christ, there is no 'other,' only brothers and sisters,&quot; she said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In an effort to bring the community together, the Rev. Rick Brenton, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Ferguson, said thousands of local residents gathered for a peace march Aug. 14.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Last night we came together to march and reclaim the streets,&quot; said Brenton. &quot;Somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 people marched. Clergy from all over the city, from every denomination, creed and origin, came together along with youth and others to peacefully protest. We had also delivered food and toiletries items to residents of the Canfield Green Apartment complex [where police opened fire Aug. 9]. People there are afraid to leave their homes. God's people deserve better than what has been happening.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; According to Brenton, the march and outreach to residents &quot;was a collaborative effort. We came together and made a difference. It's an amazing example of God's love for us. That in Christ, God walks beside us and before us, crossing the boundaries of our lives, exercising the demons of racism, sexism, classism and ageism to bring hope, healing and new life to our community.&quot; <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In an Aug. 14 pastoral letter to members and congregations of the ELCA Central States Synod, the Rev. Roger R. Gustafson, bishop of the synod, said that &quot;St. Louis' racial divisions and strife are deeply rooted and complex. Related issues – what has been called the militarization of the police, the lop-sided racial makeup of the Ferguson Police Department itself (nearly all White in a predominantly African American community), (and) a struggling local economy – intensify the conflict.&#160; Related events – store lootings, peaceful street demonstrations and a police response that has treated them alike – further poison the atmosphere.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;The various elements of this painful drama carry the temptation of distracting us from an even more painful truth, one that's at the heart of it all&#58; His name was Michael Brown. He was 18 years old. He was Black, and he was killed by a police officer. Had he been White, chances are excellent that he would still be alive,&quot; wrote Gustafson. &quot;But the stark fact of Michael Brown's death under extremely unclear circumstances points our attention to a larger truth&#58; To be born male and African American in this country is to be born into a clear and present danger.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We need to talk about race and privilege, but high-level conversations between groups will take us only so far. There is no substitute for personal relationship, for connecting one to one with someone who is unlike 'us.' Such relating is not comfortable because it has not been the norm. But it is possible and necessary if we want to become more and more the people who trust in God and God's providing more than we trust in ourselves,&quot; he wrote.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; For Judith Roberts, program director for ELCA Racial Justice Ministries, the story of Michael Brown &quot;is becoming all too familiar in the headline. The shooting death of Michael Brown is another example of how young Black and Brown people are targeted in our country. They are stereotyped as a threat, treated as distrustful (and) then it becomes OK to fear them. When you mix that with law enforcement (and) racial profiling, we see the senseless death of a young man with so much promise. I hope and pray the community of Ferguson can work with law enforcement to hold them accountable in improving race relations.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;As this case moves to trial the verdict will determine how this community can move forward. Will we continue to see a justice system that does not value the life of Black and Brown bodies?&#160; The ELCA criminal justice social statement calls for an end to racial profiling, and I believe this church has a responsibility to continue to follow this story,&quot; said Roberts.<br> - - -<br> About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.</p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> ​Melissa Ramirez Cooper, Manager, Public Relations<br> 773-380-2956 or <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/tools/secure_emailer?a=TWVsaXNzYS5SYW1pcmV6Q29vcGVyQGVsY2Eub3Jn&amp;b=TmV3cw==&amp;subject=News&amp;body="> email </a><br> ELCA News&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">www.ELCA.org/news</a><br> Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br> Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">www.livinglutheran.com</a> <br></p></div>08/15/2014ELCA to provide humanitarian assistance for victims of violence in Gazahttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7690http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7690<div class="ExternalClass384454417C734432844DFA60F552EC3C"><p>​&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will provide $100,000 in humanitarian assistance to Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem to help support the operation of the healthcare system in the midst of the current violence in the Middle East. The funds will be disbursed through Lutheran Disaster Response to The Lutheran World Federation (LWF). <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The hospital, located on the Mount of Olives, is a program of LWF, a global communion of 144 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; “The Augusta Victoria Hospital is providing relief assistance to the people in Gaza through medical teams going into the (Gaza) Strip and by opening its facilities on the Mount of Olives for the treatment of severely injured people, in addition to (providing) psychosocial support to hundreds affected by violence and warfare,” said the Rev. Rafael Malpica, executive director for ELCA global mission. The ELCA provides annual financial support to Augusta Victoria Hospital.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The relief funds will help provide needed medical, nursing and para-medical specialties through teams of between five and 12 professionals in Gaza for 10 days, medications and supplies for cancer patients who can be treated in Gaza, and psychosocial support to cancer patients and families who have been evacuated from Gaza and are receiving treatment at Augusta Victoria Hospital.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The hospital’s CEO, Dr. Tawfiq A. Nassar, wrote in an Aug. 4 email appeal, “Today we started feeling the pain and agony around us and we cannot escape it. A child sleeping on a cardboard next to his father, who is severely injured. Every time I pass, the child is asleep but peaking an eye on his dad, being assured that his dad is still next to him and alive. The child does not want to become an orphan and alone. The hospital grounds (are) full of tents and make-shift houses. It is the safest place in the city. People keep arriving. I do not know how much more the hospital can hold. It is one big refugee camp.”&#160; <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, more than 1,800 Palestinians have been killed since the fighting began in July. The majority of those killed are believed to be civilians. News reports estimate almost 10,000 people have been injured.&#160;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “We pray for the continuation of the present cease-fire that has opened a window for humanitarian assistance to reach Palestinians in Gaza,” said Malpica. “We join millions around the globe praying for peace with justice and security for both Palestinians and Israelis.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In an Aug. 7 e-alert, ELCA members are asked to consider a gift to help those affected by this crisis. “Our brothers and sisters in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land have asked for our help. One way we are responding is through Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem which provides medical services regardless of religious or political affiliation,” the e-alert reads. Financial gifts to Lutheran Disaster Response will be used 100 percent to support humanitarian relief efforts.&#160;&#160;&#160;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “We pray and hope for a generous response by our members and people of goodwill who would like to join us to help us support these life-saving and life-giving efforts,” said Malpica. “There is too much pain, suffering and death. People need immediate care now.”<br>&#160;Information about Lutheran Disaster Response is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/disaster">www.elca.org/disaster</a>.<br>- - -<br><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America&#58;</strong><br>The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 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>08/08/2014