ELCA NEWS SERVICE
September 11, 2012
ELCA presiding bishop to visit church leaders in China
CHICAGO (ELCA) - The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), will meet with national Chinese church leaders Sept. 11-17 in Shanghai and with regional leaders in the Sichuan Province of China to share the current context of mission and explore opportunities for further collaboration and engagement, especially in areas of social services, disaster response, leadership training and more.
"I look forward to deepening our relationship with the leadership of the China Christian Council, the national expression for the Protestant church in China," said Hanson, who will meet with the Rev. Gao Feng, president of the council.
"We will build upon discussions we have had when the council president and other leaders have visited us in the United States. We have focused on theological education, leadership development, lay evangelism, the publication of Bibles and the expansion of the church's work in social services," said Hanson.
Since 2008, ministry efforts between the ELCA and China's Christian councils have come to include disaster response, following earthquakes that struck Sichuan and Yushu. The southwestern region of China is prone to earthquakes. A Sept. 8, 2012, earthquake in the southwest region killed 80 people and forced tens of thousands to evacuate, according to news reports.
"In Sichuan, we will see the impact of the generous financial support of ELCA members in assisting the earthquake relief program of the Sichuan Christian Council," Hanson said.
"Since 2008 that work has included assistance in rebuilding 20 church buildings, care and counseling for school children, and funding for first responders. Now we will discuss the possibility of expanding social service models and cooperation in theological education and lay evangelist training," he said.
The ELCA also has significant engagement in Luzhou, a city in southeastern Sichuan, particularly in social and health care services, community and agricultural development, senior care and children services, rehabilitation with people living with disabilities and more.
Hanson has been invited to preach in the Luzhou parish. "It is through the good news of Jesus Christ that the Holy Spirit joins us in one faith and the one Body of Christ. What a powerful witness in a world that knows divisions and distrust to proclaim together the one gospel," said Hanson.
The ELCA presiding bishop's itinerary includes a visit to the First People's Hospital in Luzhou and the Federation for the Disabled there. Accompanying Hanson is the Rev. Rafael Malpica-Padilla, who is the executive director for global mission at ELCA churchwide ministries, and the Rev. Y. Franklin Ishida, who directs Asia-Pacific ministries at ELCA churchwide ministries.
- - -
About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with 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:
Melissa Ramirez Cooper
773-380-2956 or Melissa.RamirezCooper@ELCA.org
Living Lutheran: http://www.livinglutheran.com