ELCA NEWS SERVICE
June 19, 2007
ELCA to Offer Global Mission Event in Columbus, July 19-22
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) Global Mission Event (GME) is July 19-22 at Ohio State University, Columbus. Endorsed by the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the event will draw more than 2,000 people from the United States and around the world. The theme for this year's event is "New Heaven and New Earth."
"The GME is one of the few Lutheran events that is really focused on global mission, and it's the only intergenerational event. People from infants on up are invited, and we have programming for all ages," said Sunitha Mortha, associate director for global events and mission interpretation, ELCA Global Mission.
The GME will feature 70 "Global University" sessions, global music and worship, general sessions and three-part Global University tracks. Participants can choose from five program tracks that will offer extended sessions in the areas of asset mapping, interfaith dialogue, sustainable development, cross-cultural relationships and hunger connections. The tracks will incorporate simulation games, lectures and small-group discussion.
Immaculée Ilibagiza, survivor of the Rwandan Holocaust and author of "Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust," will be the keynote speaker July 20. Four years after the 1994 tragedy in Rwanda, Ilibagiza emigrated to the United States and began working with the United Nations. She is a member of the U.N. Development Program and founder of the Left to Tell Charitable Fund.
"Immaculée's story is very powerful, coming from a perspective of a person of faith. That someone who has suffered so greatly can arrive at a place of forgiveness and reconciliation brings hope when we are overwhelmed with the suffering of the world," said Mortha.
The opening celebration will feature keynote speaker Grace Wolf-Chase, a member of the astronomy faculty, Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, and senior research associate, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago. As a member of the ELCA Task Force on Education, Wolf-Chase helped draft the proposed social statement on education for the August 2007 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.
Vítor Westhelle, professor of systematic theology, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC), will lead a plenary Bible study on the "New Heaven and New Earth" theme. Westhelle is the author of "The Scandalous God: The Use and Abuse of the Cross."
Priscilla Singh, executive secretary, Women in Church and Society for the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), will kick off the celebration of the LWF 60th anniversary July 21 by sharing how LWF projects engage people around the world to become stewards of precious water resources. A panel of participants, including LWF Council Member David Pfrimmer, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, will deepen the discussion.
The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran tradition, with 140 member churches in 78 countries throughout the world, representing nearly 66.7 million Christians. It is based in Geneva.
Also on July 21, participants will have the opportunity to attend a cultural celebration and 'global fair' where they can sample flavors, sounds, sights and smells from around the world. There will be a presentation of global music and dance, and celebration of the service and commitment of current and former ELCA missionaries attending the GME. The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the ELCA and LWF president, will preach at the closing worship service on July 22.
Each year participants can buy a tote bag to commemorate their presence at the GME. The 2007 bags were designed by MayaWorks, a group of artisans from the highlands of Guatemala. MayaWorks' goal is to create sustainable work for artisans year round and ensure that artisans are paid a fair wage in the local context.
An audio report is available at http://media.ELCA.org/audionews/070614.mp3
Audio of Mortha's comments is available http://media.ELCA.org/audionews/070614a.mp3.
More information about the Global Mission Event is available at http://www.ELCA.org/gme on the Web.
* Lauren A. Lamb is a senior public relations and speech communication major at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. This summer she is an intern with the ELCA News Service.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ELCA News Blog: http://www.elca.org/news/blog