ELCA Newshttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/ELCA presiding bishop issues response to President Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” documenthttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8021https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8021<div class="ExternalClass87CDD989DC3B42EC9F6ECF7161D9BDC2"><p><em></em></p><p><em></em></p><p><em></em></p><p><em>&quot;Pray for the peace of Jerusalem&quot; (Psalm 122&#58;6) </em></p><p>I am very dismayed and disturbed by President Trump's announcement of a &quot;peace plan&quot; that, I fear,&#160;will bring greater insecurity for Israelis and Palestinians instead of peace.</p><p>Our church has long held that any successful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be based on negotiation between the parties. Unfortunately, this &quot;plan&quot; has involved only one party. A plan made for a people without consulting that people will not bring peace. It also seeks to remove from the table many of the final status issues by effectively giving a green light to Israel to further entrench&#160;the occupation, rather than end&#160;it, -&#160;a&#160;<a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/PNW_Strategy.pdf?_ga=2.221887643.2097063413.1580134424-748946398.1572449827">policy</a>&#160;we have advocated for years.<br> <br>Rather than drawing together Israelis and Palestinians to reach a peace accord, the effect of this plan will be further alienation and, I&#160;am afraid, more tension, with the possibility of new, violent responses. This path will not lead to peace with justice.&#160;It will not promote reconciliation. But it will reinforce extremists in Israel, in Palestine and throughout the region,&#160;decreasing security for everyone. </p><p>Just last week,&#160;United Nations Under-Secretary-General&#160;for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo&#160;briefed the Security Council, noting&#58; </p><p>&quot;It is sadly not a surprise that a recent survey of millennials by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) found that almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of Israeli millennials thought the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would &quot;never end&quot;, making them the least optimistic of the people surveyed in countries affected by war. Palestinians were also pessimistic, although slightly less so, with 52 per cent believing that the conflict would never end. </p><p>&quot;The international community bears a responsibility to help build a different future for these young Israelis and Palestinians, one that promises hope, reconciliation and peaceful coexistence rather than perpetual occupation and conflict.&quot;</p><p>She closed by saying she&#160;&quot;would&#160;like&#160;to emphasize the continued urgency of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements.&quot; </p><p>Therefore, I call upon&#160;President Trump to&#160;develop a different plan&#160;that would involve all&#160;parties,&#160;and&#160;to pursue efforts&#160;that would&#160;adhere to international law and human rights&#160;conventions. This&#160;plan should ensure&#160;the protection and preservation of&#160;internationally recognized human rights&#160;and realize,&#160;for Palestinians&#160;and for Israelis,&#160;two viable, secure states living side by&#160;side&#160;in peace. </p><p>&#160;<img src="file&#58;///C&#58;/Users/CANDIC~1/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.jpg" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;191px;" /></p><p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<br> Presiding Bishop<br> Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</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 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 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> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br> <br></p><p>&#160;</p><p><br> <br></p><p><br></p><p><br> <br></p><p>&#160;</p><p><br></p></div>01/28/2020Herbert Chilstrom, first ELCA presiding bishop, dies at 88https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8020https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8020<div class="ExternalClassE404D9D5FD3C4ADE9A4673B362DF2C29"><p>The Rev. Dr. Herbert W. Chilstrom, 88, the first presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), died Jan. 19 at his home in Green Valley, Ariz. He was born in Litchfield, Minn., on Oct. 18, 1931.</p><p>He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Corinne (Hansen), also a Lutheran pastor; a daughter, Mary Cress of Mesa, Ariz.; a son, Christopher Holt of Baltimore; and four sisters, Winnifred Christenson of Robbinsdale, Minn.; Virginia Francis of Pickens, S.C.; Martha (Charles) Anderson of Ashby, Minn.; and Janet (Frederick) Sickert of West Linn, Ore. He was preceded in death by his son Andrew; brother, David; and sisters Adeline Christenson (Earle) and Lorraine Juul (Dick).</p><p>Chilstrom completed academic degrees at Augsburg University, Augustana Seminary, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Princeton Seminary and New York University, where he earned a Doctor of Education degree.</p><p>He served Lutheran congregations in Pelican Rapids, Elizabeth and St. Peter, Minn. He was professor and dean at Luther College, Teaneck, N.J., from 1962 to 1970. In 1976 he was elected bishop of the Minnesota Synod of the Lutheran Church in America (LCA). At the 1987 merger that created the 5.2-million-member ELCA, he was elected the first presiding bishop.</p><p>Chilstrom was awarded 15 honorary doctorates by 15 colleges, universities and seminaries. He was named a commander of the Royal Order of the North Star by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and received the Pope John XXIII Award for Distinguished Service from Viterbo University, the Servus Dei Award from the ELCA, and numerous other honors and awards.</p><p>Chilstrom served on numerous boards of directors, including those of the Lutheran World Federation, Geneva, Switzerland (as vice president); Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.; Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota; Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn.; and the National Council of Churches.</p><p>He also authored numerous books and articles.</p><p>After retirement he continued to be active in church and community, preaching and lecturing in many parts of the country. He became a Minnesota Master Gardener, volunteering and serving as interim director at the Linnaeus Arboretum at Gustavus Adolphus College.</p><p>The family prefers that memorial gifts be given to the Herbert Chilstrom Chair in New Testament Studies at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, or to one of the Chilstrom student scholarship funds at Luther Seminary; Gustavus Adolphus College; Augsburg University, Minneapolis, Minn.; or Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn.</p><p>There will be two services of Holy Communion&#58;</p><p>Thursday, Feb. 13, 2 p.m.<br>Desert Hills Lutheran Church<br>2150 S. Camino del Sol<br>Green Valley, Ariz.<br>ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton will bring a greeting, the Rev. Deborah Hutterer, bishop of the ELCA Grand Canyon Synod, will preach and Pastor Martin Overson will preside. Reception to follow. </p><p>Saturday, Feb. 15, 1 p.m.<br>Christ Chapel<br>Gustavus Adolphus College<br>St. Peter, Minn. <br>ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton will preside and bring a greeting, Presiding Bishop Emeritus Mark Hanson will preach, the Rev. Jon Anderson, bishop of the ELCA Southwestern Minnesota Synod, will bring a greeting and Chaplain Siri Erickson will host. Reception to follow. </p><p>For each service, clergy and rostered leaders of the ELCA, together with clergy of the ELCA's ecumenical partners, are invited to robe and process and are asked to RSVP (to jhoward@dhlc.org for Desert Hills and to <a href="https&#58;//urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__forms.gle_ZB162Zyf99ETnKg5A&amp;d=DwMF-g&amp;c=9g4MJkl2VjLjS6R4ei18BA&amp;r=Cax7NNBxv1OBXB-fDRR0uw_XrTTnNtb6a_4APoVtTrtLB8qMuxWRCt6_hkEUekhs&amp;m=omZOwYttkEqDjjHi04eJw-DJ2abm7EY2hlDI-H47e24&amp;s=YDbX56bGAlKwq0tE8YFtqHY8cf6RvQ_I8sfyXlVzlkg&amp;e=">https&#58;//forms.gle/ZB162Zyf99ETnKg5A</a> for Christ Chapel). The vestments color of the day will be green.<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 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 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>01/19/2020Bishop Eaton issues pastoral message on death of Herbert Chilstromhttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8019https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8019<div class="ExternalClass376A8DA526F9485C834E97A544520F8F"><p>​<span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">Dear Church,</span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">With sadness I bring you the news that Presiding Bishop Emeritus Herbert W. Chilstrom died at home early this morning. His wife, Pastor Corinne Chilstrom; his son, Chris Holt; and family were with him.</span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">Bishop Chilstrom was the first presiding bishop of the ELCA. Many of you knew him in those early days when the ELCA was just getting started – there was no furniture at the Lutheran Center, files were in boxes, phones were on the floor, and the skeleton staff worked on card tables and folding chairs. He was once told by a corporate executive sitting next to him on a plane that this was no way to start a corporation and it would never work. Thirty-three years later we are still here, entrusted with the ministry of the gospel and serving the neighbor.</span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">I can’t imagine the uncertainty and chaos of those first months, but all I know we were filled with hope for this new church the Spirit had brought into being. And I know that Bishop Chilstrom served out of the conviction that it was God’s will to raise up an ELCA witness to the gospel, and with God, all things are possible.</span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">I remember Bishop Chilstrom saying once that his mother told him&#58; “Herb, you might be the only Bible some people read.” It was her way of telling him, and his way of telling us, that we are living witnesses to the grace of God.</span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">Bishop Chilstrom chose “Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart!” (ELW, 873) to be the sending hymn at his funeral. Verse five announces&#58;</span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">&#160;</span></p><p align="center" style="text-align&#58;center;"><em><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">At last the march shall end;</span></em></p><p align="center" style="text-align&#58;center;"><em><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">The wearied ones shall rest; </span></em></p><p align="center" style="text-align&#58;center;"><em><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">The pilgrims find their home at last,</span></em></p><p align="center" style="text-align&#58;center;"><em><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">Jerusalem the blest.</span></em></p><p align="center" style="text-align&#58;center;"><em><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">Rejoice! Give thanks and sing!</span></em></p><p align="center" style="text-align&#58;center;"><em><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">&#160;</span></em></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">Through tears, but in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection, we rejoice.</span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">&#160;</span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">Peace,</span></p><p><span style="background&#58;white;color&#58;black;font-size&#58;12pt;">The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<br></span><span style="background&#58;white;color&#58;black;font-size&#58;12pt;">Presiding Bishop<br></span><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</span></p><p style="line-height&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;">&#160;</span></p> <p><br></p></div>01/19/2020ELCA presiding bishop issues pastoral message on Iran conflicthttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8018https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8018<div class="ExternalClassF1BA8A9A97AA45F8880FE2914011E996"><p>​<em>&quot;Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God&quot;&#160;</em>(Matthew 5&#58;9).&#160;<br></p><p>The current crisis between the United States&#160;and Iran is&#160;worrisome&#160;for&#160;many of us in&#160;our&#160;church, in&#160;our&#160;nation and in the world.&#160;Our country and Iran need&#160;urgently&#160;to find ways&#160;to resolve our differences through&#160;a&#160;de-escalation&#160;of the current crisis,&#160;using&#160;diplomacy and&#160;other peaceful means.<br></p><p>Armed conflict and war are always tragic for those directly&#160;involved&#160;and often as well for civilians,&#160;who also may suffer under&#160;punitive sanctions. These situations are evidence of broken relationships.&#160;&#160;&#160;</p><p>Our social statement,&#160;&quot;<a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/PeaceSS.pdf">For Peace in God's World</a>,&quot; offers guidance&#58;&#160;<br><em>We of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America share with the Church&#160;of Jesus Christ in all times and places the calling to be peacemakers ….</em>&#160;<br><em>The basis of the Church's&#160;peace-calling is in God's final peace, the peace of God's eternal reign. That calling is to proclaim the Gospel of God's final peace and to work for&#160;earthly peace.</em></p><p>For our part, we have a window of opportunity to stop the current conflict before it worsens.&#160;We should appeal now to our elected officials to pursue the path of dialogue&#160;and diplomacy&#160;with Iran — for our sake, for the sake of the people of Iran and for the sake of the world&#160;God so loves.&#160;</p><p>&#160;<br>In peace,</p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<br><p> Presiding Bishop<br> Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</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 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 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> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br> <br></p><p>&#160;</p><p><br></p></div>01/09/2020ELCA presiding bishop pastoral letter on the United Methodist Churchhttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8017https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8017<div class="ExternalClass2DF84B2CCB6647CE88E8D284F43F341A"><p>​Dear Church,</p><p>Through full communion, we have grown in unity and fellowship over the past decade with the United Methodist Church (UMC). We are receiving and sharing gifts, strengthening the body of Christ, and deepening mission and ministry for the sake of the world. </p><p>Last week, in a flurry of misleading headlines, many of us read that the United Methodist Church had split. <em>This is not, in fact, what happened</em>. On Jan. 3, it was <a href="https&#58;//www.unitedmethodistbishops.org/newsdetail/united-methodist-traditionalists-centrists-progressives-bishops-sign-agreement-aimed-at-separation-13133654">announced</a> that an ideologically diverse group of leaders collaborated in a mediation process resulting in their unanimous support for a proposed agreement. If adopted, the <a href="https&#58;//www.unitedmethodistbishops.org/files/websites/www/pdfs/signed+umc+mediation+protocoal+statement+-2020.pdf">Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation</a> would result in the separation of the United Methodist Church. At this point, it still needs to come through the appropriate legislative mechanisms in order to be deliberated by the UMC General Conference in May. The proposed agreement is just that at this time.</p><p>Many of you may be pondering the good Lutheran question&#58; What does this mean? For the UMC? For our full communion partnership? It is simply too soon to have clarity on those questions. I assure you that there are leaders, both ELCA and UMC, who are carefully and faithfully tending to these questions. My staff colleagues and I are in regular conversation with our counterparts. As actual decisions are made by the General Conference and details become clearer, we will share information and seek to interpret it.</p><p>For now, I invite your continued prayers for, and accompaniment with, our full communion partners. Reach out to your neighbors and let them know that you are walking with them and praying for them, for the unity of Christ's church, and for God's justice and peace for all people and creation. This is a time for deepening our commitments to the relationships at the very heart of our bond as siblings united in Christ. <br></p><p>In Christ,</p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<br><p> Presiding Bishop<br> Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</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 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 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> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br> <br></p><p>&#160;</p><p><br></p></div>01/09/2020ELCA presiding bishop responds to anti-Semitic incidents in New Yorkhttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8016https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8016<div class="ExternalClass7878C66B7DED4E02AB003CF6133B3E60"><p>​December 30, 2019</p><p>Today is the last day of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. As our Jewish siblings lighted the menorah, they sang this blessing&#58; <span>&#160;</span><em></em></p><p><em><span>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </span>We kindle these lights because of the wondrous deliverance You performed for our ancestors. During these eight days of Hanukkah, these lights are sacred; we are not to use them but only to behold them, so that their glow may rouse us to give thanks for Your wondrous acts of deliverance. </em></p><p>Tragically, several acts of anti-Semitic hatred, bigotry and violence in New York during these days have marred the joyful festivities in Jewish communities across this country and around the world. Within the last year, we have witnessed the broader surge of anti-Semitism from Pittsburgh to Poway in which these most recent incidents have occurred. Our Jewish neighbors are living in pain, grief and fear. <span>&#160;</span></p><p>Twenty-five years ago, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America joined other Lutheran Christians worldwide in repudiating anti-Judaism within our own tradition. In our 1994 “Declaration of the ELCA to the Jewish Community” we affirmed that “we recognize in anti-Semitism a contradiction and affront to the Gospel, a violation of our hope and calling, and we pledge this church to oppose the deadly working of such bigotry, both within our own circles and in the society around us.” </p><p>This will require more of us than repeated statements. It will require building bridges of inter-religious understanding in our communities. It will require reaching out to our Jewish neighbors to offer our care, support, love and protection. It will require our persistence in addressing the root causes of anti-Semitism and its menacing companions of white supremacy and xenophobia. <span>&#160;</span><span>&#160;</span></p><p>In different ways, and for different reasons, this is a time of year when Jews and Christians celebrate the miracle of light. In our prayers and actions, may we be a living presence of God’s sacred light that rouses us all to resistance and righteousness. </p><p>In peace,</p><p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<br>Presiding Bishop, ELCA<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 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 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> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br> <br><br></p><p><br></p><p>&#160;</p> <p><br></p></div>12/30/2019