ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/ELCA presiding bishop issues message in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7872http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7872<div class="ExternalClass56D252232AFB40329D763495D9A41B81"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has issued the following pastoral message in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.</p><p>January 2017</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>&quot;Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?&quot; He said, &quot;The one who showed him mercy.&quot; Jesus said to him, &quot;Go and do likewise.&quot; </em><br>(Luke 10&#58;36-37)</p><p>&#160;On Monday, Jan. 16, our nation will be observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Dr. King's work called us, all of us, to remember our neighbor. As a civil rights leader, he spoke about a vision of a beloved community and preached a message of love. In his last speech, Dr. King said, &quot;Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness&quot; and then spoke of the parable of the good Samaritan. The key of the parable is the man's answer&#58; Being a neighbor is about how you act when a person is in need. As children of God, we are all deserving of respect and dignity.</p><p>According to Pew Research, in the ELCA more than 90 percent of the congregations are involved in some type of food ministry whether it's a soup kitchen, food pantry, community garden or other similar ministry. Through ELCA World Hunger, our congregations accompany communities toward a world of justice where all will be fed. We care for our neighbor in need, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day is another opportunity for us to be the church for one another.</p><p>We are called to be a church that embraces each person and confronts racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, age, gender, familial, sexual orientation, physical and economic barriers that can manifest themselves in unjust treatment, inequalities, exclusion and violence. Do we always get it right? No, we don't. As a denomination that must do better at being a neighbor – we have work to do.</p><p>Dr. King once said, &quot;There comes a time when silence is betrayal.&quot; When we hear and witness actions that intimidate, degrade, make fun of or cause harm and choose not to speak up, we are equally complicit in the action. Whether it is on a school playground, a water cooler conversation, in the halls of Congress or in a congregation, we are called to be the Samaritan. We are to show mercy and break our silence of all forms of violence including those that stereotype groups, demean people and discriminate.</p><p>Next week our nation will be inaugurating the next president. No matter whom you voted for, we are all children of God. Through our baptism in Jesus Christ, we become part of the One Body; what happens to one happens to us all. When we all are allowed to thrive in a society that treats everyone with dignity and respect, we open ourselves up to endless possibilities for prosperity. When opportunities are awarded to everyone equally, then we will all have unity and social harmony.</p><p>In his &quot;Letter from a Birmingham Jail,&quot; Dr. King wrote, &quot;We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.&quot; We have an opportunity to continue the legacy and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. not just on King Day, but every day, at all times and in all places.</p><p>God's peace, </p><p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton </p><p>Presiding Bishop </p><p>Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</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 more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations 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> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br>&#160;</p><p>​</p></div>01/13/2017ELCA leaders to participate in Martin Luther King Jr. Day events http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7871http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7871<div class="ExternalClassB26C1122B1D04F15B58B018A179CE224"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;CHICAGO (ELCA) – In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, leaders from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will participate in nationwide commemoration activities Jan. 14-15.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;As we celebrate the legacy of Dr. King on his date of birth, it is my hope that we find ourselves stirred and challenged to fully embrace his courageous and prophetic vision of a beloved community,&quot; said Judith Roberts, director for ELCA Racial Justice Ministries. &quot;As a follower of Christ, Dr. King embodied what it means to live out a Christian vocation through teaching and actions.&#160;Dr. King raised the consciousness of racism, classism, capitalism and militarism in this nation while calling for accountability from the wider communities of faith.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;As we remember the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin L. King Jr., many African Descent Lutheran Association local chapters seek to lift up and embrace King's spirit of ecumenism,&quot; said the Rev. Lamont Wells, national president, African Descent Lutheran Association. &quot;The various commemoration events in honor of Dr. King are critical and key ways that local ELCA synods can partner with their Lutheran ethnic populations – particularly people of African descent – to have relevant forums, powerful worship, and direct action that helps and challenges us to become beloved communities and grow as multicultural church together.&quot;</p><p><strong>Commemoration events include&#58;</strong><br><strong>&#160;</strong><br><strong>Saturday, Jan. 14</strong><br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Roberts will join&#160;a delegation of young adult leaders from the ELCA who will participate in &quot;We Shall Not Be Moved,&quot; a march in Washington, D.C., organized by the National Action Network. The delegation is supported by ELCA Young Adult Ministries, the ELCA Young Adult Ministries network and ELCA Racial Justice programs. The delegation will participate in the day of scheduled events and will visit the King memorial.<br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; William B. Horne, ELCA vice president, will be the keynote speaker and workshop leader at Journey of Faith Lutheran Church in Baltimore from 10 a.m. to 2&#58;30 p.m.</p><p><strong>Sunday Jan. 15</strong><br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton will join the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, for a joint worship service at Westchester Lutheran Church in Los Angeles at 3 p.m. Following the worship service, a panel discussion will be offered by Eaton and Curry along with members of the Los Angeles Police Department focusing on how faith communities and law enforcement can work together to ensure safe communities.<br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Rev. Albert Starr, director for ELCA Ethnic Specific and Multicultural Ministries, will be the guest preacher at Upper Dublin Lutheran Church in Ambler, Pa., at 3 p.m.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Rev. Lamont Wells will be guest preacher at Messiah Lutheran Church in Lyndhurst, Ohio, at 3&#58;30 p.m.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Rev. Robert A. Rimbo, bishop of the ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod, will be guest preacher at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in the Bronx, N.Y., at 4 p.m. </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 more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations 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> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</p><p><br>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>​</p></div>01/13/2017ELCA presiding bishop delivers her Christmas messagehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7870http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7870<div class="ExternalClass71F2B62D36B542A2AA1845DB5C522DFC"><p>CHICAGO&#160;– The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA),&#160;delivers <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlNy9YHBPz0&amp;feature=youtu.be"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">her Christmas message</span></a>.</p><p>&#160;<img alt="Bp Eaton Christmas message 2016 screenshot small.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/elcanews/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20News/AllItems/Bp%20Eaton%20Christmas%20message%202016%20screenshot%20small.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><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 more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations 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> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</p><p>​</p></div>12/09/2016ELCA presiding bishop and Episcopal Church presiding bishop World AIDS Day statementhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7869http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7869<div class="ExternalClass0D2D1FC0E34E4C5ABBC54D6A1EA16688"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO&#160;- The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, have issued the following joint statement on 2016 World AIDS Day.</p><p><strong>World AIDS Day Statement</strong></p><p><strong><em>December 1</em></strong><strong>&#58; </strong></p><p>As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we are reminded of the promise of life that was given to us, unconditionally. Scriptures teach us that God's gift of life extends to all of us, no matter our circumstances. In the words of Apostle Paul, &quot;So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest-time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all…&quot; (Galatians 6&#58;9-10).</p><p>For many years, Lutherans, Episcopalians and other communities of faith have been engaged in efforts to provide care, treatment, prevention services, and have supported initiatives that fight stigma and discrimination towards those living with HIV.&#160; We mourn the 35 million lives lost to AIDS and, with 36.7 million people still living with HIV worldwide, our churches, our governments, and all other partners need to do more. We encourage Lutherans and Episcopalians near and far to stand in solidarity with all persons living with HIV, and to continue the difficult work of building an AIDS-free generation. We recommit ourselves to a future free of this pandemic.</p><p>A challenge of this magnitude requires all our efforts. Inequitable access to the life-saving medications, healthy diet and other vital determinants for breaking the hold of this epidemic, continue to disproportionately impact persons of color. A significant piece of this work is to ensure that antiretroviral medications are available to everyone who needs it. Currently, less than half of people affected by HIV have access to these lifesaving medications.&#160; Studies have shown that when a person who is HIV+ takes antiretroviral medications continuously and correctly, their viral load can be suppressed to the point where they are no longer infectious. In other words, treatment is prevention. And so, we must expand our efforts in this area.</p><p>We are called as people of faith actively to eliminate stigma and discrimination within our own faith communities and especially that which affects marginalized vulnerable and key populations (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, sex workers, people who inject drugs, prisoners, migrants, women and girls).&#160; We must be steadfast in our defense of the dignity and human rights of all people living with HIV.</p><p>As part of the sustainable development goals, which the United Nations adopted in September of 2015, the international community has committed to end the AIDS epidemic by the year 2030. Further commitments were made in June of this year when 192 countries meeting at the United Nations declared they will accelerate and scale up responses to HIV and AIDS to meet the goal of ending the epidemic by 2030.&#160; A critical pathway to this goal is the 90-90-90 strategy, which aims to ensure that by year 2020, 90% of those living with HIV will receive a diagnosis, 90% of persons living with HIV will receive antiretroviral medication, and 90% of those receiving antiretroviral will have their viral load suppressed.</p><p>Lack of funding for HIV and AIDS programs remains a challenge. The goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 will not be achieved if donor countries fail to address this funding gap. We call upon President-elect Donald Trump to make a public commitment to the global fight against HIV. We urge the new Administration and Congress to increase funding for PEPFAR; the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and domestic programs that provide preventive and treatment services in the United States.&#160; </p><p>&#160;</p><p><strong>The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry</strong><br><strong> Presiding Bishop and Primate</strong><br><strong> The Episcopal Church </strong></p><p><strong>&#160;</strong></p><p><strong>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton</strong><br><strong> Presiding Bishop</strong><br><strong> Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong></p><p># # # #</p><p><em>For more info contact&#58;</em><br><em> Candice Hill Buchbinder</em><br><em> Public Relations Manager</em><br><em> Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</em><br><em> </em>Candice.HillBuchbinder@elca.org<br><em> 773.380.2877</em></p><p>&#160;</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 more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations 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>​</p></div>12/01/2016ELCA presiding bishop urges Obama to support Palestinian U.N. membershiphttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7868http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7868<div class="ExternalClass51DAB3D31FC44C888B6EBDC313FAE641"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO – In a letter to President Barack Obama, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), asked the president to allow Palestine's application for full membership in the United Nations to move forward before he leaves office in January.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;I write to you as a Christian leader committed to seeking a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians. Our Church's relationship with our Christian companions in the region affords me with a keen awareness of the immense, daily suffering that persists because of the failure to resolve the conflict,&quot; wrote Eaton. &quot;I request that the U.S. further demonstrate its support for self-determination and freedom by allowing the State of Palestine's application for full membership in the United Nations to proceed before you conclude your term of office.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160; The 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly approved a resolution that included a commitment to encourage the ELCA's members, congregations, synods and agencies to urge the U.S. president to not prevent Palestine's application for full membership in the United Nations to proceed.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/ELCA%20letter%20to%20President%20Obama%20on%20full%20membership%20of%20Palestine%20in%20UN.pdf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Read</span></a> Eaton's letter. <br>&#160;</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 more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations 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> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</p><p>​</p></div>11/30/2016ELCA Church Council approves strategic directions planhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7867http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7867<div class="ExternalClass18DDB5FF73E14C838FA4A05A69B33FDE"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; CHICAGO – The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) took action that will help determine the future directions and priorities of this church when it met here Nov. 10-13. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The council, which serves as the ELCA's board of directors, adopted Called Forward Together in Christ – ELCA Strategic Directions 2025. The document provides a framework for shared leadership across the ELCA to realize common goals and better meet challenges the church may face in the future. It is the result of a process that invited the 3.7 million members of the church into conversations to provide ideas and feedback about the future of the church. </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In her report to the council, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton addressed the Called Forward Together in Christ process and said, &quot;We've seen that leadership and faith formation seem to be two major priorities that have been identified everywhere across the church.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton emphasized the work of the advisory committee to the Church Council created by the Theological Education Advisory Council. She said the committee is working to implement ideas that will lead to &quot;more effective development of leadership, recruitment – support and development of leadership, as well as faith formation.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Related to the issues of leadership and faith formation, Eaton announced a $3 million gift to the ELCA Fund for Leaders, which will provide full tuition seminary scholarships for 60 additional students over the next three years. The scholarships will be awarded through the ELCA Fund for Leaders, an initiative to build an endowed scholarship resource to provide tuition assistance for qualified candidates studying at ELCA seminaries.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton also announced a new leadership initiative to inspire ELCA leaders to seek out and encourage gifted people in their congregations, communities and networks to consider a call to the ministry of the gospel,&#160;supported by growing levels of scholarships for &#160;seminary tuition.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We will now have a focused, coordinated, ongoing effort to raise up leaders in the church,&quot; said Eaton.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In other business, the council&#58;</p><ul style="list-style-type&#58;disc;"><li>authorized the Theological Education Advisory Committee to require those proposing theological education initiatives to complete a designated assessment tool; encouraged synods and directed the churchwide organization to maintain financial support for seminaries in 2017 without a percentage reduction.</li><li>adopted the revised Candidacy Manual. </li><li>requested the development of a social message on human rights and postponed the development of a general human rights social criteria investment screen until the approval of the human rights social message.</li><li>approved a revised 2017 fiscal year current-fund spending authorization of $67,210,025. </li><li>Approved a resolution to stand with and support Bishop Eaton as she stands with and supports the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in this church's ministry of reconciliation.</li><li>established a task force to consider whether the ELCA Foundation should be separately incorporated. </li><li>approved the application of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Lutheran World Relief and Lutheran Educational Conference of North America to be independent Lutheran organizations.</li><li>approved bylaws of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, to be subsequently known as United Lutheran Seminary, with a request for further review of certain sections. </li><li>approved changes to governing documents for the ELCA, Lutheran Services in America, the publishing house of the ELCA and the Mission Investment Fund. </li><li>elected members to the governing bodies of National Lutheran Campus Ministry Inc., Endowment Fund of the ELCA, Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society,&#160; Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary and to the ELCA Audit Committee.</li></ul><p>The council also received reports from the church's treasurer, secretary and executive for administration, and the ELCA Conference of Bishops. It received updates on <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em> and from the Global Mission, Domestic Mission and Mission Advancement units. The council also received greetings from ecumenical partners and engaged in a conversation with ethnic-specific association representatives.<br>&#160;</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 more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations 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> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br><br></p><p>​</p></div>11/21/2016