ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/Moved by the Spirit in the midst of strifehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7880http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7880<div class="ExternalClass4F2800176FFB473AB83B9B773A82E6E4"><div>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; More than 7 million people in South Sudan need humanitarian assistance as a result of drought and renewed violence. According to UNICEF, famine was recently declared in the north-central part of the country, where 100,000 people are facing imminent starvation.</div><div></div><div></div><div></div><div>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Recently, the #4famines hashtag has been drawing attention to the four countries that are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing famine&#58; South Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia.&#160;</div><div></div><div></div><div></div><div>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is committed to its ongoing work in South Sudan to help cultivate peace in order to build a sustainable future for the millions affected by civil war and famine.</div><div></div><div></div><div></div><div>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “For the ELCA, support of work in South Sudan and companionship with South Sudanese families has extended for decades. The ELCA is collectively building upon its cooperative work there. And in this time of increased crisis, we are blessed by both relationship and presence,” said the Rev. Daniel Rift, director, ELCA World Hunger and Lutheran Disaster Appeal.</div><div></div><div></div><div></div><div>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA is working with others to deliver immediate famine relief, which forms one of its&#160; three focus areas in the region. The other two, sustainable food security and sustained ministry, center around the church’s long-term commitment to the people of South Sudan to build resilient and empowered communities.</div><div></div><div></div><div></div><div>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; This commitment to the people of South Sudan and the ministerial leadership of those from South Sudan has led to a new church – the Evangelical Lutheran Church Africa Mission in South Sudan. The main component of this new church is the Lutheran Community Center and Clinic, currently under construction in the nation’s capital, Juba. The ELCA is playing a large role by funding the construction of the Center and Clinic.<br></div><div></div><div></div><div>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “This project will train mission leaders, conduct outreach programs and, ultimately, raise up an ethnically and culturally diverse church,” said Andrew Steele, director of ELCA Global Church Sponsorship. “In addition, the Lutheran center hopes to offer computer training and English as a Second Language courses, contributing to youth employment – programming that is based on an evangelism strategy found to be effective in other African nations. The primary health clinic will serve women and children in the community, as well as operate as the country’s first and only fistula clinic.”</div><div></div><div></div><div></div><div>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Once operational, the center will offer holistic health, education and training services for internally displaced people in Juba. It will not only serve as the local community’s one health care provider, it will also provide medical expertise that will broaden its reach to all of Juba – and, potentially, the entire country. </div><div></div><div></div><div></div><div></div><div>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “The church will solidify our continued presence and serve as a visible sign of hope and location for health care, aimed especially at a reduction of maternal and child mortality,” Rift said.</div><div></div><div></div><div></div><div></div><div>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA’s work to create future sustainability includes developing efforts to forge peace and reconciliation in the Upper Nile region of South Sudan in collaboration with the Episcopal Church. The two churches are exploring opportunities to bring together members of multiple ethnic and religious groups, along with the police, military and politicians.<br></div><div></div><div></div><div>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “We need to build conditions so sustainable development can happen. That can only happen through peace and reconciliation,” said the Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director, ELCA Global Mission. “We need to create conditions for political stability.”<br></div><div></div><div></div><div></div><div>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Reflecting on Acts 17&#58;6, Padilla said, “[The ELCA goes] to situations where most people will say, ‘Why is it that you’re there? Who’s bold enough to make this large investment in this country and this community?’ We are.</div><div></div><div></div><div></div><div></div><div>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Moved by the Spirit, we are those people who go to a country that is ravaged by war, where peace looks like a very distant goal, but we decide to walk with people so that peace will have a chance.”<br></div><div></div><div></div><div></div><div>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Get involved now. <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/southsudannow">ELCA.org/SouthSudanNow</a>, #SouthSudanNow</div></div>03/23/2017ELCA’s comprehensive campaign enters fourth year with $113 million raisedhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7879http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7879<div class="ExternalClass4312DA0ACB0E47F7AC6FDE4F22D89125"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO – The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) first comprehensive campaign, <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em>, is celebrating the beginning of its fourth year with $113 million in cash gifts and gift commitments, representing 57 percent of the five-year, $198 million goal by Jan. 31, 2019.&#160;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We said about the campaign, 'Together we can do more.' I think we surprised ourselves. Responding to God's generosity, our people have also been generous. Through the campaign, we have changed lives across this church and around the globe. But our lives have been changed, too,&quot; said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop. &quot;We have discovered that the ELCA is neither helpless nor poor and that truly with God all things are possible. Many thanks to members, congregations and synods for their faithful and adventurous participation in the campaign.&quot;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Through the campaign, ELCA members and congregations are helping strengthen and expand the ministries of this church in four priorities – Congregations, Hunger and Poverty, Leadership and Global Church. The campaign is focused on areas that include growing this church's communities of faith, forming new leaders, welcoming our neighbors, overcoming malaria, confronting hunger and poverty and accompanying our global churches. Gifts to these priorities are already making an impact throughout our church, including&#58; <br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Seventeen women from our global companion churches are studying at ELCA colleges, universities and seminaries, or institutions in or near their home countries through the International Women Leaders initiative. <br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; An expanded scholarship program within ELCA Fund for Leaders will launch this year and empower an additional 60 future leaders with full-tuition scholarships over the next three years.&#160; <br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Thirteen evangelism projects – referred to as Global Ministries – were initiated with our global companion churches, including projects in South Sudan, Cambodia, Siberia, Costa Rica and Honduras. <br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Twenty-one Renewing Congregations initiatives are underway providing congregations access to training, resources and research to help engage younger generations, urban populations, multicultural families and socio-economic challenged groups – and become vital centers for mission.<br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; More than 300 programs in the United States, as well as programs in more than 60 countries around the world, are receiving ELCA World Hunger support to help put an end to hunger.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We are making tremendous progress because of the generosity of our members,&quot; said the Rev. Ron Glusenkamp, director for the campaign. &quot;Just imagine what more can be done as we continue to grow in supporting the people, communities and projects that are a priority for us. All gifts – great and small – really make the difference for our church in the world.&quot; <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In its fourth year, the campaign is focused on the Global Church priority, including Missionaries and Young Adults in Global Mission, International Women Leaders and Global Ministries. Through these programs, we are building up Christ's church by sending missionaries and volunteers, training leaders, planting new churches and growing existing ones. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;2017 marks the 500<sup>th</sup> anniversary of Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation. Lutherans around the world are observing and living into their Lutheran traditions like never before,&quot; said Andrew Steele, director of ELCA Global Church Sponsorship. &quot;And, because of the generosity of ELCA members across this church, we are able to walk alongside our brothers and sisters during this exciting time.&quot; <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Global Church theme year began with an emphasis on International Women's Day earlier this month, which raised awareness and support of the International Women Leaders initiative. In June, congregations will celebrate our Global Ministries on Pentecost Sunday, and in October, the church will lift up the Missionaries and Young Adults in Global Mission program through Global Church Sunday. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;This year, we are celebrating what it means to be a part of the global Lutheran community, learning from the growing Lutheran community around the world and giving thanks for the amazing work God is doing through us and through our companions,&quot; said Steele. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Through several featured priorities, <em>The Campaign for the ELCA</em> seeks to&#58;<br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; increase this church's capacity to support congregational renewal and the planting of new congregations;<br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; form and support new lay, ordained and global leaders for mission;<br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; encourage and form lay youth and young adult leaders;<br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; support the ELCA's disability ministry;<br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; bolster our commitment to walk with global companion churches in shared witness; and<br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; expand our efforts to address poverty and hunger.<br></p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Information about <em>The Campaign for the ELCA</em> is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/campaign"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">ELCA.org/campaign</span></a>.<br>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; 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.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br> &#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>​</p></div>03/22/2017ELCA Conference of Bishops targets developing leaders, congregational growth http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7878http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7878<div class="ExternalClass0E530262964849A78A036F7615A1389B"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;ITASCA (March 16, 2017) – The Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) emphasized leadership development and congregational growth when it met here March 2-7.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The conference is an advisory body of the ELCA that includes 65 synod bishops, the presiding bishop and secretary. The Rev. William O. Gafkjen, bishop of the ELCA Indiana-Kentucky Synod, is conference chair.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In her report to the conference, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton highlighted major initiatives happening across the church, including &quot;Called Forward Together in Christ&#58; Strategic Directions 2025.&quot; Finalized by the ELCA Church Council in November 2016, the document provides a framework for shared leadership across the ELCA to attain common goals and meet challenges the church may face in the future.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Leadership and congregations need to be our primary emphasis as we begin the 'Called Forward Together' in Christ process,&quot; said Eaton.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The bishop also spoke of another focus around leadership development that was introduced last fall. &quot;Bishop Eaton's Leadership Initiative&quot; seeks to inspire members to encourage gifted people in their congregations and communities to consider a call to the ministry of the gospel.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We committed to lifting up leadership and cultivating vital congregations as the two highest priorities for our attention and action as a conference for the foreseeable future,&quot; said Gafkjen. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Recalling the conference's meeting theme, &quot;The Harvest is Plentiful,&quot; Gafkjen said the bishops discussed the priorities of &quot;Called Forward Together in Christ&quot; and the &quot;Resolution on Call Process,&quot; a motion from the 2016 Churchwide Assembly that encourages the Conference of Bishops to continue facilitating and reforming the call process for congregations and institutions in changing contexts.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We unanimously agreed to issue a call to prayer that the Lord of the harvest will send out laborers into the harvest that beckons for more ministers and leaders of various sorts,&quot; said Gafkjen. &quot;We also committed to establishing a working group that will collaborate with seminary leaders and others over the next two years to effectively address this profound need, not only for more rostered ministers and lay leaders, but faithful, wise and courageous leaders who will provide the forms of ministry and leadership needed for this new day in which we find ourselves.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; This engagement with seminary leaders includes&#58;</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; inviting seminary presidents and leaders to attend the Conference of Bishops meetings for both formal and informal conversations to more effectively serve together to support the proclamation of Jesus Christ in the coming years; </p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; focusing on ways to work together to invite people into the vocation of church leadership and better equip people called to serve in mission fields;</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; developing ways to recruit and create a culture of call in our church that includes making available to the Conference of Bishops data on how we are doing at each of our seminaries;</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; exploring global models of catechists and evangelists as possible ways to supplement the work of rostered ministers to better serve this church's mission;</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; sharing encouraging stories that highlight bright spots and best practices in this shared work by synods and seminaries;</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; providing the Conference of Bishops with the financial challenges of the ELCA seminary system by sharing synod investments, such as scholarships and other funds in addition to budgeted seminary support, and information found in the comparative audit of the seminaries; and </p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; affirming the bishops' seminary visits as an integral part of relationship building, which would include more interactions with faculty and administration. </p><p>&quot;God is doing new things among, through and around us,&quot; said Gafkjen. &quot;It's great to be in partnership with so many folks across this church who are willing to walk and work together in trust and hope toward God's emerging future.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In other business, the ELCA Conference of Bishops&#58;</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; received a report from the director of Mission Support and updates on the ELCA Mission Support experiments among five synods. Mission Support is the financial offering from congregations shared with synods and the churchwide organization. The synod experiments are seeking efficient and effective ways to increase local accountability and Mission Support;</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; received an update on&#160;<em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em>. To date the campaign has received $113.4 million in gifts and commitments. This amount represents 57.3 percent of the $198 million goal by Jan. 31, 2019;</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; received an update on AMMPARO's synod and congregational engagement. AMMPARO is the ELCA's strategy to Accompany Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities;</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; received an update on Portico Benefits Services from the Rev. Jeffrey Thiemann, Portico president and CEO;</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; discussed the challenges in understanding and addressing multicultural diversity as an important aspect of the gospel witness; and</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; received reports from the ELCA vice president, treasurer and secretary and updates from the Conference of Bishops' various committees.</p><p>- - -<br> <strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; 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.</p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> Public Relations Manager<br> 773-380-2877<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br> <br></p><p><br> <br></p><p><br></p><p>​</p></div>03/16/2017ELCA presiding bishop issues letter in observance of International Women's Dayhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7877http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7877<div class="ExternalClassFB3872417C8745A681A5A241A1EA87D2"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (March 8, 2017) – In observance of International Women's Day, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has issued the following pastoral letter.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>Dear Friends in Christ,</p><p>We are called to honor women not only on this day, but also in our daily vocation as church. In speaking of the body of Christ, Paul reminds us in his letter to the Corinthians&#58; &quot;If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it&quot; (1 Corinthians 12&#58;26). Therefore, on this International Women's Day, we celebrate and support the God-given gifts of women and recommit ourselves to seek justice for women who are suffering in our midst and in communities around the world. </p><p>In this 500<sup>th</sup> anniversary year, we have an opportunity as Lutherans to be intentional about participating in the ongoing reformation. Here are two specific ideas for how you can honor International Women's Day in 2017&#58;&#160; </p><p>First, a social statement on women and justice is currently in development, and the task force needs your input. The innovative study, &quot;Faith, Sexism, Justice&#58; Conversations Toward a Social Statement,&quot; challenges us to consider how we, as church together, think and speak about and act on our commitments to women and justice. The study in English and Spanish is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/womenandjustice"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">elca.org/womenandjustice</span></a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">.</span> The due date for input is Aug. 31, 2017. </p><p>Second, together with our global partners, we are investing in established and emerging women leaders through the International Women Leaders initiative. By focusing on education, we are supporting the present and raising up the future of women's leadership in church and society. To learn more, and for worship and fundraising ideas, <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/en/Our-Work/Global-Church/Global-Church-Sponsorship/Supporting-International-Women-Leaders?_ga=1.94631775.239582425.1466449367"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">click here</span></a>. </p><p>As we celebrate the remarkable strides women have made, and seek to redress women's suffering, we give thanks to God for the generations of women who have been faithful witnesses to God's love in Christ. We honor the likes of Mary and Martha, Katharina von Bora and Argula von Grumbach, Leymah Gbowee and Susan Johnson, Elizabeth Platz and Addie Butler, our mothers and sisters, our pastors and teachers, our spouses and friends. For in doing so, we worship and praise the one who suffers with us, and unites us in eternal rejoicing.&#160; </p><p>In Christ,</p><p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton <br>Presiding Bishop</p><p>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; 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.</p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br> <br></p><p>​</p></div>03/08/2017Lutheran-Catholic joint observance of 500th anniversary of the Reformation http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7876http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7876<div class="ExternalClass8407EB9511C7453D9C8729D150B23BDC"><p>​&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (March 6, 2017) – In the preeminent U.S. observance of the 500<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Reformation (Oct. 31, 2017), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Conference of Bishops' Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Committee and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Committee gathered March 2 at The Lutheran Center in Chicago for a Lutheran-Catholic service of Common Prayer. The service followed the Common Prayer liturgical guide, developed for the joint ecumenical commemoration held in Lund, Sweden, on Oct. 31, 2016, co-hosted by The Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;For 500 years Lutherans and Catholics have been divided into two camps, each believing that the other was not only wrong but alien,&quot; said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA. &quot;Yet we know that people are yearning for reconciliation. The Lutheran-Roman Catholic joint prayer service, one of the fruits of 50 years of dialogue between our two churches, was a beautiful celebration of what we hold in common. We could see each other again as brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that our increasing unity is a witness to our culture.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; During the service – in a significant moment that underscored 50 years of Lutheran-Catholic dialogue – a joint statement was presented and signed by the committee chairs, the Rev. Donald P. Kreiss, bishop of the ELCA Southeast Michigan Synod; and the Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Mass. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The statement mirrored the joint statement signed by Pope Francis and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Munib Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and Lutheran World Federation president, during the service in Lund.</p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;">&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;In joyful gratitude to God, we are gathered today to encourage one another in the ministry of reconciliation to which Christ has called us,&quot; the statement reads. &quot;Recalling the wisdom of the international Lutheran-Catholic dialogue report, 'From Conflict to Communion,' we affirm that 'while the past itself is unalterable, the presence of the past in the present is alterable. In view of 2017, the point is not to tell a different history, but to tell that history differently.' So, while the past cannot be changed, we rejoice in the healing of memories we have already seen, and we ask God's guidance toward a transformed future, renewed in our relations to one another and in our witness to the world.&quot; </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;It's a wonderful, concise statement of where we are now and acknowledging where we've come from, including [the service in] Lund,&quot; said Bishop Denis J. Madden, auxiliary bishop for the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore. &quot;I think the whole movement of Lutheran-Catholic reconciliation is moving forward in a good way. The Holy Father is anxious that we move forward.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Our desire to share at the table together is always felt at our meetings,&quot; said Madden. &quot;It's what we all long for – to share at the table together. More and more, the pain of separation is becoming a lived reality in all life. We see it in families, and we see it in the leadership of both churches.&quot;</p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;">&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Rev. William O. Gafkjen, bishop of the ELCA Indiana-Kentucky Synod and chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops, described the service as &quot;important and exciting historically because of five centuries of separation – especially after the last 50 years – to be coming so close together. We are still honest about our differences, but celebrating what we share is a powerful witness to the world.&quot;</p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;">&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The service also included the reading of five commitments found in &quot;From Conflict to Communion,&quot; a Lutheran-Catholic dialogue report. A candle was lit after the reading of each commitment. </p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;">&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;It's so important that we've had these dialogues but that also we take this time to pray together,&quot; said Rozanski, &quot;We're really, in coming together in prayer, signaling that we're coming together in Christ. At a time when everyone seems to be shouting past one another, it's important to model that we can talk about our differences in a civil way.&quot; </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Today can be the beginning of a new chapter of that relationship, where we can join together, celebrating all that we have in common, which is so much greater than what divides us, and figure out how then we are called to go out into the communities where we live and preach the gospel,&quot; said Kreiss.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/livestream"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Read</span></a> the joint statement. </p><p>&#160;- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; 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.</p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</span></a><br> <br></p></div>03/06/2017Ash Wednesday statement on refugees and migrants http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7875http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7875<div class="ExternalClass45ADBE7B797141BE899AAD7419D5E91E"><p>CHICAGO (March 1, 2017) – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and leaders from The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada have issued an Ash Wednesday statement addressing refugees and migrants.</p><p>The statement follows&#58;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>Ash Wednesday, 2017</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Remember the Refugees and Migrants</strong></p><p>&#160;On this day many people will participate in a liturgy including the Imposition of Ashes.&#160; Some presiders blot these ashes upon our foreheads and we are reminded that we are but dust and to dust shall we return.&#160; Others trace them upon our forehead in the sign of the cross, a reminder of the place to where the Lenten journey takes us.&#160; Even at the outset of this holy season we are reminded that while for some the cross is a stumbling block and for others mere foolishness, it is for those who are being called, the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1&#58;23).&#160; Remembering Christ crucified we are mindful not only of our personal need for repentance and renewal in doing the work of God, but indeed of the need of all humanity to repent of our indifference to the brokenness of our relationships, to the suffering of millions of people worldwide who are starving, oppressed, enslaved, or seeking sanctuary even if it be in a place far from their homeland.</p><p>This Lent we call our Churches to be continually mindful of the global refugee and migration crises, and the injustices and conflicts that have swelled the statistics to a number greater than ever in the history of the world.&#160; We acknowledge the good work done by so many of our synods and dioceses and parishes in sponsoring refugees, welcoming them, accompanying them and advocating for them as they settle in our countries.&#160; Similarly, we commend the compassionate work of our partner churches in other lands and intergovernmental bodies caring for migrants and refugees. We call on our Churches not to weary of this good work in the name of God.</p><p>Given the current political climate in the United States, it is important to say that while both our countries recognize the need for measures ensuring homeland security, we also stand up for the long established policies that welcome migrants and refugees.&#160; That is not to say any of them are not beyond reform.&#160; But it is to say that fair and generous policies strengthen the economy of our nations and enriches the economic, social and cultural fabric of our countries – a fabric woven by both the First Peoples of these lands and all those who have settled here through numerous waves of migration throughout our histories.&#160; </p><p>Fair and generous action and deliberations are from our perspective, deeply grounded in the Law of Moses, in the teaching of the Prophets and in the Gospel of Jesus.&#160; For some two millennia millions of people have found consolation in the suffering of Jesus upon the cross and in his holy name they have prayed for the compassion and justice of God in the midst of the terrible circumstances of their lives – circumstances that compel them to flee their homelands, making their way over dangerous treks of land. Sometimes they find refuge in new nations and frequently they make their way to ports where they can board vessels and make what are often treacherous voyages in the hope of reaching a land free of the oppression they have known.&#160; Some make it.&#160; Many don't.</p><p>May this Season of Lent be especially marked by our prayers and advocacy for refugees and migrants – on the run, in United Nations camps, in waiting, in our communities… And let it be marked by a continuing resolve in welcoming the stranger in our midst, for such hospitality is in keeping with the faith we proclaim. (Matthew 25&#58;31-40)</p><p>In Christ,</p><p>The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz <br>Primate<br> Anglican Church of Canada</p><p>The Rev. Susan C. Johnson<br> National Bishop<br> Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada</p><p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton <br>Presiding Bishop<br> Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</p><p>The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry <br>Presiding Bishop<br> Episcopal Church (United States)</p><p>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; 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.</p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </p><p>&#160;</p><p>​</p></div>03/01/2017