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

ELCA News
  • Season of Creation devotions offered by four heads of communion

    ​CHICAGO — The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and leaders from The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada have prepared a series of devotions to observe the Season of Creation 2020, Sept. 1–Oct. 4.

    The season, which begins with the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, is a time to join with the global Christian community in renewing, repairing and restoring commitments to God, to one another and to all of creation. For the four churches, it is also a time for strengthening relationships with one another. Through Scripture, hymns, advocacy and action, the weekly devotions, which begin Sept. 6, invite people to live out their vocation as stewards of creation.

    "We pray that our actions as stewards of God's good creation will continue to deepen not only in this season, but for all time," said Eaton. "Even as our relations as churches are not bound by national or ecclesiastical borders, neither is our witness to the One who came to redeem all of creation."

    In addition to Eaton, the devotions were contributed by the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop and primate, The Episcopal Church; the Rev. Susan C. Johnson, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; and the Most Rev. Linda Nicholls, archbishop and primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

    "I pray that these reflections will open hearts and minds to experience our relationship in and with all of creation in new ways," said Nicholls.

    In the opening devotion, the leaders stress the significance of a collective responsibility in caring for creation. "Waking up to matters of climate justice and environmental stewardship are among the most important callings people have today. Over many years, through many voices, our churches have come to a growing conviction that loving our neighbour includes loving Mother Earth as a neighbour."

    "It is timely, relevant and exciting for our churches to join together in prayer, worship and reflection during the Season of Creation," said Johnson. "With open hearts, minds and souls may we discern new actions and practices to show love for God's creation."

    "In this season of activism as we seek God's liberating, life-giving love for all, may these prayers and devotions inspire us to care for a world in which all creation can flourish," said Curry.

    The relations among the four churches have moved more closely toward "mutual recognition," bringing into mutual relation the two churches of "Called to Common Mission" in the United States and those of the Waterloo Declaration in Canada. One notable feature of the agreement is that it cites the experience of Indigenous people "not divided by national borders established by colonialist power" as grounds for expanding shared life among the churches. A Memorandum of Mutual Recognition (MMR) was approved by both Canadian churches in July 2019. The 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted constitutional changes embracing the Anglican Church of Canada, and in November 2019 the Church Council adopted the MMR. Once The Episcopal Church acts, the mutual recognition of the four churches will come into full effect.

    The Season of Creation devotions are available here.

     
     - - -
    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
    Public Relations Manager
    773-380-2877
    Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org


  • ELCA presiding bishop praises SCOTUS decision on LGBTQIA+ rights

    "ELCA social teaching supports human rights for all people, regardless of their sex (biological), gender, or sexuality. This stance is rooted in respect and welcome for all people as created in the image of God and evident in the ELCA's longstanding commitment to protecting civil and human rights" (Faith, Sexism, and Justice: A Call to Action, 2019).

    As National Pride Month is celebrated across this country, I rejoice in the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that employment discrimination on the basis of a worker's sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The court's decision is an important recognition of equal protection under the law for LGBTQIA+ people and for all.

    LGBTQIA+ people are not faceless or nameless. They are our children, parents, siblings and colleagues. They work hard and pay taxes. They serve in our congregations and communities. Our life together is enriched. They are us. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling brings us a step closer to realizing our founding conviction, "We the people of the United States."

    St. Paul writes, "If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it" (1 Corinthians 12:26). The June 15 decision brings the civic body a step closer to the cherished American value of equal rights for all. There is more work to be done to guarantee equal rights for LGBTQIA+ people beyond the workplace — in housing, medical care and military service. We are committed to this work as we celebrate, during Pride Month and all year round, the gifts of our LGBTQIA+ siblings.

    In Christ's peace,

    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 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
    Public Relations Manager
    773-380-2877
    Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org

  • ELCA presiding bishop responds to Supreme Court decision on DACA program

    ​June 18, 2020

    This church urges "flexible and humane ways for undocumented persons who have been in this country for a specified amount of time to be able to adjust their legal status." 
    — ELCA social message, "Immigration" (1998)

    Today I rejoice in the renewal of dreams and the transformation of heartbreak into hope that today's Supreme Court decision brings to our nation's more than 700,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, their families and their communities. Today's decision recognizes the American identity of these young adults and values the long and deep contributions that these DACA recipients are making and will make to our nation.

    Since 2012, DACA has provided protection from deportation to young people who have grown up as members of our churches and as neighbors enriching our common life. It has allowed them to remain in the only home they have ever known, pursue their educations, and work to strengthen our communities. For these reasons the ELCA has been on record in support of such a program since 2011 (CA11.04.26; https://www.elca.org/Resources/Faith-and-Society#Socialresolutions).

    These protections can now continue, easing individual anxiety for the future and ensuring that families can stay together. 

    The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that our health and future cannot be separated from the well-being of our neighbor. Even as we celebrate, there is more to do to provide permanent protection for DACA recipients. Today's important decision must be reinforced by legislation that ensures our immigrant neighbors can continue to pursue educations, develop careers, raise families and worship alongside us without constant threats of deportation.

    We look ahead and urge passage of H.R.6, the American Dream and Promise Act, which passed the House of Representatives in June 2019. It would provide legal status and a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients while promoting just treatment for other undocumented communities. 

    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 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
     


  • Emanuel Nine Commemoration

    ​CHICAGO — June 17 marks the fifth anniversary of the shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., where nine people were killed during a Bible study.

    To honor this day, the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted a resolution to establish June 17 as "Emanuel 9 Day of Repentance," commemorating the martyrdom of the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, the Rev. Daniel L. Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton and Myra Thompson by Dylann Roof, who grew up in the ELCA. Pinckney and Simmons were graduates of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, one of the ELCA's seven seminaries.

    The ELCA resolution calls for the commemoration to be grounded in prayer, the development of litanies and worship around repentance from racism, and for deepening conversation with the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME Church) on ways of reconciliation and repentance on the matters of racism and white supremacy.  

    The ELCA Prayer Service for Commemoration of the Emanuel Nine will be available online at 12 p.m. Eastern time on June 17. Participants include ELCA leaders representing various leadership groups and ethnic-specific associations, and those who authored and organized the "Emanuel 9 Day of Repentance" resolution. Additionally, several ecumenical partners will participate, including the Rt. Rev. Adam J. Richardson Jr., senior bishop of the AME Church; Mr. Jim Winkler, general secretary and president of the National Council of Churches; and the Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, chair of the Conference of National Black Churches. The Rev. Herman Yoos, bishop of the South Carolina Synod, and the Rt. Rev. Samuel L. Green Sr., presiding bishop of the 7th Episcopal District of the AME Church, will co-host the service. The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop, will deliver the sermon.

    The service will conclude with a call to action from three ELCA leaders, including the presiding bishop, Vice President William Horne and the Rev. Tracie Bartholomew, chair of the Conference of Bishops.

    More information about the ELCA's ecumenical relationship with the AME Church and resources to help congregations honor this day are available here.  

    - - -

    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
     


  • This is the Day

    ​               "Out of my distress I called on the Lord" (Psalm 118:5).

    We are a nation in distress. We are a church in distress. The coronavirus has killed 103,000 of us. The virus of racism has taken hundreds of thousands more throughout our history. Now these two deadly viruses converge. Under this distress the veneer of equality has cracked and we see the pain, anger and frustration of those who have been denied the rights and dignity so many of us expect and often take for granted.

    I have heard it said that slavery ended with the Civil War. Why don't people of color "just get over it." Here is the question we need to ask, "How do you get over something that isn't over?" The extrajudicial killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd that we have seen have laid open the wound in our country that has never been fully dealt with and has never healed. The officer's knee suffocating the life out of George Floyd "reminds us that blatant acts of intimidation, hatred, and violence continue" (Freed in Christ social statement, page 3).

    Continued peaceful protests, vigils and demonstrations are not only legitimate but essential to move this country and this church to honest and deep self-examination. Just as the body of Christ is COVID positive, so is the body of Christ infected with racism and white supremacy. We cannot turn away from this truth. To deny it is dishonest and dangerous.

    Let us stand with those peacefully protesting and acting responsibly. Looting and destruction of property does not further the cause of justice. Government has a role to uphold civil order while also a role to respect peaceful protest. There are those in law enforcement who are acting wisely, even while others have acted irresponsibly. I ask you to support the many people, including those in our church, who are working to de-escalate tensions between law enforcement, protesters and the community.

    Psalm 118 continues: "I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" (21-24). Christ, the cornerstone, has already broken down the wall that divides us. The time is now. This is the day.


    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 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
     

     


  • ELCA presiding bishop calls on church to observe national day of mourning

    CHICAGO (May 29, 2020) — The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has called on the church to join with faith communities across the United States in lament and remembrance, and on our elected leaders to observe Monday, June 1, as a day of mourning to honor the more than 100,000 people who have died from COVID-19.

    "I encourage all of us in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to join together across faith lines in this time of collective mourning," Eaton said. "This weekend our Jewish neighbors will remember God's covenant, our Muslim neighbors will recall the reception of the Quran, and as Christians we will celebrate the power of the Holy Spirit present among us. In the significance of these days in our traditions, our faith communities will collectively lament and remember the more than 100,000 lives that have been lost to COVID-19. We join together in prayer for the healing of this nation, and for the world that God so loves."

    The day of mourning calls on all religious communities to come together in observing this historic moment in their own traditions and practices. A toolkit and other resources are available for local religious leaders and mayors.  

    "We are united – as individuals, as communities and as a nation – in our grief," said Kathryn M. Lohre, assistant to the presiding bishop and executive for ELCA ecumenical and inter-religious relations. "The interfaith community has recognized this and claimed this moment as a time to come together as the Christian family and with our neighbors of other religions and worldviews, to mourn the tragic loss of over 100,000 lives. The faith communities also call upon our elected leaders to designate June 1 as a national day of prayer and remembrance, as a time set aside for national mourning."

    Federal and local governments are also being called on to observe the day of prayer and remembrance by the lowering of flags, moments of silence and other methods of reflection.

    In contemplation of the gravity of the COVID-19 situation during the season of Pentecost, Eaton, along with the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, invite members to pray for and with one another through a new prayer, "A Prayer for the Power of the Spirit Among the People of God."  

    This new prayer for Pentecost was crafted by a team of Lutheran and Episcopal prayer leaders in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will connect the two church bodies in common prayer and remind members of the common mission, wherever and however we may be gathered.

    The ELCA and the Episcopal Church are approaching the 20th anniversary of their full communion agreement, "Called to Common Mission."

    - - -

    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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07/05/2020     10:30 AM

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07/12/2020     10:30 AM

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07/15/2020     7:00 PM

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07/19/2020     10:30 AM

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07/26/2020     10:30 AM