ELCA News Bloghttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/Palestinian Authority payment eases Augusta Victoria Hospital’s financesELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/69http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/69<div class="ExternalClassCB5B557E83474C3F96B2DA2397EC69E7"><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Augusta Victoria Hospital, located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, has received &quot;a substantial amount of receivables&quot; from the Palestinian Authority, averting a financial crisis. According to The Lutheran World Federation, the payment was made in November after ongoing advocacy efforts. The funds will help cover unpaid bills for patients referred to the hospital by the Palestinian Authority.</span></p><p>The hospital is a program of The Lutheran World Federation, a global communion of 142 churches representing more than 70 million Christians in 79 countries. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is the communion's only member church from the United States.</p><p>Earlier in 2014, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop, requested that the U.S. government allocate a portion of its bilateral support to the Palestinian Authority to pay its debt to Augusta Victoria Hospital. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Eaton wrote that the &quot;debt arose from unpaid treatments in 2013 for patients referred by the Palestinian National Authority to Augusta Victoria Hospital.&quot;</p><p>Eaton also noted that the ELCA continues to provide annual financial support to the hospital, which cared for nearly 28,000 inpatients and outpatients in 2012. The hospital's specialized care centers offered more than 13,200 dialysis sessions, nearly 10,000 chemotherapy sessions and more than 14,000 interventions in the radiation oncology unit on an outpatient basis.</p><p>The hospital &quot;is able to continue delivering its relevant specialized health services,&quot; said the Rev. Martin Junge, general secretary of The Lutheran World Federation. &quot;With the support of USAID and the European Union Nov. 17, 2014, the Palestinian Authority was able to pay outstanding patient bills&quot; he said, adding that &quot;while this payment covers a substantial amount of the due patient fees, all receivables are not fully paid.&quot;​</p></div>12/18/2014Fred Renwick, former ELCA board member, diesELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/68http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/68<div class="ExternalClass4EEB799D7E074630AFE0DA92D8E7AF9B"><p>​Fred B. Renwick, a former member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Board of Pensions and the ELCA Foundation board, died Dec. 4 at his home in New York City. Renwick, 84, suffered a stroke in January and had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. <br>Renwick had been a member of Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church in New York City since 1965 and served as congregation president from 1980-1984. He was a founding member of Saint Peter’s Trust and was its chair for more than 20 years.<br>In the late 1970s, Renwick served on the board of the Lutheran Church in America Foundation. The Lutheran Church in America merged with the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches and The American Lutheran Church to form the ELCA in 1988. Renwick also was a founding member of the Wartburg Foundation, where he served 10 years as chair of the Foundation Board. <br>A member of the faculty at New York University since 1965, Renwick was a retired professor of finance at the university’s Graduate School of Business Administration. He also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Morehouse College and in 2012 was made a lifetime honorary Trustee of the college. The honor was bestowed by President Barack Obama.</p></div>12/15/2014Wilma Kucharek re-elected bishop of ELCA Slovak Zion Synod ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/67http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/67<div class="ExternalClass870A0A90940348A7B338BD28A2F1518E"><p>​The Rev. Wilma S. Kucharek was re-elected to serve a third six-year term as bishop of the Slovak Zion Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). She was re-elected during the Synod Assembly Nov. 16-23.</p><p>Prior to becoming bishop in 2002, Kucharek served as pastor of Holy Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Mahanoy City, Pa., from 1982 to 1986; St. John Lutheran Church, St. Clair, Pa., from 1982 to 1986; and St. John Lutheran Church, Nanticoke, Pa., from 1983 to 1986.</p><p>Kucharek earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind., and a Master of Divinity degree and Master of Sacred Theology degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in Gettysburg, Pa. – one of eight ELCA seminaries.</p><p>Information about the ELCA Slovak Zion Synod is available at <a href="http&#58;//slovakzionsynod.org/">http&#58;//slovakzionsynod.org/</a>.</p></div>11/26/2014ELCA, United Methodist Church observe fifth anniversary of full communion agreementELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/66http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/66<div class="ExternalClass758CB8EE1FE14F068CB2DA313E5B95EF"><p>The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the United Methodist Church observed the fifth anniversary as full communion partners during a Nov. 13 worship service at the Lutheran Center in Chicago.</p><p>In his sermon, the Rev. Wayne N. Miller, bishop of the ELCA Metropolitan Chicago Synod, said, “We come together to celebrate a convergence of two great Christian traditions. One initiated by Martin Luther and the other John Wesley.”</p><p>Miller spoke about the early days of each faith and said that, although both denominations were “thoroughly grounded in the word,” their “contexts were different.”</p><p>“The paths of these traditions diverged for many, many years until now,” he said. “Because we, you and I, sisters and brothers, on this day when the evening is nearly over, have been granted the extraordinary grace to meet again on the road, and in a very modest way, to reassemble the whole body of Christ – head, hand and heart together – by tipping the walls that might otherwise separate us on their sides, and to transform those walls into a table set by the etiquette of three simple rules to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God.”</p><p>“This is yet another partial fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer that all may be one for the sake of the world, that they might believe,” said the Rev. Jonathan W. Linman, assistant to the bishop for faith and leadership formation, ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod, and one of the co-chairs of the ELCA – United Methodist coordinating committee. The committee, which meets every nine months, helps coordinate the relationships among church staff as they share ministry and resources. The committee met at the Lutheran Center Nov. 13-14. </p><p>“We give thanks to God for the opportunity to celebrate five years of full communion – to reflect on what we have, by God's grace, been able to accomplish together, and to renew our commitments to the unity we have in Christ,” said Kathryn Lohre, executive for ELCA ecumenical and inter-religious relations. “Our full communion partnership is grounded in a common commitment to evangelism, witness and service. It is no coincidence that evangelical outreach has been the recent focus of the coordinating committee's work, and we pray that this will become a hallmark of Lutheran-Methodist partnerships throughout our churches in the years to come.”</p><p>Full communion is not a merger between denominations. It is a relationship based on common confessing of the Christian faith and mutual recognition of Baptism and sharing of the Lord’s Supper. The churches worship together and may exchange clergy.</p><p>The Rev. Dr. Edgardo Colón-Emeric, assistant professor of Christian theology at Duke University and also a committee co-chair, said the observance of the fifth anniversary means, “a celebration of a new relationship. One that is in the process of sowing and beginning to see the first shoots of what we hope to harvest. (It) is not a relationship that is an agreement that stays on paper, but something that brings new life to the mission of our churches.”</p><p>Highlights of the ELCA and United Methodist Church agreement include&#58; joint mission, especially in the areas of evangelical outreach and congregational vitality; clergy exchanges; and the development of a one-day ELCA-United Methodist Church retreat model for Lutherans and Methodists in local communities to come together to learn about each church’s traditions. The coordinating committee is also exploring how the two churches can further engage in the area of advocacy. </p><p>“The Lutheran church has such an amazing heritage and an amazing history,” said Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, United Methodist Church ecumenical officer for the Council of Bishops. “So, for us United Methodists to deepen our relationship, and to realize we are part of the family of God together, and to share our visible signs of unity, it broadens our understanding and it improves our discipleship. I believe we are living into the prayer that Jesus prayed that we might be one that the world might believe. I just feel like it’s what God has called us into and that we’re living into the possibility where the time is right, and it really is time for us to celebrate that union.”</p><p>In addition to the Methodist Church, the ELCA is in full communion with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), the Reformed Church in America, the United Church of Christ, The Episcopal Church and the Moravian Church in America. <br></p></div>11/21/2014A new consortium supports Lutheran Disaster Response, social ministry affiliatesELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/65http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/65<div class="ExternalClass8E5CD17A659C494882785B74A9AAF257"><p>​<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Lutheran Disaster Response will participate in a new Midwest Disaster Consortium designed to create sustainability among four social ministry organizations affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) disaster response ministry. The social ministry organizations active in the consortium include Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota, and Lutheran Family and Children's Services of Missouri.</span></p><p>&#160;</p><p>&quot;We are pleased to be able to help facilitate and participate in this consortium that will help our affiliates become more effective in their response to disasters, with the ultimate goal of &#160;effectively helping people and communities impacted by disasters,&quot; said the Rev. Michael Stadie, program director for Lutheran Disaster Response.<br> <br>The social ministry organizations that will compose the Midwest Disaster Consortium have been providing disaster response services for a combined total of more than 100 years. This consortium is made possible through a grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation. The grant period began Oct. 1 and continues to Sept. 30, 2016. The sustainability provided by this grant ensures that each organization in the consortium will be able to continue its important work in assisting communities with disaster-related needs, especially among the most vulnerable populations in low-profile, non-federally declared disasters. The consortium will put an emphasis on developing best practices around disaster case management, which consists of helping those impacted by disaster navigate the recovery process on an individual basis and developing long-term recovery strategies, which include addressing the unmet needs of impacted communities that exist months and years after a disaster occurs. <br><br>Lutheran Disaster Response enables ELCA members and others to respond to disasters in the United States and overseas with a focus on long-term recovery, accompanying and providing assistance to people and communities impacted by disaster as they navigate their way through recovery.</p></div>11/19/2014ELCA receives over $2.5 million for Typhoon Haiyan relief effortsELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/64http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/64<div class="ExternalClass3B483E85DB7E46D282FB0F9E23806DA7"><p>​Since Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines a year ago, impacting about 13 million people, members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and others have contributed more than $2.5 million for the ELCA’s humanitarian assistance for the storm's survivors. The funds are disbursed through Lutheran Disaster Response to support ongoing recovery efforts carried out by Lutheran World Relief and the National Council of Churches of the Philippines. </p><p>“It has been a year since typhoon Haiyan struck and there have been many natural disasters around the world in the intervening months, but God hasn't forgotten the people of the Philippines and neither has the ELCA,” said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop. “We continue to support relief work and will stay until the job is done.”</p><p>In observance of the first anniversary of the storm, Carl Stecker, ELCA director for diakonia, said “we pray for those who remember and mourn their losses. We remember those still struggling to recover homes and livelihoods; and in solidarity, the ELCA continues to provide funds for the ongoing recovery and rehabilitation efforts of Lutheran World Relief and the National Council of Churches of the Philippines.”</p><p>Stecker traveled to the Philippines in June with the Rev. Stephen S. Talmage, bishop of the ELCA Grand Canyon Synod, and colleagues from Lutheran World Relief to observe relief and recovery activities. The most recent disbursement of funds was in September, when the ELCA provided $400,000 to assist in relief efforts of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines.</p><p>Since the days immediately following the disaster, funds from the ELCA have helped provide food, shelter repair kits, safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene materials, mosquito nets, kitchen sets and school kits. The assistance also helped in the implementation of cash-for-work activities that included debris removal and clean-up.</p><p>“Typhoon Haiyan, which is locally called Typhoon Yolanda, will be a day that no one in the Philippines will forget,” said Stecker. “They will remember where they were, what they were doing and who they were with when the typhoon struck – much like people of my generation do when they recall the death of President John F. Kennedy. Those in the areas most violently impacted will remember with tears the loved ones they have lost, and homes and livelihoods destroyed. Many in less affected areas will remember early Christmas parties cancelled and replaced by packing parties – packing food, water and other necessities to be sent to the affected areas. It was a time of national solidarity between those who escaped this typhoon and those who lost everything.”&#160; </p><p>Information about Lutheran Disaster Response is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/Lutheran-Disaster-Response/Our-Impact/Pacific-Typhoon">http&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/Lutheran-Disaster-Response/Our-Impact/Pacific-Typhoon</a>.<br></p></div>11/14/2014