ELCA Newshttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/Presiding Bishop issues statement on Mental Health Awarenesshttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8101https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8101<div class="ExternalClass2FBD3F13584244699804A4C8304CAA09"><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em><br></em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ</em> <em>(</em><em>Galatians 6&#58;2 NRSV).</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">&#160;</p><p>Since the global pandemic was declared in March 2020, many of us have endured extended emotional and psychological anguish. That experience may be dramatically worsened by the ugly realities of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia or poverty. Our anguish has taken the form of sadness in isolation, anxiety in uncertainty, grief over loss, stress over economic challenges and worry over events beyond our control — including the tremendous impact of the crisis on our children. This pandemic threatens our mental health just as much as our physical health. For millions of us adults living in the United States, receiving the vaccine and the hope it brings has alleviated our unease, sorrow and grief.&#160; </p><p>This past year has provided some of us with a deeper understanding of and empathy for the ongoing mental health challenges endured by our neighbors, friends and family. During Mental Health Awareness Month, especially, our church intentionally recognizes the anguish our siblings in Christ experience daily — pandemic or no — and the fear many of them feel about sharing their stories.</p><p>As a church we also acknowledge the true depths of these invisible illnesses. Our children, neighbors and friends grappling with mental health issues need to know that God does not love them any less. They need to hear that they, too, are embraced by God's unfathomable love.</p><p>Our church cautions against judgmental words and actions that might suggest to someone that their faith is not strong enough or that their outlook on life would improve if they would change certain behaviors. Praying, socializing and exercising are great activities that can help someone get out of a slump or move past a painful episode. But this is not always the solution for moderate or severe depression, bipolar depression, anxiety or even grief. Telling someone they aren't doing enough to be happy creates a sense of stigma that they are not living &quot;correctly.&quot; We need to listen so that our words of care and compassion guide others to the help they need. We need to support people in their struggles, walking side by side in partnership with them through the good days and the bad.</p><p>Dear church, God loves us all. No matter how we are grappling, we are not alone; God is with us. Throughout May and beyond, we must seek ways to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness and continually love everyone compassionately as a child of God. We must embrace the benefits of therapy and encourage the use of medication when necessary in supporting and sustaining mental health and wellness. We must also work to ensure access to affordable mental health care for all people, especially those living in poverty or in historically marginalized communities.&#160; &#160;</p><p>Our faith teaches that caring for health is a shared endeavor. Being the body of Christ means carrying one another's burdens; it also means placing our burdens in God's hands and admitting to a caring person close to us that we need help. This is true no matter how great or small our anguish may be.<br></p><p><br></p><p>In Christ,</p><p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<br>Presiding Bishop<br>Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</p><p><br></p><p>Mental Health Resources&#58;<br>&quot;<a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Messages/Mental-Illness">The Body of Christ and Mental Illness</a>&quot;<br><a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Messages/Suicide-Prevention">Suicide Prevention</a><br><a href="https&#58;//suicidepreventionministry.org/">Lutheran Suicide Prevention Ministry</a></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><p><br></p></div>05/07/2021ELCA Church Council approves sanctuary church guidelineshttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8100https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8100<div class="ExternalClass857C3380E5A2489789C483B38D098674"><p>​CHICAGO&#160;— The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) met electronically April 14-17. The council, which serves as the ELCA's board of directors, took action on a variety of matters intended to advance this church's mission and ministry.</p><p>In response to action taken by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly that declared the ELCA a sanctuary church body, the council approved a motion to recognize that the ELCA's ministry as a sanctuary church body is a public witness that calls ELCA members to value the dignity of each human being made in God's image. The council also encouraged an understanding of the word &quot;sanctuary&quot; that is rooted in the principles of walking alongside, or accompanying, immigrants and refugees but acknowledged that &quot;sanctuary&quot; has no legal or universally accepted definition. This action also affirmed the guidance provided in the &quot;ELCA Sanctuary Church Guidelines&quot; for ways congregations, synods and the churchwide organization can accompany and support the ministry of sanctuary.</p><p>The council approved a revision of &quot;Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline,&quot; effective immediately and applicable only to conduct occurring — or alleged to have occurred — after the date this resolution was adopted. The document describes the grounds by which officers, rostered ministers, candidates for rostered ministry, congregations and members of congregations may be subject to discipline according to the practice of this church.</p><p>The council received the final report from the Mission Support experiment synods. In response, the council urged the churchwide organization and the synods to incorporate the learnings from the mission support experiments into future collaboration and encouraged the formation of a project team that would include bishops, churchwide organization staff and others to discuss future strategies for mission support sharing between synods and the churchwide organization. The synods that participated in the Mission Support experiment were&#58; the Lower Susquehanna Synod, the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod, the Nebraska Synod, the New England Synod and the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod. &quot;Mission support&quot; refers to the financial offerings that congregations share with synods and the churchwide organization.</p><p>In other action, the council&#58;</p><ul><li>Affirmed the presiding bishop's decision to name the Tuesday following the celebration of the birth of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as an annual ELCA Day of Repentance From Racism and encouraged members, congregations and synods to use the &quot;Lamenting Racism&quot; resource in <em>All Creation Sings </em>and other liturgical resources of lamentation and repentance offered by the churchwide organization's Worship team to accompany this annual day of repentance.</li><li>Revised the spending authorization for ELCA World Hunger from $21.5 million to $23.5 million in fiscal year 2021.</li><li>Approved a $1.3 million addition to the Church Council designated fund for fiscal year 2020 to cover budget shortfalls in future years.</li><li>Deferred questions of developing social messages on the U.S. National Drug Control Policy or on aging, gender identity or gun control policy until the fall 2021 Church Council meeting.</li><li>Adopted a revision to the <em>Manual of Policies for the Management of the Rosters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America </em>to include a set of protocols for ministers of Word and Sacrament from the Lutheran World Federation companion churches who wish to serve as missionaries in congregations and synods of the ELCA.</li><li>Received a gap analysis of rostered women, with particular focus on rostered women of color, from the Office of the Presiding Bishop in response to a Churchwide Assembly action on the 50th anniversary of the ordination of women.</li><li>Received a response and recommendations regarding seminary tuition from the Christian Community and Leadership home team and supported various actions to continue addressing these recommendations. </li><li>Received the report of the Temporary Select Committee on Committees and approved an extension for consideration of a revised committee structure to the fall 2021 Church Council meeting.</li><li>Ratified amendments to the constitutions of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod and the Southwestern Texas Synod.</li><li>Approved amendments to the bylaws of the ELCA Foundation, United Lutheran Seminary and Luther Seminary.</li><li>Elected members to the governing bodies of the Endowment Fund of the ELCA, Mosaic, Inc., and six seminaries. </li></ul><p>The council also engaged in&#58;</p><ul style="list-style-type&#58;disc;"><li>A reflection on migration and the work of AMMPARO (Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities).<br></li><li>A primer on &quot;Indigenous Perspective in Our Country&quot; from council member Loni Taylor, a member of the Chippewa Cree Nation. </li><li>A presentation on Future Church and the Open Doors Grants initiative to encourage congregations to innovate in reaching new people in the congregations' contexts as churches transition from the pandemic. The grant application process begins April 21. Learn more about the Open Doors initiative at <a href="https&#58;//elca.org/opendoors">Open Doors — Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. </a></li></ul><p>&#160;<br>The council also received reports from the church's presiding bishop, treasurer, secretary and vice president, and from the ELCA Conference of Bishops.</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 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></div>04/21/2021A pastoral word on the verdict of Derek Chauvin’s trial https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8099https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8099<div class="ExternalClassC8574570B05A4390AC71BC940D997C90"><p>​The&#160;trial&#160;of&#160;Derek Chauvin, the former Minnesota police officer&#160;charged with the killing&#160;of George&#160;Floyd,&#160;has&#160;riveted&#160;our national attention these past weeks, and now a verdict has been reached.&#160;Together with people around the world, we have anticipated&#160;the jury's&#160;decision&#160;with troubled hearts.&#160;As&#160;members&#160;of the community of&#160;Jesus, we affirm that&#160;&quot;if&#160;one&#160;member suffers, all suffer together with it&quot;&#160;(1 Corinthians&#160;12&#58;26,&#160;NRSV).</p><p>No&#160;jury verdict&#160;can erase the pain of the Floyd family, and we share our condolences and pray for ongoing comfort in their suffering&#160;and for all whose lives have been touched by this&#160;tragedy.&#160;As people of the cross, we believe in the hope of the&#160;resurrection. Yet&#160;we cannot rush to Easter Sunday without reflecting on the oppression of&#160;Good&#160;Friday.</p><p>The murder of George Floyd<span style="text-decoration-line&#58;underline;"> </span>is one of the many examples of the ongoing abuse of police authority.&#160;The extrajudicial killings of Brown and Black bodies must stop.</p><p>We <a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/racialjusticepledge?_ga=2.147257591.1952944110.1618720134-299342222.1616514018">recommit</a> ourselves as a church to continue to fight against the sin of racism&#160;and to hold accountable unjust&#160;systems&#160;and structures that&#160;perpetuate&#160;injustices, including our own.&#160;&#160;In the words of Martin Luther King Jr&#58; &quot;Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.&quot;&#160;The work of confronting these injustices is long overdue.&#160;</p><p>Let us together in our congregations and&#160;communities&#160;discern&#160;how we are being called in this moment&#160;to&#160;live out our&#160;baptismal&#160;promise&#160;to serve all people and strive for justice and peace.&#160;<span style="text-align&#58;center;"><br></span></p><p><span style="text-align&#58;center;">For further discussion, you can read the following sections from ELCA social statements and policy&#58;</span></p><p>&#160;<strong><em>The Church and Criminal Justice&#58; Hearing the Cries</em></strong>, <a href="https&#58;//elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Criminal-Justice">elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Criminal-Justice</a> (pages 9 and 13).</p><p><strong><em>Freed in Christ&#58; Race, Ethnicity, and Culture</em></strong><em>, </em><a href="https&#58;//elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Race-Ethnicity-and-Culture">elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Race-Ethnicity-and-Culture</a> (pages 4 and 5).</p><p><strong><em>Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent</em></strong>, <a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Slavery_Apology_Explanation.pdf">Slavery_Apology_Explanation.pdf </a>&#160;(page 2).<br></p><p><br></p><p>In Christ,</p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<p>Presiding Bishop<br>Evangelical Lutheran Church in America<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></p><p><br></p><p><br></p></div>04/20/2021A statement from Bishop Eaton addressing racial justicehttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8098https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8098<div class="ExternalClassC4A386C72FAA423EAF6EAA10D7C5071C"><p><br></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em></em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em></em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>&quot;But let justice roll down like waters,</em><br><em> and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream&quot; </em>(Amos 5&#58;24 NRSV). <br><strong>&#160;</strong></p><p>The last&#160;16 days&#160;have been a&#160;microcosm&#160;of the original sins of racism and white supremacy in the United States.&#160;This has included the trial of Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd; the extrajudicial killings of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minn., and Adam Toledo in Chicago; the lack of justice for Jacob Blake&#160;in Kenosha, Wis.; and the release of the body cam video of the abuse of Lt. Caron Nazario in&#160;Norfolk, Va.&#160;&#160;</p><p>As&#160;an anti-racist church that condemns white supremacy, we acknowledge how these injustices&#160;are&#160;traumatizing to&#160;Black,&#160;Indigenous and people of color&#160;(BIPOC)&#160;and call on God's comforting love.&#160;We join in lament over the lost lives of Daunte and Adam and in the cry for justice.&#160;We recognize that &quot;rooted in slavery, racism is manifested through the history of Jim Crow policies, racial segregation, the terror of lynching, extrajudicial killings by law enforcement, and the disproportionate incarceration of people of color&quot;&#160;(&quot;<a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Slavery_Apology_Explanation.pdf">Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent</a>,&quot; page 2).&#160;&#160;&#160;</p><p>As we await&#160;the verdict in the Chauvin trial,&#160;we pray for justice,&#160;we cry out as in Amos 5&#58;24&#58; &quot;But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.&quot;&#160;We call for reforms&#160;to&#160;this and&#160;any&#160;institutionally racist system.&#160;We also encourage you to join Campaign Zero, a 10-point policy platform created by the #BlackLivesMatter movement to address and improve relationships between local law enforcement and the communities in which they serve, at&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.joincampaignzero.org/">joincampaignzero.org</a>&#160;and to learn more about ELCA resources at&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/blacklivesmatter">elca.org/blacklivesmatter</a>.</p><p>The 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted a resolution condemning white supremacy [<a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Condemnation_of_White_Supremacy_and_Racist_Rhetoric.pdf">CA19.04.18</a>]. ELCA members can join the efforts to end racism by&#160;participating&#160;in the ELCA Anti-Racism Pledge <a href="https&#58;//elca.org/racialjusticepledge">here</a>.</p><p>We join other Christians in condemning these injustices. Read more at&#160;<a href="http&#58;//nationalcouncilofchurches.us/topics/statements/">nationalcouncilofchurches.us/topics/statements/</a>.<br></p><p>In Christ,</p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<p>Presiding Bishop<br>Evangelical Lutheran Church in America<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> <br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p></div>04/16/2021Earth Day statement from Bishop Eatonhttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8097https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8097<div class="ExternalClass448C8ED6E0A5449790E1BB8D2FAFD265"><p>​<em>O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.</em></p><p><em>—Psalm 104&#58;24</em></p><p>Throughout&#160;Scripture, God promises to restore God's people&#160;to health and wholeness, a promise that&#160;includes&#160;the renewal of all&#160;creation. This promise is&#160;depicted&#160;dramatically&#160;in the final pages of the book of Revelation as a&#160;grand&#160;vision of a new heaven and a new earth. The earth and its inhabitants are weary and uncertain, battered by plagues and&#160;death,&#160;wars&#160;and destruction. But God is still there,&#160;persistent&#160;and faithful.&#160;At the last, God&#160;reveals a&#160;renewed&#160;heaven and an earth&#160;permeated by the presence of God,&#160;transformed&#160;from pain&#160;to be&#160;a place of healing and wholeness for all things.&#160;The&#160;2021&#160;Earth Day theme, &quot;Restore Our Earth,&quot;&#160;reminds us of&#160;this vision&#160;and the&#160;holy work&#160;God entrusts to us —&#160;of seeking the&#160;well-being of creation&#160;as&#160;inseparable from&#160;the&#160;wholeness of humankind.&#160;&#160;</p><p>In the past&#160;year&#160;the world&#160;received a jolt from its collision with the COVID-19 pandemic, which laid bare&#160;persistent&#160;racial disparities&#160;in health care access and outcomes&#160;in our nation.&#160;The U.S.&#160;Centers&#160;for Disease Control&#160;and Prevention&#160;(<a href="https&#58;//www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/health-equity/race-ethnicity.html">CDC</a>) noted&#160;the disproportionate impact (increased hospitalizations and deaths) of the pandemic on some racial and ethnic minority groups. The CDC found that &quot;inequities in the social determinants of health, such as poverty and healthcare access, affecting these groups are interrelated and influence a wide range of health and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.&quot;&#160;&#160;</p><p>The racial reckonings&#160;of 2020 illuminate how the legacies of slavery,&#160;the Doctrine of Discovery and colonization continue to diminish life for people and creation.&#160;The&#160;glaring inequities exposed through the pandemic are&#160;being&#160;intensified by the&#160;global&#160;impacts of climate change.&#160;The&#160;final 2020 update of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's&#160;(NOAA)&#160;National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) found last year to be one of historical extremes. There were 22 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters across the United States, which shattered the previous annual record of 16 events in 2011 and 2017.&#160;All these disasters disproportionately&#160;affected&#160;people of color and the most vulnerable&#160;populations.&#160;We are&#160;one&#160;people and&#160;one&#160;earth&#160;in need of restoration. &#160;</p><p>Repenting&#160;the sin of racism and repenting our destruction of creation should happen together.&#160;Because God gave humans the vocation to be stewards of the earth, we proclaim that, for Christians, care of the earth is not an &quot;environmental cause.&quot; Instead, it is central to our holy calling to treasure the earth and care for it as our&#160;home, fully integrating creation care into our love of God, neighbor and all in the environment. Recalling the good earth and our call to be stewards of creation in hope and faith, we know our recovery from the pall of 2020 will, in many ways, be a&#160;transition&#160;to&#160;a new way of life. &#160;</p><p>Dear church, we can&#160;&quot;testify to the good news of God's grace&quot; (Acts 20&#58;24), which empowers us to move forward. We know that healing is possible — for the planet and for our communities. We are not too late.&#160;The time is&#160;now.&#160;To us, God is calling; through us, God wants to work a miracle; through our finite and inadequate efforts, God can and will bring about &quot;a new heaven and a new earth.&quot; God provides us with diverse&#160;gifts as protectors and guardians of creation. We affirm, therefore, the many stewards of the land who have been and are conserving the good earth that the Lord has given us.&#160;&#160;</p><p>As stewards of creation, we have many ways to lovingly serve the earth&#58;&#160;&#160;<br>• Explore and use ELCA Care for Creation resources, including video,&#160;study&#160;and action guides with information about the Creation Care Ambassadors initiative.&#160;&#160;<br>• Read the Lutherans Restoring Creation story <a href="https&#58;//lutheransrestoringcreation.org/5-ways-to-celebrate-earth-day-as-a-church/">&quot;5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day as Church Together but Apart.&quot;</a><br>• Accept the ELCA Young Adults <a href="https&#58;//blogs.elca.org/youngadults/">No Plastics for Lent</a> challenge this Easter season.&#160;&#160;<br>• Participate in a local cleanup (with appropriate distancing) if permitted by local&#160;authorities, or&#160;participate in the Earth Challenge 2020 citizen scientist initiative, focused on plastic pollution and clean air.&#160;&#160;<br>• Join with the ELCA's ecumenical partner <a href="http&#58;//www.creationjustice.org/">Creation Justice Ministries</a> in advocacy, education and prayer.&#160;<br>•&#160;&#160;Participate in <a href="https&#58;//zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcpcempqD0oG9wevcbPUs7EDD1ImfiMAzSw">Faith and Frontline Call to Action&#58; Good Trouble for Justice&#160;</a>on April 19, an ELCA-sponsored consultation focusing on climate migration, food security and just transition.&#160;This event brings together people of faith at this watershed moment and calls for the inclusion of the voices, ideas and expertise of the front line and faith communities alongside career politicians and others to address and implement climate solutions.</p><p>Envisioning a world that is just, sustainable and resilient, we, as Lutherans, heed God's call and take concrete steps to repair inequities and wealth divides locally, nationally and globally. A framework built on&#160;hope and&#160;connecting climate to economic and racial justice is essential to our reimagining of communities as resilient and inclusive, void of poverty and leaving no one behind.&#160;</p><p>&#160;In Christ,<br>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<br>Presiding Bishop<br>Evangelical Lutheran Church in America<br><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>04/13/2021Bishop Eaton issues statement on gun violencehttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8096https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8096<div class="ExternalClass459D415770324F9EA97BEFC7630DB662"><p>​<em>He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed (1 Peter 2&#58;24)</em><em>.</em></p><p>Dear church,&#160;</p><p>As a nation we have lived through a very difficult two weeks following the mass shootings in Atlanta on March 16 and again in Boulder, Colo., on March 22. The shooting in Colorado was only the most recent of <a href="https&#58;//click.everyaction.com/k/26696885/277785846/359820318?nvep=ew0KICAiVGVuYW50VXJpIjogIm5ncHZhbjovL3Zhbi9FQS9FQTAwMi8xLzY4ODYzIiwNCiAgIkRpc3RyaWJ1dGlvblVuaXF1ZUlkIjogIjIwOWRiMWQzLTA1OGQtZWIxMS04NWFhLTAwMTU1ZDQzYzk5MiIsDQogICJFbWFpbEFkZHJlc3MiOiAiSnVkaXRoLlJvYmVydHNAZWxjYS5vcmciDQp9&amp;hmac=x63AVSipJsbWh-b2mBX12Q7D4l5qOLH7PQHz3bQYcm0=&amp;emci=b2ffd318-fc8c-eb11-85aa-00155d43c992&amp;emdi=209db1d3-058d-eb11-85aa-00155d43c992&amp;ceid=3917953">104 mass shootings</a> already in 2021. Colorado has a painful history of mass shootings. Since 1993 the deadliest incidents have been the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, the mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora and now the 10 lives taken, including the life of a responding police officer, at a supermarket in Boulder.</p><p>Together&#160;with God, we grieve with the families and communities impacted by gun violence — especially in communities where it is an everyday occurrence. These shootings are not isolated but rather a pattern of the gun violence crisis in the United States. The numbers of victims tell only a part of the pain — the trauma caused by gun violence ripples across family members, friends, neighborhoods, communities and this country.</p><p>As we near the Sunday of the Passion, we enter into the suffering of Christ and into solidarity with the sufferings of the world. As we look to the healing power of the cross, we celebrate the gift of peace through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As followers of Jesus, we are empowered to take up the challenge to prevent violence and grapple with&#160;the complex causes that make violence so pervasive.</p><p>The ELCA is a church in society <a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Community_Violence_GunsSPR93.pdf?_ga=2.146074100.1328511596.1616679128-299342222.1616514018">striving for peace</a> in all the world. Let us join with others in calling for greater gun safety, including preventing easy access to assault-style weapons and strengthening our federal system of background checks for all gun sales. We call for support and protection for those living out their vocations to protect and defend society, enforce the law and work toward restorative justice. We pray for rostered ministers who provide support and counseling services to those affected by gun-violence-related crimes even as we pray for the perpetrators of violent acts. We call upon congregations to hold safe space for those dealing with the fears and threats related to violence in all its manifestations. </p><p>&#160;<br>In Christ,</p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<p>Presiding Bishop<br>Evangelical Lutheran Church in America<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.</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><p><br></p></div>03/26/2021