A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.
Jackie Utley, first African American ELCA ordination in South Carolina
Jackie Utley was the first African American to be ordained in the ELCA in South Carolina. Jackie received her Master of Divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C., in 2009. From 2011 to 2013, Jackie served as assistant minister at Ascension Lutheran Church in Columbia, a primarily White congregation in a formerly all-White community. Following the retirement of their senior pastor, the congregation called Jackie to be their new senior pastor, and on June 2, 2013, Jackie was ordained at the ELCA South Carolina Synod Assembly in Charleston.
Jackie Utley holds Lily, a newly baptized member of Ascension Lutheran. She was Jackie’s first baptism.
Jackie Utley is ordained during the ELCA South Carolina Synod Assembly on June 2, 2013. Bishop Herman R. Yoos III, of the ELCA South Carolina Synod, presides over the service.
Jackie pauses with a congregation member during the 2013 “God's Work. Our Hands.” Sunday, the ELCA’s dedicated day of service. Volunteers held a neighborhood recycling event for electronics to be safely disposed and recycled. They also collected clothes, shoes and toys for a local homeless shelter.
Ascension Lutheran church celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012. Jackie served as assistant pastor at Ascension from 2011 to 2013.
For many years, the congregation of Ascension participated in an outreach program called Seeds of Hope, a farmers market that runs throughout the state to help promote small, local farmers. Jackie chats with Ascension member Donna Bone and a customer who lives in the neighborhood.
On Jackie’s left is Herman R. Yoos III, bishop of the ELCA South Carolina Synod. Also present are Bob Hawkins, Ascension’s music minister, and Laura Browder, Ascension’s office administrator.
ELCA members celebrate Palm Sunday
On Sunday, March 29, Christians throughout the world observed Palm Sunday. This day inaugurates the most important week of the Christian year, beginning with Jesus’ glorious entry into Jerusalem and ending with his crucifixion and death. Palm Sunday, also known as Passion Sunday, remembers Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, as crowds gathered around him, waving palms and shouting “Hosanna!”. Many ELCA congregations commemorate Palm Sunday with processions and waving of palm branches.
The Sunday school bell choir from Beckville Lutheran Church in Litchfield, Minn., performed for the first time on Palm Sunday. The group is called All God's Ringers.
The congregation of American Lutheran Church in Burbank, Calif., gathers outside before the processional into the church.
The congregation of St. Mark’s in Mooresville, N.C., gathers before processing inside for Palm Sunday worship.
ELCA members help commemorate the 1965 Selma march
Some members of the ELCA joined civil rights activists, faith leaders and elected officials, including President Barack Obama, in Alabama March 7-8 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march. The ELCA social statement "Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture,” adopted by the ELCA 1993 Churchwide Assembly, expresses the ELCA’s calling to regard seriously culture and ethnicity, confront racism, to engage in public leadership, witness and deliberation, and to advocate for justice and fairness for all people.
Members of the ELCA delegation that traveled to Selma stand on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Ian McConnell (center), a student at the ELCA’s Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., stands with Bishop Paul L. Leeland from the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church (left), and Neil McDavid, director for Conference Ministries of the United Methodist Church.
The ELCA delegation meets with Maxine Waters, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California, and Deval Patrick, a former Massachusetts governor.
The ELCA 2013 Churchwide Assembly asked ELCA members to call on local, state and federal governments to guarantee the right to vote to all citizens and to discourage or eliminate all laws, ordinances or regulations that would have the effect of racial and ethnic discrimination in the exercise of that right.
Crowds gather on the Edmund Pettus Bridge where on March 7, 1965, protestors demonstrating for the right to vote departed from Selma for Montgomery and were met by law enforcement as they crossed the bridge. The events of that day – also known as Bloody Sunday – led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
John Lewis (center), a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia, was one of the many civil rights leaders who marched in Selma 50 years ago.
Extravaganza energizes youth, family leaders
More than 1,000 ELCA youth and family workers gathered in Detroit Jan. 30 – Feb. 2 for the 19th annual ELCA Youth and Family Ministry’s Extravaganza. The event provides youth and family leaders the opportunity to renew and revitalize their ministry and also a chance to bond with each other over common experiences. This year’s theme, “Story: God’s, Ours, Yours, Mine,” focused on how God's story is interconnected with the story happening in people’s lives today.
A Martin Luther bobblehead stands in front of Detroit’s Ford Field, where the ELCA Youth Gathering will be held July 15-19, 2015. Extravaganza participants had the opportunity to tour the venue.
Minneapolis hip-hop artist Dave Scherer – also known as Agape – performs while Extravaganza participants join in.
Jonathan Swenson – an ELCA pastor and a trained actor and founder of Paraphrase Theatre in Cedar Rapids, Iowa – presents a dramatic monologue at the Extravaganza.
The ELCA Youth Ministry Network aims to strengthen and empower adult leaders who work in child, youth and family ministry in ELCA congregations and in other areas of the church.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton preached at the Extravaganza’s opening worship.
Phil Ruge, a professor of religion at Texas Lutheran University and also a storyteller, tells the story of the Gospel of Mark during the Extravaganza. He tells the story of Mark 3-6, as a participant simultaneously illustrates it on a giant 8-foot Bible.
In an interactive exercise for two-person teams, participants chose a religious symbol that represents their life story. Team members then “branded,” or marked, each other with the chosen symbol.
An audience with Pope Francis
In an endeavor to learn, share and deepen dialogue with Christian partners around the world, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton led a delegation of ELCA leaders in February 2015 to meet with religious leaders in Geneva, London and Rome, which included a general audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
(photos/The Vatican. The ELCA received permission to publish these photos exclusively on www.ELCA.org. Any other use is prohibited.)
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton greets Pope Francis during the February ELCA Ecumenical Journey.
William E. Flippin Jr. greets Pope Francis during the 2015 Ecumenical Journey led by ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. William is a member of the ELCA Church Council and is the pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Atlanta.
Donald McCoid, director for ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations, presents Pope Francis with a gift during the 2015 Ecumenical Journey led by ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton presents Pope Francis with letters from students attending St. Paul’s School in San Francisco. The letters include one from the daughter of Elizabeth Ekdale. Elizabeth, a member of the ELCA Church Council and pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco, participated in the 2015 ELCA Ecumenical Journey led by Eaton.
In addition to greeting Pope Francis, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and other ELCA leaders met with representatives of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Congregation for Bishops in The Roman Curia, and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton visits the “Room of Tears” during the ELCA Ecumenical Journey.
A view of St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
The ELCA delegation included Donald P. Kreiss (far right), bishop of the ELCA Southeast Michigan Synod; Kathryn Lohre, executive for ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations (left); and Donald McCoid (next to Lohre), director for ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations. ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton (center) led the delegation.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and other ELCA leaders met with representatives of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity during the 2015 ELCA Ecumenical Journey.
ELCA delegation visits Europe
In an endeavor to learn, share and deepen dialogue with Christian partners around the world, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton led a delegation of ELCA leaders in February to meet with religious leaders in Geneva, London and Rome. In particular, the ELCA delegation met with representatives of The Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches, visited the Anglican Consultative Council, the Church of England, and met with Justin Welby – the archbishop of Canterbury. They also participated in a general audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
Ioan Sauca, associate general secretary and director of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey of the World Council of Churches, tells the ELCA delegation about the spiritual transformation that takes place in the lives of students who take turns leading ecumenical prayers each morning in the chapel at the Swiss institute.
As part of ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s 2015 Ecumenical Journey, ELCA leaders met with representatives of the World Council of Churches in Geneva. The ELCA delegation toured the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre, which houses The Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches offices.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton (second from left) leads a delegation of ELCA leaders in a visit to the offices of The Lutheran World Federation based in Geneva. The ELCA is the only U.S. member church of the federation. The Rev. Martin Junge (third from left) is the federation’s general secretary.
An ELCA delegation meets with staff representatives of the Anglican Consultative Council in London. The council facilitates the cooperative work of the churches of the Anglican Communion.
An ELCA delegation meets with Justin Welby (center), archbishop of Canterbury of the Church of England at Lambeth Palace in London. The archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior bishop of the Anglican Communion with 85 million members worldwide.
The ELCA delegation meets with Ioan Sauca (fourth from left), associate general secretary and director of The Ecumenical Institute at Bossey of the World Council of Churches in Switzerland.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton meets with Cardinal Marc Armand Ouellet in a visit to the Congregation for Bishops in the Roman Curia.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton meets with Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran in a visit to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. It was Cardinal Tauran who announced from the balcony the election of Pope Francis.