ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/ELCA seminaries look to identify, nurture and sustain new leaders http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7911http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7911<div class="ExternalClassC83257B3D0A44F06BF595B5A68195888"><p>CHICAGO – In partnership with Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton's Leadership Initiative, the seven seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will&#160; launch a combined effort to encourage new candidates for ministry in the ELCA. </p><p>The program, &quot;Do you want to change the world?,&quot; is being promoted through a series of videos, the first of which will be released Feb. 22. The video addresses the current leadership shortage of the ELCA and the effort to seek more candidates for ministry.</p><p>Decreased seminary enrollment combined with a record number of ELCA rostered ministers who are retiring, has resulted in not enough ministers to fill the open calls or to provide creative leadership in this time of rapid change in our church and in the world. The ELCA seminaries have addressed this need by working independently and in collaboration to increase the number &#160;of candidates. According to the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Strandjord, director of ELCA seminaries, this has resulted in a modest increase in fall starts for Master of Divinity candidates in 2017. </p><p>Building on these efforts to invite and encourage future leaders, this program will help seminaries identify new candidates and provide resources that promote the vocation of public ministry, while providing marketing pieces for the good of the whole church. </p><p>The program is made possible by a grant from the Richard Hay Barkalow Charitable Seminary Fund of the inFaith Community Foundation.</p><p>All are invited to share the following information&#58;</p><p><a href="https&#58;//youtu.be/i9hQVPfKWsA"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Watch</span></a> and share on your social media networks how spoken-word poetry encourages candidates to attend seminary. </p><p><a href="https&#58;//elcaseminaries.org/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Learn</span></a> more about the ELCA seminaries.</p><p><a href="http&#58;//elca.org/leaders"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Explore</span></a> ELCA Presiding Bishop Eaton's Leadership Initiative.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>For more information on the initiative&#58;<br>Matthew D. O'Rear<br>Director, InFaith ELCA Seminary Grant<br>Morear@WartburgSeminary.edu&#160;</p><p>&#160;<br>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million members in more than 9,400 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.<br> <br></p><p>For information contact&#58;<br>Candice Hill Buchbinder<br>773-380-2877<br>Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</p><p>​</p></div>02/22/2018ELCA presiding bishop issues statement on Dreamershttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7909http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7909<div class="ExternalClass72DDE0B0987E49A78074D81CAB2831F1"><p>Immigration is an ever-present topic at our dinner tables and in our congregations as Congress continues to discuss long-overdue protection for thousands of our community members who lack permanent legal status. Scripture calls us to welcome the sojourner. God commanded of the Israelites&#58; &quot;The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt&#58; I am the Lord your God&quot; (Leviticus 19&#58;34). </p><p>Today, I renew my call to all of us as Christians to recognize our neighbors as made in the image of God, and to our nation's elected leaders&#58; Enact policies that provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented young people who arrived in the U.S. as children, known as Dreamers, and do so without harming other vulnerable immigrants. &#160;</p><p>As Lutherans, we live out our biblical calling by serving in ministries with migrants and refugees in our communities and advocating for laws that reflect this commitment. I am troubled that policies under consideration will protect some of our community members while, at the same time, harming others. While recognizing the right of all countries to control their borders, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) social teaching affirms that &quot;border policies should always respect the human dignity of all persons.&quot; I'm especially troubled by policy proposals that harm&#58; &#160;</p><ul><li>Family unity&#58; &quot;Our advocacy will continue to insist that family reunification should be the primary objective of immigration laws&quot; (<a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Messages/Immigration">&quot;Message on Immigration,&quot; 1998</a>).</li></ul><ul><li>Vulnerable people seeking safety in the U.S. through our asylum system&#58; &quot;We oppose practices that create unreasonable obstacles and unattainable standards of proof for those seeking asylum&quot; (<a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Messages/Immigration">&quot;Message on Immigration,&quot; 1998</a>).</li><li>Children&#58; &quot;Immigrant children in federal custody ought to be treated in accordance with child welfare principles consistent with their best interests&quot; (<a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Immigration_ReformSPR09.pdf">Toward Compassionate, Just, and Wise Immigration Reform, a social policy resolution, 2009</a>).</li></ul><p>I encourage policymakers to reflect upon Martin Luther's challenge&#58; &quot;How do we know that the love of God dwells in us? If we take upon ourselves the need of our neighbor.&quot; I also call upon Lutherans throughout the country to lift our voices through our <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy">Advocacy network</a> and <a href="http&#58;//www.lirs.org/">Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service</a> to urgently call for legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers without harming others. </p><p>&quot;As we journey together through the time God has given us, may God give us the grace of a welcoming heart and an overflowing love for the new neighbors among us&quot; (<a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Messages/Immigration">&quot;Message on Immigration,&quot; 1998</a>).</p><p>Sincerely,<br>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton</p><p>Presiding Bishop<br>Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</p></div>02/09/2018ELCA presiding bishop to participate in rally to end racismhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7908http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7908<div class="ExternalClass5424BA59F41644A4AD47C06E61EEA35E"><p>In commemoration of the 50<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), will join ecumenical and inter-religious partners for Act Now&#58; Unite to End Racism April 3-5 in Washington, D.C. The focus of the three-day event will be a rally April 4 on the National Mall.</p><p>The event, organized by the National Council of Churches in Christ in the USA, will bring together many ELCA members from across the country. The ELCA is a founding member of the council. </p><p>The rally's call to action emphasizes three key points&#58; awaken&#160;to the truth that racism is evil and hurts us all; confront&#160;racism through truth-telling and action to right the wrong; and transform&#160;the hearts, minds, and behaviors of people and institutions.</p><p>Events begin April 3 with an ecumenical worship service&#160;at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral and will be capped off by a lobby day on Capitol Hill April 5.</p><p>All are invited to join Bishop Eaton at the event. Learn more <a href="http&#58;//www.rally2endracism.org/">here</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 3.5 million members in more than 9,400 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.<br> <br></p><p>For information contact&#58;</p><p>Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a></p></div>02/06/2018‘Set Free By Truth’ Lent devotions offered by four church leadershttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7907http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7907<div class="ExternalClass646C98ED7F714054BEAFA8D7EB8165D0"><p>CHICAGO – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and leaders from The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada have prepared a series of Lent devotions titled &quot;Set Free By Truth.&quot; </p><p>The devotion theme addresses truth and racial justice, reflecting on the challenges facing churches in North America today. </p><p>In her devotion for Ash Wednesday, Eaton writes, &quot;We have been claimed in baptism, buried with Christ in a death like his, to be raised with Christ in a resurrection like his. We have already died the only death that really matters, and yet … . We do not recognize the full humanity of others. There is not justice for all. In our fear we doubt the resurrection. This Lent, let us enter into a time and space of honest and unflinching examination.&quot;</p><p>In addition to Eaton, devotions were contributed by the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop and primate, The Episcopal Church; the Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, primate, Anglican Church of Canada; and the Rev. Susan C. Johnson, national bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.</p><p>The Lent devotions begin with Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, and continue through Easter Sunday, April 1. Each devotion includes Scripture citations, a reflection and a prayer.<br>&#160;</p><p><a href="https&#58;//www.episcopalchurch.org/ecumenical-lenten-reflections"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Download</span></a> the Lent devotions.</p><p>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million members in more than 9,400 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.<br> <br></p><p>For information contact&#58;<br>Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</p><p>​</p></div>02/05/2018ELCA Presiding Bishop responds to reported racist commentshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7906http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7906<div class="ExternalClass57070D07BF84435EB999A8AC20B7F5BF"><p>I am very disappointed and disturbed by the remarks that President Donald Trump is reported to have said yesterday – and confirmed by others who were present – in the context of a discussion about immigration.&#160;</p><p>Regardless of the context, references of that kind have no place in our civil discourse and, if true, reflect racist attitudes unbecoming any of us, but especially a president of the United States.&#160;</p><p>Instead, we should be fostering a world where each of us sees every person – regardless of race, origin, ethnicity, gender or economic status – in the image of God and, therefore, worthy of dignity and respect.&#160;Our church has relationships and partnerships with Christians and others on six continents. These are our sisters and brothers. We strive to accompany them and they us, across boundaries and cognizant of our diversity, yet all seeking the common good.&#160;In working for a healed, reconciled and just world, we all should faithfully strive to participate in God's reconciling work, which prioritizes disenfranchised, vulnerable and displaced people in our communities and the world, bearing witness – each of us – to the love of God in Jesus Christ.</p><p>&#160;</p><p><em>&quot;We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization&quot;</em> —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. &#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>God's peace,</p><p>Elizabeth A. Eaton <br>ELCA Presiding Bishop</p><p>​</p></div>01/12/2018A Christmas message from the ELCA presiding bishophttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7905http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7905<div class="ExternalClassCB70FAA6E3AE4F3F97FF8DCC09D6F725"><p><span style="margin&#58;0px;line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">CHICAGO – In her </font><a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuOZY64aZuI&amp;feature=youtu.be"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0000ff">Christmas message</font></span></a><font color="#000000">, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), reminds us that Advent is a time to be present and still, to be aware of the promise to come.</font></span></p><p><span style="margin&#58;0px;line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><img alt="BishopEaton Christmas 2017small.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/elcanews/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20News/AllItems/BishopEaton%20Christmas%202017small.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /></span>​</p></div>12/14/2017