A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.
ELCA members celebrate Palm Sunday
On Sunday, March 29, Christians throughout the world observed Palm Sunday. This day inaugurates the most important week of the Christian year, beginning with Jesus’ glorious entry into Jerusalem and ending with his crucifixion and death. Palm Sunday, also known as Passion Sunday, remembers Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, as crowds gathered around him, waving palms and shouting “Hosanna!”. Many ELCA congregations commemorate Palm Sunday with processions and waving of palm branches.
The Sunday school bell choir from Beckville Lutheran Church in Litchfield, Minn., performed for the first time on Palm Sunday. The group is called All God's Ringers.
The congregation of American Lutheran Church in Burbank, Calif., gathers outside before the processional into the church.
The congregation of St. Mark’s in Mooresville, N.C., gathers before processing inside for Palm Sunday worship.
ELCA members help commemorate the 1965 Selma march
Some members of the ELCA joined civil rights activists, faith leaders and elected officials, including President Barack Obama, in Alabama March 7-8 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march. The ELCA social statement "Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture,” adopted by the ELCA 1993 Churchwide Assembly, expresses the ELCA’s calling to regard seriously culture and ethnicity, confront racism, to engage in public leadership, witness and deliberation, and to advocate for justice and fairness for all people.
Members of the ELCA delegation that traveled to Selma stand on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Ian McConnell (center), a student at the ELCA’s Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., stands with Bishop Paul L. Leeland from the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church (left), and Neil McDavid, director for Conference Ministries of the United Methodist Church.
The ELCA delegation meets with Maxine Waters, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California, and Deval Patrick, a former Massachusetts governor.
The ELCA 2013 Churchwide Assembly asked ELCA members to call on local, state and federal governments to guarantee the right to vote to all citizens and to discourage or eliminate all laws, ordinances or regulations that would have the effect of racial and ethnic discrimination in the exercise of that right.
Crowds gather on the Edmund Pettus Bridge where on March 7, 1965, protestors demonstrating for the right to vote departed from Selma for Montgomery and were met by law enforcement as they crossed the bridge. The events of that day – also known as Bloody Sunday – led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
John Lewis (center), a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia, was one of the many civil rights leaders who marched in Selma 50 years ago.
Extravaganza energizes youth, family leaders
More than 1,000 ELCA youth and family workers gathered in Detroit Jan. 30 – Feb. 2 for the 19th annual ELCA Youth and Family Ministry’s Extravaganza. The event provides youth and family leaders the opportunity to renew and revitalize their ministry and also a chance to bond with each other over common experiences. This year’s theme, “Story: God’s, Ours, Yours, Mine,” focused on how God's story is interconnected with the story happening in people’s lives today.
A Martin Luther bobblehead stands in front of Detroit’s Ford Field, where the ELCA Youth Gathering will be held July 15-19, 2015. Extravaganza participants had the opportunity to tour the venue.
Minneapolis hip-hop artist Dave Scherer – also known as Agape – performs while Extravaganza participants join in.
Jonathan Swenson – an ELCA pastor and a trained actor and founder of Paraphrase Theatre in Cedar Rapids, Iowa – presents a dramatic monologue at the Extravaganza.
The ELCA Youth Ministry Network aims to strengthen and empower adult leaders who work in child, youth and family ministry in ELCA congregations and in other areas of the church.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton preached at the Extravaganza’s opening worship.
Phil Ruge, a professor of religion at Texas Lutheran University and also a storyteller, tells the story of the Gospel of Mark during the Extravaganza. He tells the story of Mark 3-6, as a participant simultaneously illustrates it on a giant 8-foot Bible.
In an interactive exercise for two-person teams, participants chose a religious symbol that represents their life story. Team members then “branded,” or marked, each other with the chosen symbol.
An audience with Pope Francis
In an endeavor to learn, share and deepen dialogue with Christian partners around the world, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton led a delegation of ELCA leaders in February 2015 to meet with religious leaders in Geneva, London and Rome, which included a general audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
(photos/The Vatican. The ELCA received permission to publish these photos exclusively on www.ELCA.org. Any other use is prohibited.)
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton greets Pope Francis during the February ELCA Ecumenical Journey.
William E. Flippin Jr. greets Pope Francis during the 2015 Ecumenical Journey led by ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. William is a member of the ELCA Church Council and is the pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Atlanta.
Donald McCoid, director for ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations, presents Pope Francis with a gift during the 2015 Ecumenical Journey led by ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton presents Pope Francis with letters from students attending St. Paul’s School in San Francisco. The letters include one from the daughter of Elizabeth Ekdale. Elizabeth, a member of the ELCA Church Council and pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco, participated in the 2015 ELCA Ecumenical Journey led by Eaton.
In addition to greeting Pope Francis, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and other ELCA leaders met with representatives of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Congregation for Bishops in The Roman Curia, and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton visits the “Room of Tears” during the ELCA Ecumenical Journey.
A view of St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
The ELCA delegation included Donald P. Kreiss (far right), bishop of the ELCA Southeast Michigan Synod; Kathryn Lohre, executive for ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations (left); and Donald McCoid (next to Lohre), director for ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations. ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton (center) led the delegation.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and other ELCA leaders met with representatives of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity during the 2015 ELCA Ecumenical Journey.
ELCA delegation visits Europe
In an endeavor to learn, share and deepen dialogue with Christian partners around the world, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton led a delegation of ELCA leaders in February to meet with religious leaders in Geneva, London and Rome. In particular, the ELCA delegation met with representatives of The Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches, visited the Anglican Consultative Council, the Church of England, and met with Justin Welby – the archbishop of Canterbury. They also participated in a general audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
Ioan Sauca, associate general secretary and director of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey of the World Council of Churches, tells the ELCA delegation about the spiritual transformation that takes place in the lives of students who take turns leading ecumenical prayers each morning in the chapel at the Swiss institute.
As part of ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s 2015 Ecumenical Journey, ELCA leaders met with representatives of the World Council of Churches in Geneva. The ELCA delegation toured the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre, which houses The Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches offices.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton (second from left) leads a delegation of ELCA leaders in a visit to the offices of The Lutheran World Federation based in Geneva. The ELCA is the only U.S. member church of the federation. The Rev. Martin Junge (third from left) is the federation’s general secretary.
An ELCA delegation meets with staff representatives of the Anglican Consultative Council in London. The council facilitates the cooperative work of the churches of the Anglican Communion.
An ELCA delegation meets with Justin Welby (center), archbishop of Canterbury of the Church of England at Lambeth Palace in London. The archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior bishop of the Anglican Communion with 85 million members worldwide.
The ELCA delegation meets with Ioan Sauca (fourth from left), associate general secretary and director of The Ecumenical Institute at Bossey of the World Council of Churches in Switzerland.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton meets with Cardinal Marc Armand Ouellet in a visit to the Congregation for Bishops in the Roman Curia.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton meets with Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran in a visit to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. It was Cardinal Tauran who announced from the balcony the election of Pope Francis.
A visit to Cuba
A group of ELCA members from Chicago; Madison, Wis.; St. Paul, Minn.; and members of The Episcopal Church enjoyed the “sights and sounds of Cuba” and met “warm and welcoming people” in a special trip there Jan. 28-Feb. 2, 2015. According to trip participant Michael Sparby, pastor of Edison Park Lutheran Church in Chicago, churches in Cuba are “vibrant communities of faith eager to extend the love of God in Jesus Christ to their neighbors and eager for partnership with other Christians in the years ahead.”
Led by Ernest Vasseur and Craig Mueller, pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Chicago, the trip was planned prior to a December 2014 announcement from the White House to renew diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Sunday worship at Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Havana.
ELCA members join in prayer with a congregation on land where a new church will be built in Limonar, Cuba.
This cardboard model, held by Gilberto Caballero Elizalde, pastor of Iglesias Episcopal San Juan Evangelista in Coliseo, represents the church a congregation in Limonar, Cuba, hopes to build to replace one destroyed by a hurricane some years ago.
A group of ELCA members from the Midwest traveled to Cuba, where they visited with Lutheran and Episcopal congregations there. The ELCA and The Episcopal Church are full communion partners.
One of the many street bands in Old Havana.
A view from the seminary grounds in the port city of Matanzas, Cuba.