Martin Luther was eight years old when Christopher Columbus set sail from Europe and landed in the Western Hemisphere. Luther was a young monk and priest when Michaelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel in Rome...
Completion of the first call process completes candidacy for all people, including those ordained in another Lutheran church or Christian tradition, moving them toward first call and admittance to the appropriate roster in the ELCA.
With gratitude for those who have gone before and hope for the future, the ELCA gives thanks to God for the ministry of women. In 2019 and 2020 we celebrate 50 years of Lutheran women being ordained in the United States, 40 years of women of color being ordained, and 10 years of LGBTQIA+ individuals being able to serve freely.
In its simplest form, becoming a sanctuary denomination means that the ELCA is publicly declaring that walking alongside immigrants and refugees is a matter of faith. In baptism, we are brought into a covenantal relationship with Jesus Christ that commits us to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.
How can we learn about this issue?
A list of books, videos can be found here. A list of websites can be found here.
What are international companions in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala doing?
ELCA companions in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are working with youth deported from Mexico and the United States to offer them an alternative to once again attempting the perilous journey to the U.S.
The Mennonite Social Action Commission in Honduras is working with deported youth, teaching them job skills that will help them become employed or start small businesses. The commission also provides psychological counseling to help them overcome the trauma experienced both before and during the migrant journey. Watch this video from Suyapa Ucles.
The Salvadoran Lutheran Church in El Salvador is working with deported youth to help them start small businesses.
What are ELCA synods, congregations and strategic allies doing here in the U.S.?
Synods and congregations are ministering to children and families from Central America. Synods that have companion relationships with the churches in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador for many years have been supporting the work the churches have been doing around this issue.
Congregations have been serving the children and families by being Welcoming Congregations and by being active in the Guardian Angel program. More information about how your congregation can be involved in these ways can be found here.
Many social ministry organizations affiliated with the ELCA are providing services to children and families from Central America. For example, in Texas, where most of the children enter the United States, Upbring (formerly known as Lutheran Social Services of the South) provides foster care and residential services until the children can be united with their sponsors. It is also helping coordinate ways congregations can respond to the physical and spiritual needs of the children. Other partners are providing free legal services to the children seeking asylum.
Lutheran Immigration and Refuges Service is a key partner in this work. To learn what it is doing, please go to lirs.org.
Get the latest news about what is happening to migrant children and families on the AMMPARO Facebook page: Facebook.com/ELCAammparo.
We are the church that shares a living, daring confidence in God's grace. Liberated by our faith, we embrace you as a whole person--questions, complexities and all. Join us as we do God's work in Christ's name for the life of the world.