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Recent News Stories

ELCA news releases are detailed accounts describing events and ministires of the ELCA 

ELCA News
  • Anne Edison-Albright elected bishop of the ELCA East Central Synod of Wisconsin

    ​CHICAGO — The Rev. Anne Edison-Albright, Decorah, Iowa, was elected Sept. 26 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the East Central Synod of Wisconsin of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election took place during an online synod assembly.

    Edison-Albright was elected on the fifth ballot, with 151 votes. The Rev. Jim Honig, pastor of Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay, Wis., received 133 votes.

    The bishop-elect has served as director of College Ministries and as college pastor at Luther College in Decorah since 2016. Luther is one of 26 ELCA colleges and universities. Edison-Albright served as pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Stevens Point, Wis., from 2010 to 2016. She has also served as a hospital chaplain, a pastoral intern at the international congregation in Bratislava, Slovakia, and a summer missionary/English teacher in Chuzhou, China. Prior to rostered ministry, Edison-Albright was a high school English and English as a second language teacher.

    Edison-Albright received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and journalism from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., in 2003 and a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Conn., in 2008.

    Edison-Albright's installation is scheduled for Jan. 9, 2021.

    The Rev. Gerald Mansholt has served as bishop of the East Central Synod of Wisconsin since 2014.

    Information about the East Central Synod of Wisconsin is available at https://ecsw.org/.

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    About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
    The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with 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 "God's work. Our hands.," 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.

    For information contact:
    Candice Hill Buchbinder
    773-380-2877
    Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org


  • Patricia Lull reelected bishop of the ELCA Saint Paul Area Synod

    ​CHICAGO ― The Rev. Patricia J. Lull was elected Sept. 25 to serve a second six-year term as bishop of the Saint Paul Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election took place during an online synod assembly.

    Lull was reelected on the first ballot, with 204 votes. A total of 198 votes was needed for election.

    Lull has served as bishop of the Saint Paul Area Synod since 2014. Prior to becoming bishop, she served as executive director of the St. Paul Area Council of Churches from 2011 to 2014 and as dean of students at Luther Seminary in St. Paul from 2001 to 2010. Luther is one of seven ELCA seminaries. Lull also served as director of campus ministry with the ELCA Division for Higher Education and Schools from 1999 to 2001, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Athens, Ohio, from 1984 to 1999, and associate pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Alpena, Mich., from 1979 to 1984.  

    Lull received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, in 1974 and a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Conn., in 1977.

    Information about the Saint Paul Area Synod is available at spas-elca.org/.

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    About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
    The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with 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 "God's work. Our hands.," 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.

    For information contact:
    Candice Hill Buchbinder
    773-380-2877
    Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org


     


  • A Pastoral Word on the Grand Jury Decision in Louisville

    For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. ― Ephesians 2:14

    In response to the grand jury decision in Louisville, Ky., we offer a word of prayer and healing following the decision not to charge police officers for Breonna Taylor's death. As a nation, we are struggling with and divided by the decision. It has affected so many of us in so many ways. We grieve the brokenness of the criminal justice system. We are tired and weary of the violence. Has not God created all of us to have inherent dignity, value and worth? 

    Despite the anger, violence and injustice connected with this sad and horrible tragedy, we should not abandon our neighbors. Our baptismal covenant with God calls us to better relationship with one another than we are currently demonstrating. We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ's presence in the world. The covenantal relationship we have with God in Christ leads us to our neighbors in a common cause to confront the reality of systemic racism in our country. 

    We come together at the cross. The proclamation of the gospel is the only nonnegotiable in the life of this church.  Yet, we know the gospel can be divisive for us in our ministry for justice and peace. As we dwell in God's word, we pray God will give us the strength and the courage to act in service of the gospel's free course for the life of the world. 

    Because of the cross, we have peace; we have hope; we are loved. We join with you in prayer for the Taylor family, Officer Hankison and his family, the prosecutor and his family, the grand jurors and their families, the community of Louisville and all who work for justice and peace. 

    In Christ, 

    Elizabeth A. Eaton                                                 William O. Gafkjen 

    Presiding Bishop                                                    Bishop 
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America              Indiana-Kentucky Synod, ELCA 

    - - -
    About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
    The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with 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 "God's work. Our hands.," 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.

    For information contact:
    Candice Hill Buchbinder
    773-380-2877
    Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org


  • Bishop Eaton and Rick Steves host ELCA World Hunger virtual fundraiser

    ​CHICAGO — The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), along with Rick Steves, guidebook author and travel television host, and the Rev. Shelley Bryan Wee, bishop of the ELCA Northwest Washington Synod, will host  "Hunger in the Time of COVID-19: Life for Today, Hope for Tomorrow" to benefit ELCA World Hunger.

    This virtual fundraising event — the first of its kind — is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. Central time.

    During this pandemic we are witnessing an alarming increase in hunger around the world, and ELCA congregations are hard at work responding to the needs in their communities. The United Nations World Food Programme warns that acute food insecurity could almost double due to COVID-19. In the coming months, as many as 265 million people could face hunger extreme enough to put their livelihoods or lives at risk. "Hunger in the Time of COVID-19: Life for Today, Hope for Tomorrow" is an opportunity for the church to come together to respond to this global crisis.

    ELCA World Hunger is uniquely positioned to reach communities in need to help people secure long-term, sustainable change. This is accomplished by connecting people with resources to produce food and gain access to clean water, education, health care and sources of income.

    "Hunger in the Time of COVID-19: Life for Today, Hope for Tomorrow" will feature messages from ELCA World Hunger partners on the front lines of the hunger crisis and discussions about the root causes of hunger and poverty addressed in Steves' recent TV special Hunger and Hope: Lessons From Ethiopia and Guatemala.

    ELCA World Hunger has received a fundraising match of up to $250, 000.

    Register for the event.

     - - -

    About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
    The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with 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 "God's work. Our hands.," 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.

    For information contact:
    Candice Hill Buchbinder
    773-380-2877
    Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org


  • Presiding Bishop responds to gross disregard for human life and dignity at private detention facility

    "As Christ on the cross did not lose his dignity, but in fact revealed himself fully in vulnerability, every human who is being mistreated retains the image of God that confers dignity. A society should not deny a person's dignity for any reason." —ELCA social message "Human Rights," p. 4

    On Monday, Sept. 14, I learned of the very disturbing account of human rights violations against immigrant women in custody in the privately run Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Ga. The center is run by LaSalle Corrections under a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The whistleblower complaint that was filed on Monday by a licensed nurse practitioner revealed a pattern of medically unnecessary hysterectomies and medical neglect that violated women. Too often, the Christian community has given its tacit or explicit consent to acts of gender-based violence.

    God holds each of us responsible for the welfare of our neighbor. We therefore condemn these acts of coerced sterilization as a form of gender-based violence. This is especially true when the perpetrators wield significant power and control over women who are at elevated risk of injustice, abuse and violence.

    The ELCA acknowledges that "migrants, immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers often suffer more when they are women, girls, or gender non-conforming people" (ELCA social statement Faith, Sexism, and Justice: A Call to Action). Further, the ELCA urges support for legal reforms, humane policies, and adequate services for migrants, immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, especially those who experience intersecting forms of oppression.

    This statement affirms previous ELCA teaching and policy that stress fairness and generosity in responding to newcomers in the United States through the biblical instruction to "welcome the stranger." The ELCA's commitment to U.S. legal and policy reform includes several social-policy resolutions anchored by compassion, justice and wisdom. Those resolutions prioritize addressing the root causes of mass migration, the unification of families, and just, humane enforcement.

    As a member of Christ's body, I share in the anguish and outrage evoked by these revelations of abuse and violence. Since Monday, we have learned that at least 17 women have come forward with stories of unwanted medical procedures, including sterilization, which itself carries a significant history of sin in our country against immigrants, people of color, Indigenous women, people with disabilities and many others.

    The sin of violence against the bodies of women cannot continue. People of all nations suffer violence inflicted upon them by others for gender-based reasons. We all have a responsibility to speak out against gender-based violence, to ensure that women and men, boys and girls, are safe in worship, at home, in the care of the state—in all places in our societies. That is why the ELCA is actively participating in #ThursdaysinBlack, the World Council of Churches' global ecumenical campaign to end and prevent gender-based violence.

    As the ELCA we strongly condemn gender-based violence and violations of human rights wherever they occur. We pray especially for the courageous women who have come forward. We look ahead to the expeditious investigation of these reports by the Department of Homeland Security as urged by members of Congress, to be completed by Friday, Sept. 25, 2020.
     

    In Christ,

    The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
    Presiding Bishop
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
     

    - - -

    About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
    The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with 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 "God's work. Our hands.," 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.

    For information contact:
    Candice Hill Buchbinder
    773-380-2877
    Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org
     


  • Laura Barbins elected bishop of the ELCA Northeastern Ohio Synod

    ​CHICAGO — The Rev. Dr. Laura Barbins, Mentor, Ohio, was elected Sept. 12 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election took place during an online synod assembly.

    Barbins was elected on the fifth ballot, with 171 votes. The Rev. Angela Freeman-Riley, pastor of Bethesda on the Bay Lutheran Church in Bay Village, Ohio, received 148 votes.

    The bishop-elect has served as pastor of Celebration Lutheran Church in Chardon since 2001 and adjunct faculty at Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, since 2018. Trinity is one of seven ELCA seminaries. Barbins served as interim pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church in Fairview Park, Ohio, from 1999 to 2000 and associate pastor for youth at Holy Trinity Lutheran in Nashville, Tenn., from 1995 to 1997.

    Barbins received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Roanoke College in Salem, Va., in 1990 and a Master of Divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (now United Lutheran Seminary) in Gettysburg, Pa., in 1994. United is one of seven ELCA seminaries. Barbins received a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville in 2004.

    The Rev. Abraham D. Allende has served as bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod since 2014.

    Information about the Northeastern Ohio Synod is available at neos-elca.org/.

    - - -
    About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
    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 "God's work. Our hands.," 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.

    For information contact:
    Candice Hill Buchbinder
    773-380-2877
    Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org
     


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