ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/Lutheran Disaster Response receives $300,000 grant for New Jersey hurricane reliefhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7736http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7736<div class="ExternalClass35EFEFBDDADD4E539FCD6C9E7341654A"><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – Lutheran Disaster Response has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the American Red Cross to assist people impacted by Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey. Lutheran Disaster Response is the disaster response ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The grant is an addition to a previous Red Cross grant of approximately $1.9 million to assist in Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts in New Jersey, New York and Maryland. This supplemental grant will be sent by Lutheran Disaster Response to its affiliate in New Jersey, Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Lutheran Disaster Response is pleased to continue the partnership with the American Red Cross as we assist the people of New Jersey who are recovering from Hurricane Sandy,&quot; said the Rev. Michael Stadie, program director of Lutheran Disaster Response. &quot;Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey has done an excellent job of serving the people of their state, and this grant will allow them to serve even more people.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The funds will be used in Monmouth, Ocean and Essex counties to help 116 families that have been identified by the unmet needs committees of local long-term recovery groups. Providing for unmet needs is a part of Lutheran Disaster Response's long-term recovery core component. Following disasters, people who have been affected often have needs that are not able to be met for a variety of reasons. Grants like these allow Lutheran Disaster Response affiliates to provide these people financial assistance and in-kind donations, such as furniture or appliances. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Hurricane Sandy caused some $36.8 billion in damage in New Jersey, and Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey has been responding since the storm hit the East Coast in 2012. The supplemental grant will last through 2015 and will further recovery efforts and increase the number of families that Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey is able to serve. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey is so grateful to have partners like Lutheran Disaster Response and the American Red Cross,&quot; said Beth Gebhart, executive director of fund development and the Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey Foundation. &quot;If not for the strength they bring, we would not be able to help so many New Jersey residents. While we have had success in getting people back in their homes, so many more people from New Jersey are in need of a helping hand. The impact from this recent grant will be felt across counties in New Jersey.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Lutheran Disaster Response has a long history of responding to disasters, both domestically and internationally. With a focus on long-term recovery, it is committed to working with the local communities impacted by disasters, accompanying them and providing assistance as they navigate their way through recovery.<br> - - -<br> <strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;</p><p>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.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; *<em>Megan Brandsrud is program communicator for Lutheran Disaster Response.</em></p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Melissa Ramirez Cooper<br><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<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">ELCA News&#58; www.ELCA.org/news<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Facebook&#58; www.facebook.com/Lutherans<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Living Lutheran&#58; www.livinglutheran.com</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">​</span></p></div>04/17/2015ELCA Church Council considers new mission funding approach and morehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7735http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7735<div class="ExternalClass702C7AFA1572441E85C8C7395A9F930C"><p>​<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) took action on proposals designed to examine and explore new opportunities to fund the mission of this church. The council also considered proposals on the formation of a single ELCA lay roster and more when it met here April 9-12, 2015. The council serves as the ELCA's board of directors.</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton appointed in late 2013 a &quot;Mission Support Think Tank&quot; to address this church's financial resources, particularly the decline in Mission Support — income from congregations shared with the ELCA's 65 synods and churchwide organization. The council received a report from the think tank, which included recommendations presented to the council through its budget and finance committee.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In a presentation of the report to the council, the Rev. Stephen S. Talmage, bishop of the ELCA Grand Canyon Synod and a member of the think tank, said, &quot;There is a need for radically reimagining mission funding in the church. (While) there is always resistance for change, we need to give ourselves permission for doing something different.&quot; Acknowledging some of the ways in which ELCA leaders, pastors and members garner, steward and invest the financial resources of this church, Talmage said, &quot;There are things happening that give hope.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The think tank is comprised of a synod bishop from each of the ELCA's nine regions. In respect to the think tank's recommendations, the council moved to&#58;<br> + thank Eaton for initiating the think tank and receive with gratitude the think tank's report and recommendations; affirm Eaton's intent of convening a team to generate recommendations to &quot;sharpen our priorities as a church&quot; and bring clarity about &quot;what this church will do and will not do in order to serve God's mission more faithfully and effectively;&quot; and affirm the need to explore new methods of Mission Support for the benefit of the whole church.</p><p>+ report in a manner that expresses thanksgiving for all gifts received and acknowledge that &quot;uniform percentage guidelines&quot; for Mission Support are no longer appropriate for all synods. In consultation with the ELCA Conference of Bishops and Office of the Presiding Bishop, the council approved the development of a process that will result in synod-specific percentage goals for each synod no later than its April 2018 meeting. The council's budget and finance committee will monitor this process with a goal of recommending benchmarks and guidelines for synods. In this action, the council also called on support from the ELCA churchwide organization.</p><p>+ endorse the principle that multiple streams of income may be used to provide mission funding and instruct churchwide units and offices to draft a revised constitutional provision to reflect the use of multiple sources of income. The document is to be reviewed for possible amendments to the ELCA Constitutions, Bylaws and Continuing Resolutions by the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.</p><p>+ request that churchwide organization staff assess current and prospective resources to assist congregations and synods in the development of multiple streams of income; develop a plan to equip rostered leaders to advocate for a renewed commitment to Mission Support; and provide at least an annual progress report to the council's budget and finance committee.</p><p>+ affirm a three-year experiment, beginning in 2016, with five synods to form a &quot;learning community&quot; to see if retaining the new and renewing ELCA grants for ministries and the total compensation for directors of evangelical mission will produce an increase in Mission Support and more effective management and oversight; provide updates to the council and request that the ELCA Office of the Treasurer provide financial analysis related to the experiment.</p><p>+ affirm a pilot project of the ELCA Mission Investment Fund to establish a financial services organization.</p><p>+ acknowledge the efforts of synods to deepen and strengthen relationships; encourage synod bishops and synod councils to discuss with congregations the financial implications of &quot;how we are church together&quot; and invite the ELCA Conference of Bishops, the council and its budget and finance committee to consider further Mission Support experiments.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In a separate action, the council approved a revised 2015 fiscal-year current fund spending authorization of $69,323,020 and a revised 2015 fiscal-year ELCA World Hunger spending authorization of $20,600,000.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The council also acknowledged decisions from some of the ELCA's 65 synods to increase, maintain and/or decrease the percentage of sharing of 2015 and 2016 Mission Support plans, and it thanked synod bishops and leaders &quot;as they strive to be faithful to shared commitments within the ELCA, and to direct synod and churchwide staff, including directors for evangelical mission, to deepen their partnership in efforts to strengthen financial support&quot; for this church.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In other business, the council voted to move forward on unifying the ELCA's three lay rosters – associates in ministry, deaconesses and diaconal ministers – but delay consideration of the entrance rite and related issues, a recommendation offered by the ELCA Conference of Bishops. Currently, associates in ministry are commissioned; deaconesses and diaconal ministers are consecrated. A decision will need to be made about the appropriate entrance rite for the unified roster. The council will consider a proposal on the formation of a single ELCA roster during its November 2015 meeting, and it will consider a proposal on the appropriate entrance rite and related issues during its fall 2018 meeting.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In her report to the council, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton offered insights about the &quot;holy work&quot; taking place across the church. Having just returned from China, Eaton offered highlights of her trip, which included meeting with the Chinese Christian Council and the dedication of a church on Easter. Upon the request of the Yulong County Christian Council and the village head, the ELCA contributed a portion of the cost toward building this new church. &quot;Parishioners walk two hours through the mountains to come to worship. The faithfulness of these folks is pretty remarkable,&quot; she said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The council received reports from other ELCA officers and, among other actions, it&#58;<br> + received an update on <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA, </em>which completed its first year with nearly $45 million raised. The amount represents 23 percent of the five-year, $198 million Jan. 31, 2019, goal<br> + extended the time for the development of an ELCA social message on gender-based violence until the council's November 2015 meeting<br> + affirmed the continued work on the document &quot;Declaration on the Way&quot; (to unity) between Lutherans and Roman Catholics<br> + offered appreciation for the ongoing work related to welcoming migrants and refugees<br> + declined to ask the nearly 10,000 ELCA congregations to end &quot;confirmation&quot; as a &quot;ritualized right&quot; of youth<br> + affirmed the resolve by the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly that this church be encouraged&#160;to speak out as advocates for voting rights<br> + re-elected the Rev. Stephen Bouman as executive director for ELCA Congregational and Synodical Mission; the Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla as executive director for ELCA Global Mission; and Christina Jackson-Skelton as the executive director for ELCA Mission Advancement<br> + received greetings from ecumenical guests<br> + received the ELCA Churchwide Organization Operational Plan Report for 2014<br> + elected members to the ELCA Executive Committee and to the boards of Portico Benefit Services; Augsburg Fortress, Publishers; Mission Investment Fund; Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg; Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago; and Trinity Lutheran Seminary<br> + gave &quot;thanks to God&quot; for the life and faithful service of the Rev. James R. Crumley, bishop of the former Lutheran Church in America, an ELCA predecessor church body.<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> 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> </p></div>04/15/2015ELCA leaders tour immigration detention center, call on Obama to end detentionhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7734http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7734<div class="ExternalClass4109595EB3A540649A2CF40CC51616FD"><p></p><p>&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – A group of Lutheran and Catholic leaders, during a March 27 visit to the Dilley Family Detention Center in Dilley, Texas, heard the stories of women who have fled violent situations in Central America. About 400 women and children who are seeking asylum are detained at the facility.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Almost all the women we saw were fleeing violence either from gangs or cartels and occasionally domestic violence,&quot; said the Rev. Julian Gordy, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) Southeastern Synod, Atlanta. &quot;They had encountered violence, sometimes of horrific proportions, on the way (to the United States). Then they were arrested, locked up and told you can post bond, but if you don't post bond, you are going back.&quot; Gordy chairs the ELCA Conference of Bishops' Immigration Ready Bench.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In 2014, more than 68,000 people arrived in the United States, fleeing violence and difficult situations in Central America and elsewhere.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We all spoke to them and we prayed for them, and I don't think there were any women not in tears,&quot; said Gordy. &quot;They were just devastated. They didn't know what was going to happen to them. They didn't think their children were thriving. The children didn't understand why they couldn't leave (the detention center), and they had had this traumatic experience getting there.&quot; <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;That's what bothered the women most, the women I talked to, that they're here looking for asylum, which they have the right to do under international law,&quot; said Gordy. &quot;But they are accused of being a threat to America. That was what hurt the folks we talked to more than anything else – that they were accused of being bad people, they said, and being a threat to America when they were just trying to escape violence.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Gordy told the story of one woman who fled her home because &quot;her husband had been abusing their son since he was 7 years old. And she had been told that if she didn't post bond she would be sent back. She was pretty much beside herself.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Rev. Michael W. Rinehart, bishop of the ELCA Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, Houston, and a member of the board of directors for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service in Baltimore, reflected on the visit in a blog post. &quot;As our time went on and as we walked around the facility, I spoke to every person I saw, about two dozen mothers and a few children. The children were perilously thin; one boy showed me his ribs. The mothers told me there was plenty of food, but it was awful, and their children would not eat it,&quot; he wrote.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Besides Gordy and Rinehart, the delegation included Linda Hartke, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service; Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of the Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio; Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration; and Bishop James A. Tamayo of Laredo, Texas, consultant for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The delegation also met with groups of attorneys and others who help find pro bono immigration attorneys for the women and children. Gordy said having an immigration attorney makes it &quot;far more likely to get a bond.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;It is clear that there is no humane way to detain families,&quot; said Hartke in a press conference following the detention center tour. &quot;Children, many of whom are babies and toddlers, do not belong in jails – nor do their mothers who have acted only to protect their very lives. Detention is inherently traumatic and damaging, especially for people who have fled persecution and violence in search of safety. We are advocating strongly to end the inhumane practice of family detention.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Gordy said the ELCA and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service are helping to make a difference, but he emphasized that more can be done.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;The most important thing we can do is to work for and insist on comprehensive immigration reform in the country&quot; he said. &quot;And the second thing we need to do right now regarding this is call people, write people, go to Congress, work through Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service to say there is no humane way to lock up women and babies. They are not a threat to this country. It's been demonstrated over and over again that you can guarantee that they show up in court, which is the purported reason for locking them up, in all kinds of ways that are as effective as locking them up.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;One of the things we've been told when we've been in Washington,&quot; he added, &quot;is that the people who don't want immigration reform or who don't want immigrants in the country are very vocal, and those of us who want immigrants treated well aren't nearly vocal enough.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;There needs to be a public outcry, and I think the policy will ultimately change,&quot; said Rinehart in an interview.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In a March 27 letter to President Obama, leaders of the ELCA joined faith leaders from across the United States in urging the president to &quot;end the harsh policy of family detention and&#160;<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">employ alternatives to detention where deemed necessary.&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 believe this practice to be inhumane and harmful to the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of this vulnerable population. We also believe that it is inappropriate and unjust to seek to deter anyone, especially a woman and her children, from fleeing violence in their homeland to seek safe haven in the United States,&quot; wrote the leaders.<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>The letter stated, &quot;We urge you to reverse course on this policy and implement alternatives for all families in immigration detention which are humane and uphold the human rights of this vulnerable population. Our faith communities are ready and willing to welcome and assist families seeking refuge.&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>G</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">ordy said he hopes &quot;the letter will be distributed widely and that people will see that this is going on in our name and with our tax money in this country and will just say we can't do that.&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>The letter is available at </span><a href="http&#58;//www.lirs.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/FaithLeaderLetteronDetention_150326.pdf" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">www.lirs.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/FaithLeaderLetteronDetention_150326.pdf</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160;&#160;</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">- - -<br></span><strong style="line-height&#58;1.6;">About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#58;</span></p><p> 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;">Candice Hill Buchbinder<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">ELCA News and Public Relations 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>04/09/2015James R. Crumley Jr., bishop of the former Lutheran Church in America, dieshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7733http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7733<div class="ExternalClass9FFB94C93D8E4E04972DD37056A05294"><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">CHICAGO (ELCA) – The Rev. James Robert Crumley Jr., bishop of the former Lutheran Church in America, died April 7 of complications from a fall. He was 90. The Lutheran Church in America is a predecessor church body of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).</span><br></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;To hear him tell the story of his life, the Rev. Dr. James R. Crumley was convinced that God always was full of gracious surprises,&quot; ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton said in a tribute to Crumley.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;One surprise unfolded into another for him. Each one prepared the way for new responsibilities. As he said upon his election in 1974 as secretary of the Lutheran Church in America, 'I believe that when God calls us, God also gives us the resources to fulfill our responsibilities.' The conviction grew even deeper when, four years later in 1978, he was chosen as the Lutheran Church in America's third president and bishop,&quot; said Eaton.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Born March 30, 1925, in Bluff City, Tenn., Crumley earned a Master of Divinity from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C., in 1951. The seminary is one of eight of the ELCA. Crumley earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Roanoke College in Salem, Va., one of 26 colleges and universities of the ELCA.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Crumley was bishop of the Lutheran Church in America from 1980 to 1987, president from 1978 to 1980, and secretary of the former denomination from 1974 to 1978. He was a member of the Commission for a New Lutheran Church, which planned the merger of three churches – Lutheran Church in America, American Lutheran Church and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches – to form the ELCA in January 1988. Prior to serving as secretary, Crumley served as a parish pastor from 1951 to 1974.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Crumley was a member of the executive committee of The Lutheran World Federation and a member of the central committee of the World Council of Churches. He was president of Lutheran World Ministries and second vice president of the National Council of Churches.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Through experiences in assemblies of The Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches, as well as engagement with the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., Crumley demonstrated in manifold ways his ecumenical insight and commitment,&quot; said Eaton.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;His understanding and vision of the church was not confined only to the Lutheran context,&quot; said Eaton. &quot;In a historic development, he exchanged letters with Pope John Paul II in 1985. The letters affirmed the greater mutual understanding that already had emerged from U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue. At the same time, the letters urged deeper commitment to further ecumenical endeavors.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;As the years passed and the honors accumulated, Dr. Crumley remained that same gracious gentleman who had been raised in the mountains of Tennessee but was called by the church to ministry throughout this nation and the world,&quot; said Eaton.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Crumley married Annette Bodie Crumley in 1950. They had three children&#58; Frances Holman, James III and Jeanne.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton's tribute to Crumley is available at <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Tribute%20Dr.%20James%20Crumley_REV.pdf">http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Tribute%20Dr.%20James%20Crumley_REV.pdf</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;</p><p>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>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></p></div>04/08/2015ELCA presiding bishop continues call for conversation on racial equityhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7732http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7732<div class="ExternalClass3EBA8B6146984AAC99D291A9539E4E8B"><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;CHICAGO (ELCA) – Citing recent events across the United States, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), noted that &quot;we are not living in a post-racial society.&quot; In a March 25 letter and video message to the 3.8 million-member church, Eaton expressed the need for conversation – not only among Lutherans but &quot;all Americans&quot; – about racism in &quot;honest and productive ways.&quot;</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;I know it's difficult to talk about race because too many Americans do not want to believe racism still exists in our country,&quot; Eaton said. &quot;Yet, as always, Christ promises to be alongside us, even in the most difficult of times, working for our reconciliation. Because of God's promise, we can and must have a deep, honest and even painful conversation about racism.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In her letter and video, Eaton commends a list of resources and background materials to help the nearly 10,000 congregations of the ELCA to engage &quot;in this important conversation.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The full text of the letter is available at <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Bishop_Message_RacialJustice.pdf">http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Bishop_Message_RacialJustice.pdf</a> and a video message at <a href="http&#58;//youtu.be/9YuMSc6XlzA">http&#58;//youtu.be/9YuMSc6XlzA</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>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> </p></div>03/25/2015ELCA delegation hears ‘harrowing’ stories of migrant minors, seeks greater church responsehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7731http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7731<div class="ExternalClassFD9944B3D17B48BD84DBF25E196900A1"><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160;</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;CHICAGO (ELCA) – With the recent surge of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children arriving in the United States from Central America, leaders and members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are learning more about the root causes of migration.</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Since 2014, the ELCA has been responding to the needs of children and families with efforts ranging from ensuring appropriate legal representation to foster care, from providing &quot;wrap around&quot; services during their time in the United States to connecting children and families with ELCA congregations. ELCA members are also urging Congress for comprehensive immigration reform, humanitarian assistance and the humane treatment of migrants in transit.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In a February 2015 trip to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, an ELCA delegation led by the Rev. Stephen Bouman, executive director of ELCA Congregational and Synodical Mission, and the Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director of ELCA Global Mission, met with Lutheran leaders and pastors in these countries who told about the displacement of people due to gang violence, poverty, inept governments and repatriation.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Gang violence (in these countries) is very pervasive. If you don't comply, death is certain and swift,&quot; said Bouman. &quot;During our trip, we heard the testimonies of mothers and children attempting to flee gang violence and survive the horrendous journey&quot; from Central America to the United States through Mexico, said Bouman. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In a March 7 conversation with ELCA bishops whose synods have a &quot;companion relationship&quot; with Lutheran churches in Central America and in a March 11 presentation to staff of the ELCA churchwide organization, Malpica Padilla and Bouman told the story of &quot;Jessica,&quot; a 45-year-old mother of three who fled her home. Jessica, a circulation manager for a major newspaper who lost her job four years ago and still unable to find work, fled in fear for her children's safety – her young son witnessed his friend shot to death by gangs. In her attempted journey to the United States, Jessica was abused and apprehended by immigration officials as she and her children sought refuge in a cave. Jessica and her children have since been deported. &quot;Poverty is a key factor in migration, made worse by violence,&quot; said Bouman. &quot;As Jessica shared her story with us, she spoke of her deep faith. She spoke of the Good Shepherd,&quot; said Bouman. &quot;Multiply her story by 30, and that's all we heard during our trip.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;If you cross the Rio Grande, you've made it. Going across the desert in Texas or Arizona, although challenging, is at times easier than other dangers faced during the journey, particularly once the migrant enters Mexico,&quot; said Malpica Padilla. &quot;Hundreds of travelers are kidnapped by cartels that extort money from their relatives. People riding on the train known as 'La Bestia,' who encounter dreaded (drug cartels), are robbed and assaulted and even killed to harvest their organs for the illegal but profitable human organs trade,&quot; he said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;As we bore witness to these testimonies, the delegation felt compelled to commit to work and invite the entire ELCA to respond,&quot; said Bouman. Members of the delegation were the Rev. Raquel Rodriguez, director for the Latin America and Caribbean desk, ELCA Global Mission; the Rev. Michael Stadie, director, Lutheran Disaster Response-U.S.; Stephen Deal, ELCA regional representative for Central America; the Rev. Stacy L. Martin, director for advocacy ELCA Washington Office; Alaide Vilchis Ibarra, assistant director for migration policy and advocacy; Bouman; and Malpica Padilla.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; On behalf of the delegation, Malpica Padilla and Bouman are encouraging members of this church to continue the call for comprehensive immigration reform stemming from actions of ELCA churchwide assemblies; to support the work of Lutheran social ministry organizations, ELCA synods and congregations working to meet the needs of migrants and serving as places of welcome and hospitality; and to support ELCA advocacy efforts designed to encourage U.S. elected officials to support fair, effective and transparent policies that address humanitarian assistance in Central America and that advocate for the humane treatment of migrants in transit, particularly in Mexico.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We must continue with ongoing activities in support of the migrants and even expand our services on both sides of the border,&quot; said Malpica Padilla. &quot;However, we must understand these are transitory measures. We must pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;When parents determine that migrating to another country is not only the best option but the only option in preserving the lives of their children, something is terribly wrong,&quot; said Martin. &quot;Such is the dire situation in Central America's Northern Triangle. And, while the causes of this refugee crisis are many and complex, U.S. foreign policy and involvement in the region has contributed in creating the current context that breeds violence and poverty,&quot; she said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;It is harrowing and heartbreaking to hear stories from people who live in constant fear and who harbor no hope for the future of their community or country,&quot; said Martin. &quot;We cannot allow complexity and magnitude to be excuses in our attempt to best accompany our partners in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala in addressing the issues at hand. Unless we engage on every possible front, the refugee crisis will not abate. This is why it is so important to understand the root causes at play in this crisis and to act in a concerted manner on many levels, most especially on advocating that the U.S. government invest generously and wisely in the area and ensure that aid and policy are implemented without an undue reliance on militarization.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Prior to their trip to Central America, the delegation visited a detention center in Artesia, N.M. &quot;We saw women and children literally behind bars,&quot; said Bouman.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Rev. H. Julian Gordy – bishop of the ELCA Southwestern Synod, Atlanta, and chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops' Immigration Ready Bench – and the Rev. Michael W. Rinehart – bishop of the ELCA Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, Houston, and a member of the board of directors for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Baltimore – this spring will be visiting a detention center in Dilly, Texas.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;The Immigration Ready Bench of the Conference of Bishops exists to affect public policy around immigration issues,&quot; said Gordy. &quot;Working closely with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, members of the Ready Bench make annual visits to members of Congress and the administration in Washington encouraging the passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation,&quot; he said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;In addition, the ready bench members have written op-ed pieces for newspapers and on some occasions testified in Congress on behalf of immigrants and refugees. Currently, the ready bench is hoping to draw attention to the unfortunate incarceration of migrant women and children in detention facilities across the country,&quot; said Gordy.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In the ELCA Southwest California Synod, pastors and members have started the Guardian Angels program in an effort to accompany children and teenagers from Central America apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border. Many of the children and teenagers face deportation hearings alone.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We want judges and others to know that we are there to help the children and families (navigate) through courtroom hearings, especially for those who do not have lawyer representation. We work to send the message that there are people who care for these children,&quot; said Maria Paiva, director for evangelical mission, ELCA Southwest California Synod and a coordinator of the Guardian Angels program. The program was started by the Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, an ELCA pastor. There are about 40 volunteers in the program trained by the National Lawyers' Guild. Volunteers take notes during court proceedings, monitoring for possible violations of the children's legal rights.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; When volunteers accompany children during court proceedings, they wear special T-shirts that depict an angel protecting children. Paiva said the shirts help signal their presence to the judges.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;I have seen miracles in terms of how judges and lawyers change their attitudes when they see us accompany the children,&quot; said Paiva, who has attended more than 30 hearings.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;All of us have been blessed by God in wonderful ways,&quot; said Paiva. &quot;We can show this love to others who need compassion.&quot;<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 Melissa.RamirezCooper@elca.org <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>&#160; &#160;&#160;</p></div>03/19/2015