ELCA Newshttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/ELCA leaders call on Congress to pass U.S. Citizenship Acthttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8090https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8090<div class="ExternalClassBF21B54A300E432DAB070EA84CF4283F"><p>​CHICAGO&#160;— The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has joined more than 500 ELCA rostered ministers and the CEOs of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) and Lutheran Services in America (LSA) in calling on Congress to support the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. In a March 4 letter, the leaders urge lawmakers to work collaboratively to advance legislation &quot;around a long overdue solution that reflects our shared values as a nation.&quot;</p><p>The ELCA, LIRS and LSA recognize the need for legislative action based upon their historic service to and accompaniment of communities with migrant and refugee populations. Lutherans respond to people who are caught in conflict and face persecution, and they advocate for compassionate, just and wise immigration policies, driven by God's love for all people and a biblical commitment to welcome the stranger.</p><p>&quot;Guided by our faith values and biblical teachings, we believe that immigration policies must prioritize and honor the God-given dignity of each person, especially those who live on the margins of society,&quot; the letter states. &quot;We regard the family as an indispensable social institution and stand firmly against policies that cause the separation of families. We are therefore pleased to see that the proposed legislation works to recognize these values.&quot;</p><p>ELCA social teaching and actions insist on family reunification, upholding human dignity and rights, driving cooperative responses to the root causes of forced migration, and stressing inclusion and equity across federal immigration policy. Several provisions of the legislation advance these commitments. </p><p>Across an expanding network, welcoming congregations of the ELCA, for example, closely accompany migrants in the United States through ministry and advocacy. Lutherans across the country also participate in resettling refugees who have been admitted with the support of LIRS. Reacting to a Supreme Court decision on the popular Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last summer, the ELCA continued to press for permanent protection for Dreamers and just treatment for other undocumented communities. The U.S. Citizenship Act makes a promising contribution toward ensuring a just immigration system. </p><p>&quot;Making progress on these long overdue immigration reforms is important to us as leaders who serve in church and society,&quot; the letter states. &quot;We ask God to guide our nation and grant the grace of a welcoming heart. To that end, we ask you to work collaboratively, with haste, to promote this comprehensive legislative solution through Congress and provide lasting solutions that will strengthen our nation for generations to come.&quot;</p><p><a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/LIRS-ELCA-LSA-USCA-Letter.pdf">Read</a> the letter.</p><p>- - -<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 nearly 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 worshiping communities 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></p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br> <br></p><p><br></p></div>03/05/2021Statement on anti-Asian Racismhttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8089https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8089<div class="ExternalClass9DBBB8EDB8B0403EB6B2B45A5B7BEB84"><p>​CHICAGO&#160;— The Asian and Pacific Islander Association of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has issued a statement addressing the increase in violence directed toward Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. The ELCA Conference of Bishops affirmed the statement during their&#160;virtual meeting.&#160;<br></p><p>The statement follows&#58;<br></p><p>The COVID-related surge in anti-Asian violence is physically and spiritually assaulting Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. This violence re-emerged from America's historical and pervasive sin of racism. Asian American and Pacific Islander children and adults are facing assaults with racial slurs, bullying, spitting, physical injury, and even death. These are not new in communities where Peoples of Color live. These violent acts of racism have and are happening in cities and towns across the United States. The virus of racism cannot be allowed to run rampant.</p><p>We the Association of Asians and Pacific Islanders-ELCA call on our church to once again unequivocally denounce racism by taking immediate actions to defend, protect, and uphold the safety and lives of Asian Americans.&#160; 1 Corinthians 12 tells us that we are one body with many members.&#160; This member of the body is suffering. Let us bear this suffering together as one body.</p><p>We call on our church&#58;<br></p><ul><li>to model the example of Jesus whose compassion was made visible by acts of love, culminating in embracing bodily harm to save us;<br></li></ul><ul><li>to undergird and measurably advance its fight against racism and apathy, in all expressions of the church;&#160;</li></ul><ul><li>to model how to tap into Jesus's deep empathy as our collective power to stand against violence and promote the way of Jesus instead; <br></li></ul><ul><li>to urge, facilitate, and invite all people in the ELCA's sphere of influence, both within the church and beyond it, to unite in this crucial battle;<br></li></ul><ul><li>to declare a Sunday during this Lenten season to lament in order to express solidarity, help in healing, and support the victims of violence against Asian Americans;<br></li></ul><ul><li>to show how the ELCA will oppose racism, its death-dealing manifestations, and proclaim ways to move forward as a church and society where all God's people of color can be free to build a&#160;world of true peace, equality, justice, and kindness with others.<br>&#160;</li></ul><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 nearly 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 worshiping communities 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></p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br> &#160;</p><p><br> &#160;</p><p><br></p></div>03/04/2021Louise Johnson named Executive for Administrationhttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8088https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8088<div class="ExternalClass08B065AA49CA466986458DC3A5B201C2"><p>​CHICAGO&#160;– Louise N. Johnson, a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has been elected by the ELCA Church Council as the executive for administration, a position that is coterminous with the term of the presiding bishop. She begins in this role on March 15, 2021.</p><p>Johnson most recently served as the Director of Leadership Development for LEAD, a leadership development non-profit of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the ELCA. Prior to her work with LEAD, she served as the fourteenth president of Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa where she led the seminary to its largest fundraising and enrollment years in the history of the school. Johnson has also held several senior level roles at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and has served congregations in a variety of roles in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Pennsylvania.</p><p>&quot;We are blessed to have Louise's strong sense of call and passion for the work of sharing God's grace and love in Christ,&quot; said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop. &quot;As we imagine each of us being activated so more people know the way of Jesus and discover community, justice and love, Louise's dedication to leadership sharing the good news will be vital in our work going forward.&quot;</p><p>Johnson has spent much of her time in the ELCA focused on leadership development. During her years in Philadelphia, she cultivated an interest in organizational leadership, including completing the Certificate in Leadership and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Johnson continues to teach, speak and consult in change leadership in church organizations. </p><p>&quot;I am humbled to be called to this role. I look forward to the work we will do together by the power of the Holy Spirit to become more fully the church God is calling us to be for the sake of the world,&quot; said Johnson.</p><p>Johnson attended Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio for her undergraduate degree, and holds a Master of Divinity from Wartburg Seminary. In 2017, Johnson received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Wartburg College in Waverly, IA, and in 2020, she received the Outstanding Executive Award from the Association of Lutheran Development Executives. </p><p>The current Executive for Administration, the Rev. Dr. M. Wyvetta Bullock, has served in this role since 2007. She has served the ELCA since 1987, and prior to that, served the LCA beginning in 1981.</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 nearly 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 worshiping communities 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></p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br> &#160;</p><p><br></p></div>03/03/2021ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission cancels volunteer placement for 2021-’22https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8087https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8087<div class="ExternalClass06086D0C552A40C29E892CCB967C6439"><p>​CHICAGO — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause uncertainty within the United States and across the globe, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has decided to cancel sending Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) volunteers for its 2021-22 program year. The pandemic earlier forced the ELCA to cancel volunteer placement for the 2020-21 program year. Cancellation two years in a row has never before happened in the 20-year history of the program.</p><p>Young Adults in Global Mission is an international mission opportunity for young people from the ages of 21 to 29 in which volunteers live and serve with ELCA companion churches and partner organizations around the world. </p><p>In a letter to the 2021-22 applicants, Dan Beirne, program director for Young Adults in Global Mission leadership formation, wrote, &quot;As we as a global community continue to respond to the lasting impacts of COVID-19, the rise of variants, and uncertainty surrounding vaccine rollout, it is becoming more and more evident that pursuing a year of service would present too many risks and unknown variables. We cannot move ahead with our normal processes when this many unknowns remain.&quot;</p><p>Beirne also emphasized the impact on global companions who host the volunteers in their homes, churches and communities&#58; &quot;With all of this uncertainty, it would likely place an undue burden on these companions of ours to have them 'set the table' for a new group of volunteers when they may very well still be recovering, or actively struggling, themselves. As you know, we hold closely the value of accompaniment, where we seek to walk alongside our partners and share in life's joys and life's burdens. In this unique case, 'walking alongside' means keeping our distance.&quot;</p><p>During their year of service, young adult volunteers help with programs that include health and human rights, education, environmental justice, professional support and congregational ministry. Locations include Argentina and Uruguay, Australia, Central Europe, Jerusalem and the West Bank, Madagascar, Mexico, Rwanda, Senegal and the United Kingdom.<br></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 nearly 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 worshiping communities 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></p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br> &#160;</p><p><br></p></div>02/01/2021ELCA presiding bishop joins NCC leaders in letter to vice president, Cabinet and Congresshttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8086https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8086<div class="ExternalClassCE55DF939BD548DBB38D0A1A505B2CC7"><p>​CHICAGO&#160;— The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), joined leaders from the National Council of Churches (NCC) in an open letter to Vice President Mike Pence, members of Congress and the Cabinet, calling for the removal of President Donald Trump from office.</p><p>The letter states&#58; &quot;Our faith instructs us to take seriously positions of leadership, not to lead others astray and to be careful about what we say and do.</p><p>&quot;For the good of the nation, so that we might end the current horror and prepare the way for binding up the nation's wounds, we, as leaders of the member communions of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC), believe the time has come for the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, to resign his position immediately.&quot;</p><p><a href="https&#58;//nationalcouncilofchurches.us/open-letter-to-vice-president-pence-members-of-congress-and-the-cabinet-calling-for-the-removal-of-president-trump-from-office/">Read</a> the letter.</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 nearly 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 worshiping communities 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">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a></p><p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p><br></p></div>01/08/2021ELCA presiding bishop post-election video messagehttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8085https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8085<div class="ExternalClass45C542336F4E4ACC9831E38622B180BC"><p>​ELCA presiding bishop Elizabeth Eaton&#160;speaks to the church about healing and unity in this post-election <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=CApaHpizBWs&amp;feature=youtu.be">video message</a>.&#160;<br></p><p>The transcript follows&#58;<br></p><p>Dear church,</p><p>Elections are an opportunity to remember that no matter the outcome, we belong to God whose love is steadfast and whose grace is with us always. No human candidate can guarantee our life or our future – that is work already done by God through the death and resurrection of Christ. As Lutherans, we care about government because it is a gift from God intended for the safety and flourishing of human life. </p><p>We take to heart our social teaching that energetic civic engagement is part of our baptismal vocation, both as individuals and through the church's public witness. I have seen this vocation lived out by so many of you in the 2020 election. ELCA members have canvassed, marched, served as poll workers and election monitors, and run for various offices.</p><p>We celebrate these things, even as we acknowledge this has been a long and contentious election season, marked by deep partisan rancor heightened by disinformation and social media echo chambers. Amid this division, we are called to ministries of bridge-building in the name of Jesus, who frees and heals us to seek the well-being of our neighbor. What does God want us to do now? </p><p>I believe God calls us after this election to seek healing in several places. One place must be healing as a church that understands that our unity is a gift and goal of God in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit enlivens us in this work as a community of mission and witness that seeks to be serviceable to the in-breaking of the reign of God. What can you do now to encourage your Lutheran neighbors to reach out and engage each other despite political disagreement, thereby giving a glimpse of God's reign? What doors can you open in your congregation to build relationships, promote listening and support understanding? How will you do so while digging deeper into our faith-informed values of justice, equity and inclusion? I commend to you our new social message, <em>&quot;Government and Civic Engagement in the United States&#58; Discipleship in a Democracy,&quot;</em> as one way to start this conversation. </p><p>Our attention to the partisan divide does not stop with our own congregations but must extend to our communities. Our nation needs our action so that the inclusiveness practiced by this church in the midst of divisions in society shines forth as our testimony to God. </p><p>Elections are not an end, but a beginning. God calls us to be agents of healing and unity while at the same time standing firm in our basic understanding. We know unity requires justice, especially for those who have been disenfranchised, and it requires our sustained efforts to shape governmental systems that work for all. </p><p>We have a role to play in forming an ever-more perfect union. We will pray for our newly elected officials as they lead us through these and other challenges. We will, in the words of our new social message, accompany and evaluate these leaders by asking one simple but all-encompassing question&#58; &quot;Is the neighbor being served?&quot;<br></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 nearly 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 worshiping communities 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></p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> Public Relations Manager<br> 773-380-2877<br> <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br> <br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p></div>12/15/2020