ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/ELCA presiding bishop delivers Easter messagehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7883http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7883<div class="ExternalClass7534EE30DD464DD1B5B0BA943CFF4028"><p>CHICAGO (April 12, 2017) – In her Easter message, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), reminds us to rejoice even when the brokenness of this world breaks our spirits. </p><p><img alt="Bishop Eaton Easter 2017.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/elcanews/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20News/AllItems/Bishop%20Eaton%20Easter%202017.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;405px;height&#58;232px;" /><br></p><p><a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=fK0rzqpK7Z0&amp;feature=youtu.be"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Listen</span></a> to Eaton's message.</p><p>&#160;<br>- - -<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> 773-380-2877<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>​</p></div>04/12/2017ELCA Church Council holds spring 2017 meetinghttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7882http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7882<div class="ExternalClass86DBB0D6C2A348028B65E0397C8CD67A"><p>ITASCA&#160; - The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) met at the Eaglewood Conference Center, Itasca, Ill., March 30-April 2. The council, which serves as the ELCA's board of directors, met in plenary on Friday, March 31, and spent the remainder of its time in retreat, focused on the Called Forward Together in Christ process that will determine goals and priority areas for the ELCA. <br>&#160;</p><p>The council took the following action&#58;</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Designated Milwaukee, Wis., as the site of the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, either Aug. 5-10 or Aug. 12-17.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Affirmed the direction of the ELCA Foundation Task Force on Structure and Governance to move toward a structure in which the deferred giving programs of the ELCA Foundation are transferred to the Endowment Fund of the ELCA. The council authorized the task force and staff to begin steps to lay the groundwork for that transition, bringing a complete proposal to its November 2017 meeting.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Authorized a task force to implement a strategy toward authentic diversity within the ELCA.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Designated 5 percent of the churchwide seminary grant in fiscal year 2018 for a focused, collaborative project among all seminaries that expands the number of people of color preparing for rostered ministry in this church.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Approved the updated manual of policies and procedures for the management of the rosters.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Received the ELCA churchwide organization operational plan report for 2016.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Affirmed the succession plan proposed by the ELCA Domestic Mission unit for the corporate social responsibility position.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Approved a Church Council designated fund in the amount equal to the excess revenue over expenses from fiscal year 2016, or $1,630,000, for release in fiscal year 2018 for the budgeted operations of the ELCA churchwide organization.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Approved the report of the ELCA audit committee.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Designated churchwide representatives to 2017 synod assemblies.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Received responses to 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly actions on &quot;Examining the opportunities and implications of campaign zero, a policy platform in affirmation of Black Lives Matter,&quot; &quot;African Descent Lutherans&quot; and &quot;Call to Discernment on U.S. Foreign and Military Policy.&quot;</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Approved governing documents of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Wartburg Theological Seminary, Luther Seminary and Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (to be subsequently a supporting organization for United Lutheran Seminary); received draft documents relating to the proposed asset acquisition of Trinity Lutheran Seminary by Capital University.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Declared newly elected committee chairs as members of the executive committee of the Church Council beginning Sept. 1, 2017.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Approved changes to governing documents for 1517 Media and the Deaconess Community of the ELCA.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Elected members to the governing bodies of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Luther Seminary, the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (to be subsequently known as United Lutheran Seminary), Mosaic Inc., Portico Benefit Services, Mission Investment Fund of the ELCA, Publishing House of the ELCA (1517 Media), and Committee on Appeals.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Received reports from the church's secretary, treasurer, and executive for administration, and the ELCA Conference of Bishops.&#160;<br><br>&#160;<br>- - -<br><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.<br><br>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br> &#160;<br><br>&#160;</p><p>​</p></div>04/11/2017ELCA presiding bishop issues pastoral message on Syria http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7881http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7881<div class="ExternalClassEFE3C0EE72EA4818932CA75FB117313F"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has issued a pastoral message on Syria.</p><p></p><p>Eaton's message follows.</p><p>Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,</p><p>Like many of you, I have been deeply troubled by the news this week from Syria. First, there was the horrific chemical weapons attack on civilians. Then the U.S. missiles being used against the Syrian airbase understood to have perpetrated the earlier attack. In both instances, the lives of precious children of God have been lost. Lord, have mercy. &#160;</p><p>The psalmist reminds us not to put our &quot;trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help,&quot; but rather reminds us to place our hope in the Lord our God. He recalls that &quot;the Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin&quot; (Psalm 146). </p><p>It is a time for prayer – for peace, and for those seeking refuge during this time when there is no peace in Syria.&#160; </p><p>Still, acknowledging our brokenness in sin, we recall that God created humans in God's image &quot;made for life in community&quot; and that our social statement<em>, For Peace in God's World,</em> encourages us to &quot;pray for forgiveness, and for the faith that in love acts for earthly peace,&quot; and to work for it.&#160; </p><p>In situations of civil war, the statement notes, questions arise &quot;about what, if anything, the international community can and should do in the face of internal conflicts.&quot; In deciding about wars, &quot;we face conflicting moral claims and agonizing dilemmas&quot; about the ways to help and protect the neighbor in the face of injustice and aggression. </p><p>While the path to peace remains unclear, our commitment to it should not waiver. We have been and will continue to assist Syrians in need through the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch in Syria, through the Lutheran World Federation assisting refugees in Jordan and through our Global Mission partners in Europe.</p><p>Let us continue to pray, assist those in need, offer refuge to those fleeing violence, and encourage all efforts toward peace for all of the children of God created in God's image. We continue to place our hope in the Lord our God, the Prince of Peace.</p><p>In Christ</p><p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton</p><p>Presiding Bishop</p><p>&#160;</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>&#160;</p><p>​</p></div>04/08/2017Moved 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>03/16/2017