ELCA NEWS SERVICE
August 24, 2011
Lohre named to ELCA ecumenical, inter-religious relations staff
CHICAGO (ELCA) - The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has named Kathryn Mary Lohre director of ecumenical and inter-religious relations, effective October 2011. She will join a team under the leadership of Donald McCoid, assistant to the presiding bishop, Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations, who expressed his gratitude for Lohre's willingness to serve the ELCA in this vital capacity.
McCoid noted that Lohre brings "great gifts and important ecumenical and interfaith experience to our churchwide ministry." McCoid specifically named her current position as assistant director of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, a research project on the changing religious landscape in the U.S., where she has been on staff since 2000.
"Her deep commitment to the ecumenical and interfaith participation and formation of young adults in the life of the church will be an important area of her work in this new position," McCoid concluded. "I'm confident that she will build on the solid foundation of Dr. Michael Trice, whom she succeeds."
In November 2011, Lohre will be installed as the president of the National Council of Churches, the first Lutheran and ELCA member to hold this position, as well as the youngest woman to do so.
Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson extended his congratulations as he welcomed Lohre to the ELCA churchwide organization:
"The ELCA's firm commitment to deepening ecumenical partnerships and expanding inter-religious relationships will be strengthened by her leadership. She knows from her own experience how young adults often begin to explore other religions out of the context of personal relationships and spirituality. As the first Lutheran and ELCA member who will serve as president of the National Council of Churches in Christ, she will sustain our commitment to conciliar ecumenism. From the Pluralism Project at Harvard she brings first hand knowledge of the changing landscape of inter-religious relations. I am so very delighted that Kathryn will be joining our staff."
In response, Lohre affirmed her appreciation for the opportunity to "serve the church in the calling we share to build relations with other Christians and with people of other faiths."
She identified as particularly challenging the questions raised by living out this call to "love thy neighbor" in an age of unprecedented religious diversity. "I very much look forward to engaging in this work with colleagues across the three expressions of the ELCA who share my passion for and commitment to ecumenical and inter-religious engagement."
Lohre brings a wide range of experience to her new position. She is currently serving on behalf of the ELCA as a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches and is a member of the Bishop's Communal Discernment Task Force. She previously served on the Bishop's Global, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relationships Roundtable, the Commission for Women Steering Committee and as an assistant to the ELCA Youth Gathering (2000).
Lohre is a summa cum laude graduate of St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., and earned the Master of Divinity degree at Harvard Divinity School. In May 2011, the Graduate Theological Foundation, Mishawaka, Ind., conferred an honorary Doctor of Divinity to Lohre, "in recognition of her election as president-elect of the National Council of Churches and also in recognition of her contributions to women's interfaith issues and pluralism."
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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with approximately 4.2 million members in 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," 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.
For information contact:
773-380-2968 or Marianne.Griebler@elca.org