ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/ELCA commitment to confronting racism and anti-Semitismhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7896http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7896<div class="ExternalClass11A7AB8088A8452581793121F037583E"><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 13px;"><span lang="EN" style="margin&#58;0px;line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), stands against all forms of hatred and discrimination. The church believes that cultural, ethnic and racial differences should be seen and celebrated as what God intends them to be—blessings rather than means of oppression and discrimination. </font></span></p><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 13px;"><span style="margin&#58;0px;line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">The ELCA’s social statement “Freed in Christ&#58; Race, Ethnicity and Culture” states&#58; “Racism—a mix of power, privilege, and prejudice—is sin, a violation of God’s intention for humanity. The resulting racial, ethnic, or cultural barriers deny the truth that all people are God’s creatures and, therefore, persons of dignity. Racism fractures and fragments both church and society.”</font></span></p><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 13px;"><span lang="EN" style="margin&#58;0px;line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">The social statement, adopted by the ELCA 1993 Churchwide Assembly, calls on the church to make confession for complicity, name the spiritual crisis at the roots, commit to change and make pledges to public witness, advocacy and action to confront racism.</font><span style="margin&#58;0px;"><font color="#000000">&#160; </font></span></span></p><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 13px;"><span lang="EN" style="margin&#58;0px;line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">“We recognize that the kind of violence we witnessed in Charlottesville last weekend is very real and affects all of us,” said ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton. “We need to stand up firmly against racism and anti-Semitism, show up for and advocate with others. Jesus, who makes visible those who are invisible, is already there. We need to show up, and we need to listen in each of our communities.”</font></span></p><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 13px;"><span lang="EN" style="margin&#58;0px;line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">The ELCA is a church that belongs to Christ and Christ’s church universal, where there is a place for everyone. </font></span><span style="margin&#58;0px;line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">The job of Christ’s people today is to celebrate the diversity of God’s creative work and embrace all people in the spirit of love, whatever race or ethnicity, economic status or gender.</font></span></p><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 13px;"><span lang="EN" style="margin&#58;0px;line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/RaceSS.pdf?_ga=2.155318971.101128048.1502718900-540502157.1488563819"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0000ff">Read</font></span></a><font color="#000000"> the full social statement.<br></font></span></p><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 13px;"><span lang="EN" style="margin&#58;0px;line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000"><a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/ELCA_Commitment_to_confronting_racism_and_anti-Semitism_SP.pdf" style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><span style="color&#58;#0000ff;">Spanish</span></a> version.</font></span></p><p>​</p></div>08/15/2017Prayer for Charlottesville rallyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7895http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7895<div class="ExternalClass6A879963E9C1425C9AA2592B84BDB410"><p>CHICAGO – In support of those who will join an act of public witness against racial injustice Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, Va., the Rev. William O. Gafkjen, bishop of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops, has issued the following prayer on behalf of the conference.</p><p>The prayer follows&#58;</p><p>Just and merciful God, we give you thanks for our sisters and brothers – bishops, pastors, deacons, people of God – who this Saturday walk the way of the cross in Charlottesville, Va. On this day and in that place, they join other courageous and faithful people across time and space to stand against bigotry, hatred and violence; to stand with those who are intended victims; and to stand for justice and mercy, peace and equality for all people. </p><p>We stand with them in prayer, asking you to empower them, protect them, and use their witness as hopeful sign of your resurrection reign afoot in your beloved and troubled world. By your might, break the bondage that bigotry, hatred and violence impose on their victims and their perpetrators. May your kingdom come on earth as in heaven. And, we pray, empower us in our own communities to follow their lead as fellow servants to your dream of a community in which all people and their gifts are welcomed and honored, cherished and celebrated as beloved children of a just, merciful and loving God; through Jesus Christ crucified and risen for the life of the world. Amen</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<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br> <br></p><p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>​</p></div>08/11/2017Mark Wilhelm named executive director of Network of ELCA Colleges and Universitieshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7894http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7894<div class="ExternalClass5D5B0CC0977F47F29A694C2D1D9406D5"><p>CHICAGO – The Rev. Mark N. Wilhelm has been named executive director of the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities. </p><p>Wilhelm previously served as ELCA program director for schools, which included early childhood, elementary, secondary and colleges and universities. He was appointed interim executive director of the network when it was established in 2015. </p><p>&quot;The search committee conducted a national search, which yielded a strong pool of candidates,&quot; said Steven C. Bahls, president of Augustana College and chair of the search committee.&#160;&quot;Mark's depth of experience in Lutheran&#160;higher education, as well as his clear vision for facilitating a strong network , made&#160;him an easy choice.&#160;The presidents of the ELCA colleges (and universities) look forward to working with Mark in making the network central to the ministry of the ELCA in higher education.&quot;</p><p>The network was established in collaboration with the ELCA's 26 colleges and universities to promote their shared mission and identity and to continue work previously managed by higher education offices in the ELCA's churchwide organization. Luther College in Regina, Saskatchewan, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada was recently admitted as the 27<sup>th</sup> member of the network. The network is overseen by a board of directors composed of the presidents of the 27 institutions and an executive director.</p><p>&quot;Presidents and leaders of our ELCA colleges and universities have been on a crucial journey to form an ELCA association, grounded in the faith in which they were planted,&quot; said the Rev. Stephen Bouman, executive director of ELCA Domestic Mission unit. &quot;Mark Wilhelm has faithfully guided this process and is now the first executive director of the association.&#160;I salute this remarkable achievement and what it will offer to our church and the world as they form leaders for society grounded in a spiritual vision for vocation.&quot;</p><p>- - -<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 3.7 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> Public Relations Manager<br> 773-380-2877<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br> <br></p><p>​</p></div>08/03/2017ELCA presiding bishop World Refugee Day message http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7893http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7893<div class="ExternalClass664A7B32C67547049C27D4E16F09CB10"><p>CHICAGO – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has issued the following message in observance of World Refugee Day.</p><p>Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,</p><p>Today is World Refugee Day. Observed every year on June 20, this is a day when we commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees worldwide. </p><p>There are more people fleeing war and persecution than ever before. We are now facing the largest global refugee crisis, with over 65 million people forcibly displaced from their countries. Twenty-one million of those who are displaced are refugees. The United States opens its doors to less than 1 percent of the world's refugees – 85,000 refugees entered our country in 2016. </p><p>In Matthew 25&#58;35, Jesus said, &quot;I was a stranger and you welcomed me.&quot; As people of faith, we are called to welcome the stranger and to walk alongside vulnerable refugees living in untenable situations. This support is critical in providing protection and hope for those who have fled persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political views and/or associations. </p><p>As we recognize the global refugee crisis, let us also celebrate the many contributions that refugees make to our communities as they seek to stabilize their lives and build on their dreams. In this regard, we appreciate all the efforts of our congregations – in collaboration with <a href="http&#58;//lirs.org/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service</span></a> – that are welcoming refugees and providing many forms of hospitality. </p><p>It is also important to acknowledge the excellent work being done by <a href="https&#58;//www.lutheranworld.org/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">The Lutheran World Federation</span></a>, of which we are a member. These programs assist thousands of refugees every day who have fled their homes, such as South Sudanese now in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia; Burundians in Tanzania; Somalis, Eritreans and Sudanese in Ethiopia; and Syrians in Jordan, just to name a few. </p><p>World Refugee Day offers an opportunity for us to stand in solidarity with people who have been forced to leave their homes. Today and every day we pray for peace for all the children of God created in God's image. </p><p>In Christ, </p><p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton </p><p>Presiding Bishop</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<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br> <br></p><p>​</p></div>06/20/2017Robert Humphrey elected bishop of ELCA Virginia Synodhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7892http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7892<div class="ExternalClass487F573F1F134E8E8CB86E027E8D53B3"><p>CHICAGO – The Rev. Robert F Humphrey, Harrisonburg, Va., was elected June 11 to a six-year term as bishop of the Virginia Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election was held during the Synod assembly May 9-11 at Roanoke College in Salem, Va.</p><p>Humphrey was elected on the fifth ballot with 217 votes to 167 votes for the Rev. Kelly Bayer Derrick, associate pastor of St. Philip Lutheran Church in Roanoke. A total of 193 votes was needed for election. </p><p>Humphrey has served as lead pastor of Muhlenberg Lutheran Church, Harrisonburg, since 2010. </p><p>The bishop-elect earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Richmond (Va.) in 1977. He received his Master of Divinity from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, S.C., in 1981. Southern Seminary is one of seven ELCA seminaries. </p><p>The Rev. James F. Mauney, who has served as bishop of the Virginia Synod since 1999, will retire Aug. 31.</p><p>Humphrey will be installed as bishop on Sept. 9 at First Presbyterian Church in Waynesboro, Va.</p><p>Information about the Virginia Synod is available at <a href="http&#58;//vasynod.org/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">vasynod.org</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<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br></p><p>Jonah Berg-Ganzarain<br>773-380-2862<br>Jonah.Berg-Ganzarain@ELCA.org<br><em>Jonah Berg-Ganzarain attends Bentley University and is working as an intern with ELCA Strategic Communications. </em></p><p>&#160;</p><p>​</p></div>06/13/2017ELCA to celebrate 500th anniversary of the Reformation with public event in D.C.http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7891http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7891<div class="ExternalClassFF4D34B6CFDC425DB6E78EFA60884523"><p><span style="margin&#58;0px;line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000"></font></span></p><p>CHICAGO – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), will host a commemoration of the 500<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Reformation on Oct. 31 at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington, D.C. </p><p>Eaton will be joined by the Rev. William O. Gafkjen, bishop of the ELCA Indiana-Kentucky Synod and chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops; the Rev. Richard H. Graham, bishop of the ELCA Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Synod; and ELCA Vice President Bill Horne. </p><p>The event, which will meet under the theme &quot;Looking Back and Called Forward,&quot; will be available online via livestream for all to watch.</p><p>The event will be open to the public and available online via livestream. All are invited to participate and honor the Reformation anniversary as the ELCA bears public witness to Christ, who frees us to love and serve our neighbor, and as we look to the future to which God is calling us. </p><p>&#160;Additional details will follow as they become available. For more information, contact Rob Campbell at 773-380-2986 or Rob.Campbell@elca.org.</p><p><a href="https&#58;//www.elca500.org/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Read</span></a> more about the ELCA's observance of the 500<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Reformation.</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.<br><strong>&#160;</strong><br><strong>About the 500</strong><strong><sup>th</sup></strong><strong> anniversary of the Reformation</strong><br>Martin Luther posted the Ninety-Five Theses in Wittenberg, Germany, on Oct. 31, 1517, and the resulting debate about Christian teaching and practice led to changes that have shaped the course of Western Christianity for almost 500 years. The Reformation offers to Christians everywhere a liberating way of listening to and sharing the word of God. It teaches that Christ's life flows through faith into a life of service to the neighbor and offers the promise of God's love that makes possible a life of &quot;living, daring confidence in God's grace.&quot;<br>ELCA congregations, members, synods and affiliated institutions are observing the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in a variety of events and activities. Many of the local activities reflect the magnitude of work being done on a national and international scale. In all the activities, the ELCA seeks to find in this historic milestone an occasion to give a confident and joyful witness of the life and freedom in Jesus Christ that is for all.</p><p>​</p></div>06/08/2017