ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/ELCA Churchwide Assembly key actionshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7852http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7852<div class="ExternalClass3ACCB29E43D04C1F9F17E63F2D2F5A3E"><p>CHICAGO – Voting members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) approved a number of key actions during the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly held in New Orleans Aug. 8-13. The assembly is the highest legislative authority of the church. </p><p>The 945 voting members&#58;</p><ul style="list-style-type&#58;disc;"><li>Elected William B. Horne II of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Clearwater, Fla., vice president of the ELCA. Horne was installed during closing worship Aug. 13.</li></ul><ul style="list-style-type&#58;disc;"><li>Accepted the &quot;Declaration on the Way,&quot; a unique ecumenical document that marks a path toward greater unity between Catholics and Lutherans. At the heart of the document are 32 &quot;Statements of Agreement&quot; that state where Lutherans and Catholics do not have church-dividing differences on topics about church, ministry and the Eucharist. The document also presents the differences that remain.</li></ul><ul style="list-style-type&#58;disc;"><li>Approved AMMPARO – the ELCA's strategy to Accompany Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities. The ELCA developed this strategy based on commitments to uphold and guarantee the basic human rights and safety of migrant children and their families; to address the root causes of migration in countries from Central America's Northern Triangle and Mexico and the treatment of migrants in transit; to work toward just and humane policies affecting migrants in and outside the U.S.; to engage as a church with all of its companions, affiliates and partners to respond to the migration situation and its causes; and to advocate for migrant children and their families.</li></ul><ul style="list-style-type&#58;disc;"><li>Approved the Ministry of Word and Service roster. Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, ELCA associates in ministry, deaconesses and diaconal ministers will be a single, unified roster of Ministry of Word and Service. The accompanying constitutional amendments related to the roster were also considered and approved by the assembly.</li></ul><ul style="list-style-type&#58;disc;"><li>Approved the 2017-2019 budget proposal. The budget includes a 2017 current fund spending authorization of $65,296,005 and a 2017 ELCA World Hunger spending authorization of $24.8 million; a 2018 current fund income proposal of $64,057,220 and a 2018 ELCA World Hunger income proposal of $25 million; a 2019 current fund income proposal of $64,151,175 and a 2019 ELCA World Hunger income proposal of $25 million; and authorizes the Church Council to establish a spending authorization after periodic review of revised income estimates.</li></ul><ul style="list-style-type&#58;disc;"><li>Approved various memorials – or proposals – from the ELCA's 65 synods. In addition to memorials considered &quot;en bloc,&quot; the assembly separately approved the following&#58; deepening relationships with historic Black churches; toward a responsible energy future; repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery; peace with justice in the Holy Land; justice for the Holy Land through responsible investment; African Descent Lutherans; call to discernment on U.S. foreign and military policy; welcoming refugees; and supporting military personnel, veterans and their families.</li></ul><ul style="list-style-type&#58;disc;"><li>Elected members to serve on&#58; Church Council, Portico Benefits Services, Mission Investment Fund, Augsburg Fortress, Committee on Appeals, Committee on Discipline and Nominating Committee.​</li></ul><ul style="list-style-type&#58;disc;"><li>Adopted amendments to the ELCA Constitution, Bylaws and Continuing Resolutions.</li></ul><p>Legislative updates are available at <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Legislative_Updates_for_the_2016_Churchwide_Assembly.pdf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Legislative_Updates_for_the_2016_Churchwide_Assembly.pdf</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.<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>08/16/2016ELCA presiding bishop reflects on work of the church and looks to future prioritieshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7851http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7851<div class="ExternalClass64C7204D32F1414A92333F48FE26BDE9"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; NEW ORLEANS&#160; – In her report to the 2016 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton reflected on the ELCA's work over the past three years and lifted up future priorities for the church.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton said much of her focus the past three years has been on the &quot;how and why we do this work,&quot; reminding the assembly of her four emphases for this church&#58; We are church. We are Lutheran. We are church together. We are church for the sake of the world.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;I think it's important when we organize our work together that we understand that we are church first,&quot; Eaton said. &quot;And we need to be clear that our lives are formed by word and sacrament, that we gather as the beloved children of God around the means of grace, that our lives are in Christ.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Emphasizing the Lutheran identity and the distinctive Lutheran voice, Eaton said she hoped the church is beginning to understand that &quot;God is calling us to be a diverse, inclusive, multicultural church.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;What does that look like? What does Lutheran look like?&quot; asked Eaton.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We have to be very, very careful that we don't define ourselves by culture or by cuisine. There are more Lutherans of color throughout the world and throughout the Lutheran federation than there are European descent Lutherans,&quot; said Eaton.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In an effort to focus on theology as that which defines and unifies all Lutherans, Eaton told the assembly she is calling this church to read the small catechism together from now until October 2017.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Focusing on being church together, Eaton said it is important members understand that church goes beyond the four walls of their congregations to include synods and the whole of the ELCA.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;But it's not just the ELCA. We are part of The Lutheran World Federation where we are church together, with churches from all across the world. And we're not just Lutheran,&quot; said Eaton referring to the ELCA's six full communion partners.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We just can't somehow ignore that we live in an interreligious culture right now and that we need to work together, particularly at this time in this country when there's so much fear of the other, particularly of people of other religious traditions,&quot; she said.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton lifted up the AMMPARO strategy as &quot;a wonderful example of what we can do better together than we can do apart.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; AMMPARO – the ELCA's strategy to Accompany Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities – was passed by this assembly Aug. 10.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; As a church for the sake of the world, Eaton said, &quot;Some of the most important words that are spoken in a liturgy are&#58; Go in peace, serve the Lord. So we're sent out each worship time to be engaged in the world, understanding that we're nurtured by the sacraments and the word but that we are called to serve this world and not to see people as problems to be solved.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In her report, Eaton also reflected on the upcoming 15th anniversary of the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, sharing the story of an ELCA chaplain in New York who anointed with oil the sign of the cross on firefighters as they entered the World Trade Center. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;In baptism, we have all been marked with the cross of Christ and are all called not to run away but to run to those dark and deadly places, bringing the light and life of Christ,&quot; she said. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In addressing the work ahead for this church, Eaton emphasized the importance of working together across the church on issues such as immigration reform and racial injustice.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We are working with our partners, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, to settle immigrants, especially the Syrian immigrants as they come over here and … welcome them so they become a part of our fabric of our country ... but we have to keep our focus. These are children of God. They're human beings,&quot; she said.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Speaking to the issue of white privilege, Eaton told the assembly, &quot;We didn't create it. We inherited it. But now that we know that it exists, and our eyes are open, we are complicit if we don't do something to change laws and attitudes so that there is a level playing field in this country and so there is liberty and justice for all.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;But we can't do it alone or in isolation,&quot; she added. &quot;We deeply need all of our brothers and sisters of color, for us to understand what life is like in this country, and then we need to commit ourselves to do something about it. So please, would you go back to your congregations – and this is a tough one – and right now if this is being live streamed and you can quote this and tweet this out&#58; Pastors, when you start to get pushback from your congregations, just blame it on me.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;But we can't do everything all the time everywhere,&quot; said Eaton, emphasizing &quot;Called Forward Together in Christ,&quot; an initiative that asks members to join a conversation about the future priorities of the ELCA. Eaton urged those at the assembly to have conversations around this initiative in their congregations.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In closing Eaton told the assembly, &quot;We have work to do. God will give us energy and the courage and the will to do it. Let's go, church.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The assembly – the highest legislative authority of the ELCA – is meeting at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Meeting under the theme &quot;Freed and Renewed in Christ&#58; 500 Years of God's Grace in Action,&quot; the assembly's business will include preparations for observing the 500<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. </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.<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>08/12/2016ELCA approves Word and Service rosterhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7850http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7850<div class="ExternalClassE9216A0BCA714A9C9D89937B5C9AC7E9"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; NEW ORLEANS (Aug.12, 2016) –The 2016 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly, by a vote of 811 to 55, approved adoption of the roster of Ministry of Word and Service.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, associates in ministry, deaconesses of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and diaconal ministers will be a single, unified roster of Ministry of Word and Service. The accompanying constitutional amendments related to the roster were also considered and approved by the assembly. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Riding the waves of decades of prayerful discussion and discernment and standing on the firm foundation laid by associates in ministry, deaconesses and diaconal ministers, we are now poised to move forward even more faithfully, energetically and creatively in being church for the sake of the world in the name and way of Jesus,&quot; said the Rev. William O. Gafkjen, bishop of the ELCA Indiana-Kentucky Synod, chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops and co-chair of the Word and Service task force.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;I can imagine all sorts of new and creative possibilities for pastors and deacons working and leading side by side, each with their own particular gifts and call, in addressing the missional needs of the church as we walk together into God's unfolding future. I am also hopeful that deacons, in whatever role or arena they serve, will also assist the whole people of God in living deeply into their own call to serve as Jesus serves in daily life,&quot; continued Gafkjen. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The assembly – the highest legislative authority of the ELCA – is meeting at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Meeting under the theme &quot;Freed and Renewed in Christ&#58; 500 Years of God's Grace in Action,&quot; the assembly's business will include preparations for observing the 500<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. </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 style="margin&#58;0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">For information contact&#58;<br></font></span><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br></font> </span><a><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</font></span></a><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><br><font color="#000000"> Nathan Gafkjen **<br></font> </span><a><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">Nathan.Gafkjen@ELCA.org</font></span></a>​</p><p><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,serif;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">**Nathan Gafkjen is an intern for the Strategic Communications team of the ELCA. He is a 2016 graduate of Valparaiso (Ind.) University, with a Bachelor of Arts in theology and ministry and a minor in communications.<br></font> <br> </span>​</p></div>08/12/2016ELCA elects vice presidenthttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7849http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7849<div class="ExternalClassAABB6BB2E4FE46AFA50A256BFF2AC5DB"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; NEW ORLEANS – William B. Horne II of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Clearwater, Fla., was elected vice president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) by the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Horne was elected on the fourth ballot with 565 votes to 175 votes for Cheryl G. Stuart of St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Tallahassee, Fla., and 161 votes for Becky Blue of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, S.D.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;First of all, thanks be to God,&quot; said Horne addressing the assembly following the election. &quot;I really believe that his Spirit has been with us all of our assembly, and especially during the election process. I want to thank all of you for your discipline and your support.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The position of vice president is the highest a layperson can hold in the ELCA. Carlos Peña, the current vice president, has served for 13 years. Peña did not seek a third term. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Brothers and sisters, I love this church. I love you. We have a lot of work to do, and I know that our dedication and our commitment to each other and our hard work will make the ELCA what God wants us to be. Thank you very much.&quot; </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The assembly – the highest legislative authority of the ELCA – is meeting at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Meeting under the theme &quot;Freed and Renewed in Christ&#58; 500 Years of God's Grace in Action,&quot; the assembly's business will include preparations for observing the 500<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. </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> <br></p><p>​</p></div>08/12/2016ELCA approves Lutheran-Catholic ecumenical documenthttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7848http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7848<div class="ExternalClassFCE156E6345C4C81B72BBD07E046CB48"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; ​NEW ORLEANS (Aug.10, 2016) – The 2016 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly took several significant steps Wednesday moving forward the mission of this church as a church for the sake of the world. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; By a vote of 931 to 9, the assembly overwhelmingly accepted the &quot;Declaration on the Way,&quot; a unique ecumenical document that marks a path toward greater unity between Catholics and Lutherans. Following the vote, an emotional assembly stood to applaud the momentous decision.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; At the heart of the document are 32 &quot;Statements of Agreement&quot; that state where Lutherans and Catholics do not have church-dividing differences on topics about church, ministry and the Eucharist. More tentatively, the document also explores differences that remain.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Dear sisters and brothers, let us pause to honor this historic moment,&quot; said ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton addressing the assembly following the vote. &quot;Though we have not yet arrived, we have claimed that we are, in fact, on the way to unity. After 500 years of division and 50 years of dialogue, this action must be understood in the context of other significant agreements we have reached, most notably the 'Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification' in 1999.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;This 'Declaration on the Way' helps us to realize more fully our unity in Christ with our Catholic partners, but it also serves to embolden our commitment to unity with all Christians,&quot; said Eaton.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; To honor the occasion, Eaton presented a gift of communion ware made especially for the assembly to Bishop Denis J. Madden, auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and co-chair of the 'Declaration on the Way' task force. ELCA Presiding Bishop Emeritus Mark Hanson served as co-chair from the ELCA. The task force had gathered and presented to the church agreements reached in dialogues between Lutherans and Catholics.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;I feel so privileged and so grateful to have spent these few days with you. Speaking with you, sharing time with you, and praying with you,&quot; Madden said. &quot;I thank you for allowing me and my colleagues to join you in the Eucharist celebrations which have been a great joy and always a remembrance that soon we will be celebrating these together as one body.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The assembly expressed gratitude for the pioneering ecumenical text and commended the declaration (together with other ecumenical texts) as a resource &quot;for the common life of the church as we approach 2017 and beyond.&quot; Concerning the &#160;Statement of Agreements, the assembly's action to receive the 32 common affirmations &quot;recognized that there are no longer church dividing issues' &#160;between Lutherans and Catholics with respect to these statements. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160; In another major consideration, the assembly voted 921 to 11 in favor of AMMPARO – the ELCA's strategy to Accompany Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA developed this strategy based on commitments to uphold and guarantee the basic human rights and safety of migrant children and their families; to address the root causes of migration in countries from Central America's Northern Triangle and Mexico and the treatment of migrants in transit; to work toward just and humane policies affecting migrants in and outside the U.S.; to engage as a church with all of its companions, affiliates and partners to respond to the migration situation and its causes; and to advocate for migrant children and their families.&#160; </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The assembly also voted 895 to 23 to accept the 2017-2019 budget proposal approved and recommended by the ELCA Church Council. The budget proposal includes&#58; </p><ul style="list-style-type&#58;disc;"><li>a 2017 current fund spending authorization of $65,296,005 and a 2017 ELCA World Hunger spending authorization of $24.8 million;</li><li>a 2018 current fund income proposal of $64,057,220 and a 2018 ELCA World Hunger income proposal of $25 million; and</li><li>a 2019 current fund income proposal of $64,151,175 and a 2019 ELCA World Hunger income proposal of $25 million.</li></ul><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; ​The assembly – the highest legislative authority of the ELCA – is meeting at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Meeting under the theme &quot;Freed and Renewed in Christ&#58; 500 Years of God's Grace in Action,&quot; the assembly's business will include preparations for observing the 500<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. </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> ​<br></p><p>​</p></div>08/10/2016ELCA assembly receives vice president final report and morehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7847http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7847<div class="ExternalClassA0C7AC6A63EC45BF8C3FFD4387ED02EC"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; NEW ORLEANS – Recognizing the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) as a Book of Faith church, ELCA Vice President Carlos Peña reflected on the 10th chapter of Luke as he opened his Aug. 9 final report to the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few,&quot; Peña said. &quot;I think sometimes that's because there is so much to harvest that we don't know where to begin.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Look at where God has planted you. God put you there for a reason. … You don't need to travel across country to participate in the latest demonstration. Your harvest can be in your own workplace, your own home, your organizations, your community. There is plenty to be done close to home.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In his report, Peña laid out the recommendations of the ELCA Church Council for actions to be considered by the assembly, including election of a new vice president. Peña, who has served in this role since 2003, has decided not to seek a third term. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The first ballot for the election of vice president was held Aug. 8, with 716 votes cast by assembly voting members. A total of 541 votes were needed for election. The top three results were&#58; 102 ballots cast for William B. Horne, Clearwater, Fla.; 62 for Gwen Arneson, Cottonwood, Minn.;&#160;and 45 for Thomas Madden, Rochester, N.Y. There was no election at this time. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Following Peña's report, the assembly stood to recognize his 13 years of service. Peña was presented with the Servus Dei Award, which honors ELCA officers at the completion of their terms. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We give thanks to God for the contributions Carlos has made to the life of this church,&quot; ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton said. &quot;May God grant him persistent hope in the gospel we proclaim and delight in remembering the privilege of serving as the fourth vice president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.&quot; </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; On this day the assembly also received an introduction to &quot;Declaration on the Way,&quot; presented by ELCA Presiding Bishop Emeritus Mark S. Hanson and Bishop Denis J. Madden, auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Baltimore – co-chairs of the Declaration on the Way task force. The document draws on 50 years of Lutheran-Catholic dialogue in preparation for the Reformation anniversary. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;The text invites ELCA members to claim and to celebrate how far Catholics and Lutherans have come in ecumenical dialogue, and seeks to inspire ELCA members to continue the theological work which Lutherans and Catholics have done together so fruitfully; to continue to grow in common prayer and study; and to continue collaboration and care for the hurting world which God so loves,&quot; Hanson said.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;The hope is that this declaration can contribute to this ongoing reformation of the church and to grow in communion between Catholics and Lutherans,&quot; Madden said. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Concluding the presentation Hanson said, &quot;What is before this assembly is the opportunity for this church, guided by its vision of Christian unity and claiming God's grace, to take this further step 'on the way' as we journey to 2017 and beyond.&quot; </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In another presentation before the assembly, the Rev. M. Wyvetta Bullock, ELCA executive for administration, introduced the 2017-2019 budget proposal, developed in consultation with the budget and finance committee of the Church Council and approved by the council. The assembly will consider and vote on the adoption of the budget proposal for the next triennium on Aug.10. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;The budget proposal for the next triennium that is before you is about the mission to which we believe God is calling this church,&quot; Bullock said. &quot;Each dollar represents our hope to touch a life and be part of God's transforming work in the world. Whether it is a grant to start a new congregation, support for new and emerging leaders, accompaniment of global or ecumenical partners, or stewarding the necessary infrastructure to enable ministry to happen in this country or around the world, this budget represents how we are church together for the sake of the world.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Bullock told the assembly that the combined 2017 budget proposal for the current operating funds and ELCA World Hunger is $90,096,005.&#160; The largest portion of the income proposal is mission support income, estimated at $43.8 million.&#160; Mission support is the portion of regular financial offerings from ELCA congregations that is shared with synods and the churchwide organization to support ELCA ministries beyond the congregation.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Bullock said the largest expense category in the combined budget proposal is providing relief and development in this country and around the world.&#160; Other major expense categories include growing the ELCA, growing the Lutheran church around the world, and supporting and developing current and future leaders in the ELCA.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The assembly also received an introduction to AMMPARO – the ELCA's strategy to Accompany Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities – to be considered during the Aug. 10 afternoon plenary.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160; &#160;In the presentation the Rev. Raf​ael Malpica Padilla, executive director for ELCA Global Mission, described the conditions that lead people to leave their homes, seeking refuge in the United States.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;In numbers never seen before, over 65 million persons worldwide have been displaced from their homes by violence, poverty and economic marginalization, the impact of climate change in their communities, war and civil strife,&quot; he said. &quot;As the ELCA we cannot keep silent nor be inactive. We are taking action. We are working with companions all over the world and in the United States to welcome the stranger and provide refuge.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Emphasizing AMMPARO as a holistic, whole church response, the Rev. Stephen P. Bouman, executive director for ELCA Domestic Mission, said the strategy &quot;incorporates the three expressions of the ELCA&#58; congregations, synods and the churchwide office, plus strategic allies such as ecumenical partners, Lutheran social ministry organizations, and trusted partners such as Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.&quot; </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We started this process by listening to migrants on the journey,&quot; Bouman said. &quot;After listening to the many stories and seeing firsthand the conditions faced by migrants at all points in the journey, we came together to build an initiative that would comprehensively respond at all points of a migrant's journey. This initiative is growing organically as this movement is bringing together the many things already happening in our church.&quot; </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The assembly also received&#58;</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; An overview and introduction to the constitutional amendments that will be considered in implementing the proposed roster of word and service. The action will be considered Aug. 12. </p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; A report from the Nominating Committee.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Greetings from Bishop Medardo Gόmez of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church in El Salvador; Beth Lewis, president and CEO of 1517 Media, also known as Augsburg Fortress; and Patti Austin, president of Women of the ELCA.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; An assembly schedule is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/CWA-2016/Schedule"><span lang="EN" style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">ELCA.org/CWA-2016/Schedule</span></a>. The assembly live-stream is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/cwalive"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">elca.org/cwalive</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.<br> <br></p><p>For information contact&#58;<br>Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</p><p><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">&#160;</span></p><p>​</p></div>08/10/2016