ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/ELCA leaders call for dignity, compassion toward unaccompanied childrenhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7688http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7688<div class="ExternalClass1975AA0C13E84EB581B0AE2EF7D86AF2"><p> <span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; CHICAGO (ELCA) – Prior to the U.S. House of Representatives' cancellation July 31 of its vote to provide an emergency response to the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children entering the United States, some members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) had worked to contact their representatives to encourage them to &quot;address the issue with dignity and compassion.&quot;&#160;</span></p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We are at a critical time where Lutherans have an opportunity to make sure our voices of faith and compassion for all of God's children are heard,&quot; according to a July 31 ELCA advocacy alert. The Senate also plans to take up legislation on the issue this week prior to Congress' August recess.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In addition to advocacy efforts, ELCA leaders and members continue to deepen their commitment to learning more about the arrival of unaccompanied children into the United States. A group of ELCA leaders traveled July 16-18 to Texas, where they received on-the-ground experiences from children, as well as the stories of ELCA congregations who are responding.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; According to ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, ELCA congregations and Lutheran social service agencies have been responding to the &quot;50,000 undocumented, unaccompanied minors fleeing terrible poverty and gang violence in their countries. Some of these children in detention are 3 years old. They come with their names either written or sewn onto their clothes.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Not a single one of us could take care of that crisis ourselves, but together we can. And we are hoping to work in those communities who feel so overwhelmed by this wave of people coming … we need to pray for them as well. That's how we are as church together, and we are church for the sake of the world.&quot;&#160; <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Rev. Stephen Bouman, who traveled to Texas, said the issue is both global and local &quot;demanding a broad conversation and understanding about the contexts of Central America, Mexico and the United States, and the conditions which 'push' and 'pull' this migration.&quot; Bouman serves as executive director of ELCA Congregational and Synodical Mission. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In visits to children shelters and facilities managed by Lutheran Social Services of the South, based in Austin, Texas, and meetings with ELCA pastors and members to hear about their experiences and response efforts, the issue &quot;became incarnate for me,&quot; said Bouman.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Here were the children who had been on our hearts. A 5-year-old boy smiled at me. He is from El Salvador and crossed the border with his grandmother. The two became separated during intake by border control,&quot; he said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; At a Lutheran Social Services of the South's children shelter in Corpus Christi, Texas, Bouman said ELCA leaders met with more than 100 immigrant children ages 13 to 17. One ELCA member delivered a greeting in Spanish, and another ELCA leader offered a prayer and blessing. Among the many questions about &quot;Where are you from?&quot; and &quot;How long did it take you to get here,&quot; Bouman said that responses from the children who entered the United States were very clear – to escape violence, reunite with family, and seek safety and security. &quot;For some the transit was relatively uneventful. Others were robbed, assaulted or witnessed bad things to others,&quot; he said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We often heard, 'despite what you hear in the media;' we were told about what is really happening,&quot; said Bouman. &quot;Several of us started making myth-busting lists,&quot; he said, such as, &quot;'border crossings are dramatically up' when border crossings are actually down, and that 'unaccompanied minors are carrying drugs' when drugs are not being found on unaccompanied minors from Central America.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; For the Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director of ELCA Global Mission, July 16 was a day particularly &quot;filled with intense emotions,&quot; he said. &quot;I listened to stories of the unaccompanied minors. They shared the details of their journey full of dangers and yet of hope. It was better to take the risk of dying in journey than to be killed or becoming a slave.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Two days before the break of World War II more than 10,000 Jewish children from Germany, Poland, Austria and Czechoslovakia were sent by train to Great Britain. The 'Kinderstransport' saved their lives as their parents and relatives provided an escape from the horrors of Nazism and the ruthless and dehumanizing living conditions they were about to face,&quot; said Malpica Padilla.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Today parents from Central American countries, particularly Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, face the same dilemma, and they too have chosen to send their kids to a 'safe place,' where they could seek refuge from the horrors of daily life under the ruthless actions of drug cartels and street gangs,&quot; said Malpica Padilla in a post-trip reflection. &quot;They also take a train known as 'La Bestia,' 'the Beast,' which aptly describes their journey into the U.S. border crossing at the Rio Grande. Rather than being welcomed, as the Kinderstransport kids experienced, they are received with the hate and rancor of communities that see them as intruders, opportunist and law-breakers.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; ELCA leaders also met with some foster families, particular a set of parents who offered to become foster parents when Lutheran Social Services opened this past April its transitional foster care program in Corpus Christi.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Don Jose Ramirez (name changed for protection) and his wife have sponsored more than 80 children as transitional foster parents for these unaccompanied minors after they are legally released by the Border Patrol with a Notice to Appear (NTA) before an immigration judge. The NTA provides for their legal status while waiting for the hearing. When (children) arrive at Don Jose's home, the first thing they see is a sign on the front lawn&#58; &quot;El ultimo paso de una larga jornada&quot; (The last step of a long journey). There they are welcomed. There they experience love, care and compassion, just as the Kinderstransport kids did in Great Britain,&quot; said Malpica Padilla.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;'Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!' I wonder if these words from from Emma Lazarus, inscribed at the foot of Lady Liberty, apply to all or just to some. The Central American children are sent in the hope that they too will find the light in the tier path to freedom,&quot; said Malpica Padilla.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; For more information, visit <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/Lutheran-Disaster-Response/Our-Impact/Unaccompanied-and-Migrant-Children">http&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/Lutheran-Disaster-Response/Our-Impact/Unaccompanied-and-Migrant-Children</a>; the text of the advocacy alert is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=63286196">http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=63286196</a>. <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 about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 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;</p><p>​Melissa Ramirez Cooper, Manager, Public Relations<br> 773-380-2956 or <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/tools/secure_emailer?a=TWVsaXNzYS5SYW1pcmV6Q29vcGVyQGVsY2Eub3Jn&amp;b=TmV3cw==&amp;subject=News&amp;body="> email </a><br> ELCA News&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">www.ELCA.org/news</a><br> Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br> Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">www.livinglutheran.com</a> <br> </p></div>07/31/2014ELCA members to put their faith into actionhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7687http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7687<div class="ExternalClassF4BA5608A2AD40538B2E1F860853D731"><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; ​CHICAGO (ELCA) – The 4 million members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are being called to put their faith into action and engage in service activities across the country Sept. 7 as part of “God’s Work. Our Hands.” Sunday.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Whether we plant gardens in urban communities, write letters to soldiers and veterans or serve meals to people and families who are food insecure, we dedicate this day to be church together – as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – for the sake of the world,” said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop, who shares how she plans to spend her day in a video greeting at <a href="http&#58;//bit.ly/1pCrGEN">http&#58;//bit.ly/1pCrGEN</a>.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Now in its second year, “God’s Work. Our Hands.” Sunday is designed to celebrate the mission and ministries of the denomination and invite the nearly 10,000 ELCA congregations to gather together in service in ways that share the love of God with all people.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; A group of 14 ELCA congregations of the ELCA Southeastern Iowa Synod, for example, are banding together to participate in the day of service by partnering with local grocery stores and communities to donate food for local food pantries and more. This effort is a continuation of the synod’s theme from their 2013 Synod Assembly, “When Hungry Hearts Find Bread.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “We hope that the community will see Lutherans being church in the world, responding to the needs of others – in this case those who are hungry,” said the Rev. Travis Fisher, pastor of St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church in Davenport, Iowa. “It will also show that we as congregations are working together for the sake of the gospel.”<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; With the help of the 14 communities, they hope to fill 14 pickup trucks full of non- perishable items as well as inviting members of the community to come worship. At each of the 14 stations, they hope to have eight to 10 people from each congregation to serve as volunteers at a site, working two or three shifts.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Helping to store food is just one example of how ELCA congregations are serving alongside their neighbors. Although the designated day of service is targeted for Sept. 7, 2014, ELCA congregations engage in service projects all-year round.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; “Our lives have been changed by our relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and it’s that encounter with Jesus that frees us to make a difference,” said Eaton.<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Information about “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/dayofservice">http&#58;//www.elca.org/dayofservice</a>.<br>---<br><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America&#58;</strong><br>The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 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.<br>&#160;By Jeremy Lensing, an intern for ELCA Public Relations and a student at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., majoring in multi-media mass communication and communication studies.<br>For information contact&#58;<br>Melissa Ramirez Cooper, Manager, Public Relations<br><span class="baec5a81-e4d6-4674-97f3-e9220f0136c1" style="white-space&#58;nowrap;">773-380-2956<a title="Call&#58; 773-380-2956" href="#" style="margin&#58;0px;border&#58;currentcolor;left&#58;0px;top&#58;0px;width&#58;16px;height&#58;16px;right&#58;0px;bottom&#58;0px;overflow&#58;hidden;vertical-align&#58;middle;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline;white-space&#58;nowrap;position&#58;static !important;"><img title="Call&#58; 773-380-2956" alt="" style="margin&#58;0px;border&#58;currentcolor;left&#58;0px;top&#58;0px;width&#58;16px;height&#58;16px;right&#58;0px;bottom&#58;0px;overflow&#58;hidden;vertical-align&#58;middle;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline;white-space&#58;nowrap;position&#58;static !important;" /></a></span> or email<br>ELCA News&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">www.ELCA.org/news</a><br>Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br>Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">www.livinglutheran.com</a><br>&#160;<br>&#160;</p></div>07/30/2014College students surpass fundraising goal for ELCA Malaria Campaignhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7686http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7686<div class="ExternalClassE78B12A4257444FFB52788A440D23805"><p>​<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160;</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;CHICAGO (ELCA) </span> <span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">– </span> <span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Students attending some of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">'</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">s (ELCA) colleges, universities and campus ministries surpassed a matching challenge goal this month of raising $125,000 for the ELCA Malaria Campaign by $6,619.20 and counting.</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Sorenson Matching Challenge was set forth by Arne and Ruth Sorenson of Chevy Chase, Md. In 2011, they gave an initial gift of $25,000 to the ELCA Malaria Campaign, which was distributed as seed money to 12 ELCA colleges, universities and campus ministries to support their fundraising efforts to the campaign. The second part of the Sorensons' gift was a $125,000 matching challenge, designed to match the money raised by college students. The 12 grantee institutions were joined by 23 other organizations to raise money for the ELCA Malaria Campaign. The challenge given to students was to raise the money by the end of the 2013-14 school year, which they completed right on time.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;The ELCA can be proud of the dedicated students who have worked hard to educate their peers and raise so much money to support malaria programs in Africa,&quot; said Jessica Nipp, coordinator of the ELCA Malaria Campaign. &quot;Their committed and creative leadership has catalyzed generosity in many communities and on many campuses across the ELCA.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In order to raise the money needed, the campus ministries at the 35 institutions reached out to schools and congregations, held concerts and fundraising events, and showed the effects of malaria to the students at their schools. Although malaria is preventable and treatable, each year more than 200 million people worldwide become infected with the disease and more than 600,000 people die, many of these children under 5.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, alone raised more than $43,000 with their Wartburg Malaria Initiative, a year-long, campus-wide initiative held in cooperation with the ELCA Malaria Campaign. Wartburg is one of 26 ELCA colleges and universities.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;I am really proud of the Wartburg Malaria Initiative and our efforts as a community to partner with the ELCA Malaria Campaign,&quot; said Kelsey Nulph, who led the initiative. &quot;By March of the academic year we had surpassed our fundraising goal, but we continued to fundraise and involve students, faculty, staff and community members in the efforts of the Wartburg Malaria Initiative.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; More than 700 Wartburg students were involved in the work of the initiative through student-staffed tables at every Wartburg home game in a variety of sports and multiple Wartburg events, such as Homecoming, a benefit concert and Family Weekend. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in the Sorenson Matching Challenge because it provided hundreds of college students the opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters in Africa,&quot; said Nulph.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The funds raised by college students and matching grants will be used to provide life-saving health care, train pastors, teach people how to protect themselves from the spread of malaria, and distribute insecticide-treated mosquito nets.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;It has been exciting to participate in the ELCA Malaria Campaign Initiative inspired by the spirit&#160;brought to the mission by the many college students who brought awareness of the Malaria challenge to their friends ,families and communities,&quot; said Arne and Ruth Sorenson.<br><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>​&quot;With an abundance of creative activities inviting all to make a difference and the stories of collaboration and determination to reach beyond their goals, college campuses demonstrated that they are indeed the leaders of the future in the movement to raise awareness and funds to eradicate malaria in Africa. We have been honored to be partners in the effort through the Sorenson Grant Challenge,&quot; they said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA Malaria Campaign, initiated by the 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, seeks to raise $15 million by the end of 2015. Through the campaign, ELCA members have joined with companion Lutheran congregations and partners in 13 African countries to prevent and treat malaria, educate communities about the disease and more. To date, the campaign has raised $12.5 million of the $15 million goal. The campaign is a priority of <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em> – a five-year campaign seeking to raise $198 million in support of new and expanded ELCA churchwide ministries.<br> ---<br> About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America&#58;</p><p>The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 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> <em>By Jeremy Lensing, an intern for the ELCA Public Relations Department and a student at Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill., majoring in multi-media mass communication and communication studies. </em></p><p>For information contact&#58;</p><p>​Melissa Ramirez Cooper, Manager, Public Relations<br> 773-380-2956 or <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/tools/secure_emailer?a=TWVsaXNzYS5SYW1pcmV6Q29vcGVyQGVsY2Eub3Jn&amp;b=TmV3cw==&amp;subject=News&amp;body="> email </a><br> ELCA News&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">www.ELCA.org/news</a><br> Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br> Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">www.livinglutheran.com</a> <br></p></div>07/26/2014ELCA presiding bishop offers ‘State of the ELCA’http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7684http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7684<div class="ExternalClass3A1E8383EB574C1499EF042F46BF9A9C"><p> <span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160;</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;CHARLOTTE, N.C. (ELCA) – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), said part of the reason why women now serve as ordained pastors in the ELCA &quot;is because of the work done by Women of the ELCA and predecessor church bodies.&quot;</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Reporting on the &quot;State of the ELCA&quot; to the more than 360 delegates of the Ninth Triennial Convention of Women of the ELCA, which met at the Charlotte Convention Center here July 24, Eaton expressed her gratitude for Women of the ELCA, who &quot;worked tirelessly&quot; for the ordination of women. &quot;I need to say thank you for the work that you and your sisters have done.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The convention took place July 22-24 and precedes the Ninth Triennial Gathering of Women of the ELCA, July 24-27. About 2,000 women from across this church are gathering under the theme &quot;of many generations.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In her conversation with delegates, Eaton thanked the ELCA women's organization for its many financial contributions, particularly support to ELCA missionaries serving in partnership with Lutheran companion churches overseas, the ELCA Malaria Campaign and more.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Women of the Lutheran church from our predecessor bodies and Women of the ELCA have supported, for a couple of centuries, missionaries so that the good news of Jesus Christ might be heard and experienced and felt (among) people all over the world.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;And you didn't stop there,&quot; said Eaton. &quot;To date (Women of the ELCA) has contributed over $84,000 to the ELCA Malaria Campaign&quot; – a five-year campaign in which ELCA members have joined with companion Lutheran congregations and partners in 13 African countries to prevent and treat malaria, educate communities about the disease and more. To date, the campaign has raised more than $12 million of its goal of $15 million by 2015.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;You are actually saving lives of people you might never meet but who are actually your brothers and sisters in Christ, all children of God,&quot; she said.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The ELCA presiding bishop shared four emphases in which she is organizing the work of the ELCA churchwide organization, based in Chicago, and is inviting the 65 ELCA synod bishops, pastors, members and others across this church to embrace&#58; We are church. We are Lutheran. We are church together. We are church for the sake of the world.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;At the heart of what we do together as church is worship. And at the heart of our worship is the crucified, risen Christ,&quot; she said. &quot;There are probably lots of nongovernmental organizations, corporations and charitable organizations who can be far more effective, do more work and have far more resources than we do, but all we have – and because of this we have everything – is Jesus. Can we claim that? Can we lean into that? Can we be used by this good and gracious God, who loved us so much that he would rather die than lose a single one of us?&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;I think (and) not in any sort of a boastful way, but with humility but unapologetically, if we are very clear about who we are, it makes it more possible for us to engage in meaningful relationships and dialogue with other people,&quot; said Eaton. &quot;I think it's important for us to recover some of the great themes of who we are as Lutheran Christians and use that – raise that voice, not only in our ecumenical conversations, but also in religious conversations and conversations in the public square, in secular conversations.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton noted that ELCA members can serve as &quot;a model for the rest of our neighbors about how it is possible for people of goodwill and deep convictions to disagree on extremely important issues but still see Christ in the other and not separate one from the other.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Of her four emphases, Eaton shared that &quot;we are church together has proven to be so far the most difficult aspect of my eight months, three weeks and three days&quot; in her call as presiding bishop and &quot;before my seven years as a synodical bishop and even parish pastor.&quot; She challenged delegates to help members of their congregations understand that &quot;when we are baptized, we become part of the body of Christ.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; When &quot;you return to your congregations, how can you infect them with the disease of understanding – a happy disease – that we're stronger together than we are apart? And it's not just the individual, local congregation, but we have agencies and institutions, colleges, universities&quot; and more.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; An important way that understanding &quot;plays out right now&quot; is among the work of ELCA congregations and Lutheran social service agencies &quot;who are dealing with already 50,000 undocumented, unaccompanied minors fleeing terrible poverty and gang violence in their countries. Some of these children in detention are 3 years old. They come with their names either written or sewn onto their clothes.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Not a single one of us could take care of that crisis ourselves, but together we can. And we are hoping to work in those communities who feel so overwhelmed by this wave of people coming … we need to pray for them as well. That's how we are as church together, and we are church for the sake of the world.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Eaton also highlighted <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em> – a five-year campaign seeking to raise $198 million in support of new and expanded ELCA churchwide ministries.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Among the campaign priorities, &quot;We are already asking our companion synods to send candidates (to the United States) to be trained in our seminaries and our colleges and, overwhelmingly, they select men. Part of this campaign now is going to be dedicated to (asking companion synods) to identify women leaders in their churches not only for seminary education, which is important, but for undergraduate education, because we know that women have the greatest impact in their communities. Partnering with them is a way that we are a global church.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Another priority&quot; is that &quot;we will be raising funds to start new congregations. Half of our new starts are among people of color or whose primary language is not English or people (experiencing) poverty. We haven't moved the needle much on becoming an inclusive church and a diverse church, but we're intentional about this,&quot; said Eaton, who also noted that another campaign priority is to support the ELCA Fund for Leaders, &quot;a critical right now.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Jennifer Michael, the outgoing president of Women of the ELCA's executive board, is an ELCA Fund for Leaders scholarship recipient attending Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, one of eight ELCA seminaries.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;We are a church stronger together than we are apart,&quot; Eaton said in her concluding comments. &quot;So what can we do individually, as congregations and as this church to engage in those basic spiritual disciplines of prayer, silence, Scripture study, giving, doing works of justice, and corporate worship? What can we do? I want you to be folks who agitate your families,&quot; she said. &quot;What can we do to help people see that this is not some gimmick or some 'kumbaya' sort of thing? It is just basically what Christians have done for two millennia, and that we need to recover this in an intentional way in our church in order that we might make space for the Holy Spirit to breathe into us. Then, we can start to make plans.&quot;<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 about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 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>​Melissa Ramirez Cooper, Manager, Public Relations<br> 773-380-2956 or <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/tools/secure_emailer?a=TWVsaXNzYS5SYW1pcmV6Q29vcGVyQGVsY2Eub3Jn&amp;b=TmV3cw==&amp;subject=News&amp;body="> email </a><br> ELCA News&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">www.ELCA.org/news</a><br> Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br> Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">www.livinglutheran.com</a> </p></div>07/24/2014Women of the ELCA concludes Ninth Triennial Conventionhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7685http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7685<div class="ExternalClass25F14B9D75504A37B5AC5718FA11B6F0"><p>​<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">CHARLOTTE, N.C. (ELCA) – The Ninth Triennial Convention of Women of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) concluded here July 24 with the installation of new officers and members of the Women of the ELCA churchwide executive board. The convention, which took place at the Charlotte Convention Center July 22-24, is Women of the ELCA's highest legislative authority with delegates elected by each of the 64 synodical women's organizations.</span></p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Delivering her final report July 22 as president of Women of the ELCA, Jennifer Michael told the convention, &quot;I am continuing to grow into who God has meant me to be. And it could never have happened, never have happened, without being a participant in Women of the ELCA.&quot;<br><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>The more than 360 delegates to the Ninth Triennial Convention elected new officers and executive board members who will serve a three-year term concluding in 2017. The new officers include&#58;</span></p><p>+Patti Austin, president. Austin is a member of All Saints Lutheran in Lilburn, Ga.<br><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">+ Jody Smiley, vice president. Smiley is a member of St. Michael Lutheran in Blacksburg, Va.</span></p><p> +Becky Shurson, secretary. Shurson is a member of Faith Lutheran in Yucaipa, Calif.<br> +Ely Smith, re-elected treasurer. Smith is a member of Trinity Lutheran in Parkland, Wash.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In her remarks to the convention, Austin said, &quot;Now is the time for us to tell our story, to connect and to communicate with every woman in our congregations, telling them what God has done through this organization, our organization.&quot;<br><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>​Drawing on the convention's theme, &quot;of many generations,&quot; Austin said, &quot;Ladies, it's important that we remain focused and dream big. We are the repairers of the breach. Young or old, our role in God's work is too important not to share with every generation. We are called and empowered to do it together, she said. &quot;God's kingdom is unfolding just as he had planned from the beginning. Get ready, ladies. God is doing a new thing in and through this organization and each of you.&quot;<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>Other convention business included the approval of the following memorials, or proposals, from the 64 synodical women's organizations&#58;</span></p><p>+ Financially support efforts to provide solar energy for Phebe Hospital in Liberia – the largest public health institution in the African country.</p><p>+ Raise awareness and prevention of human trafficking, a &quot;growing problem&quot; in the United States, according to the text of the memorial. It is estimated that 2 million people are trafficked worldwide and &quot;27 million people are enslaved around the world,&quot; according to the memorial.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Emily Fitchpatrick, founder and executive director of On Eagles Wings – &#160;a Charlotte-based ministry designed to provide hope and care to victims of sex trafficking – offered greetings and expressed her gratitude to the convention.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Delegates also committed the women's organization to pray for guidance and direction in the current humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied children entering the United States. With 318 to 30 votes in favor, delegates of the convention approved a resolution July 23 that also encourages ELCA congregations to be places of hospitality and to share its action with ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton and executive, legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. government to &quot;welcome children who are seeking refuge from violence&quot; and to &quot;treat these children with compassion.&quot;<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; <span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Linda Hartke, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, addressed the convention and thanked delegates for their &quot;generous support.&quot; Based in Baltimore, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is one of the nation's leaders in welcoming and advocating for refugees and immigrants, working on behalf of the ELCA.<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>​In other business, delegates defeated a recommendation to reduce the board's membership size. Of the 363 total eligible votes, 326 delegates voted no and 32 were in favor of the recommendation, which required a two-thirds vote for adoption.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Offerings taken during the convention's worship will be distributed to Women of the ELCA, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and On Eagles Wings Ministries.<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;</span>The convention also approved the 2015 budget for the </span> <span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">women's organization. The accepted budget accounts for revenue, support and other income equal the expenditures at $2,941,593. The expenses include $425,000 to be given to the ELCA churchwide organization, based in Chicago.<br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>The convention precedes the Ninth Triennial Gathering of Women of the ELCA, July 24-27, where 2,000 women from across this church are gathering under the theme &quot;of many generations.&quot;</span></p><p> <span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">- - -</span></p><p> <strong style="line-height&#58;1.6;">About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#58;</span></p><p> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 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>​Melissa Ramirez Cooper, Manager, Public Relations<br> 773-380-2956 or <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/tools/secure_emailer?a=TWVsaXNzYS5SYW1pcmV6Q29vcGVyQGVsY2Eub3Jn&amp;b=TmV3cw==&amp;subject=News&amp;body="> email </a><br> ELCA News&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">www.ELCA.org/news</a><br> Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br> Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">www.livinglutheran.com</a><br></p></div>07/24/2014Women of the ELCA elect new officers, executive board membershttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7683http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7683<div class="ExternalClassF88701B8640C41E4AE6E8413124CDC88"><p> <span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; CHARLOTTE, N.C. (ELCA) – New officers and executive board members of Women of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) were installed July 24, 2014, during the closing service of the Ninth Triennial Convention of the Women of the ELCA, which took place&#160;at the Charlotte Convention Center here July 22-24. They will serve a three-year term concluding in 2017.</span></p><p> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The convention is Women of the ELCA's highest legislative authority with delegates elected by each of the 64 synodical women's organizations. The convention precedes the Ninth Triennial Gathering of Women of the ELCA, July 24-27, where 2,000 women from across this church are&#160;gathering under the theme, &quot;of many generations.&quot;</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Patti Austin from Decatur, Ga., was elected as the organization's executive board president. Austin, a member of All Saints Lutheran in Lilburn, Ga., was elected on the fourth ballot with 191 votes to 163 votes for Jody Smiley from Blacksburg, Va. There were 354 votes cast, with a total of 178 votes needed for an election.</p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; In her remarks to the more than 360 women attending the convention, Austin recalled the childhood experience of growing a tiny seed in a Styrofoam cup. &quot;We kept a daily watch until a tiny, green sprout would nudge the dirt aside, unfold and become our own small plant. Whether it arrives to full maturity or not, the growing plant was reflective of whatever seed we planted,&quot; she said. <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;In much the same way, the end result of our women's ministry is already bound up within the seed that was planted many generations ago,&quot; said Austin, who has served on the churchwide executive board of Women of the ELCA since 2011. She also serves on the stewardship committee and the constitution review committee.&#160; <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Our world is constantly changing and as Christian women we have an opportunity to be a part of those changes by planting God's love on good soil and bad soil to everyone we come in contact with.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Austin told the convention about her 14-year-old granddaughter who is attending her first Triennial event and is &quot;excited to be attending and learning about the many ministries that we're involved in and to dream about what her generation of women might do in the name of Jesus.&quot;&#160; <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;Ladies, we have the opportunity to take our young women under our wing, to nurture them, to mentor them, and yes, to learn from them,&quot; said Austin. &quot;We can share our faith, our stories, and most of all God's blessings with them, but we must be ready to hand over to them the legacy of many bold women with full confidence that God is doing something new in and through them.&quot; <br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Austin said she looks forward with &quot;great anticipation to see what God has in store for us in the next 25 years. I know we will continue to nurture the seed of faith that was planted, knowing that it will continue to develop and grow into an active and vibrant ministry beyond anything we could have ever imagined because this is the mystery of the kingdom of God.&quot;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; The Triennial Convention also elected&#58;<br> + Jody Smiley, vice president. Smiley is a member of St. Michael Lutheran in Blacksburg, Va.<br><br> +Becky Shurson, secretary. Shurson is a member of Faith Lutheran in Yucaipa, Calif.<br><br> +Ely Smith, re-elected treasurer. &#160;Smith is a member of Trinity Lutheran in Parkland, Wash.<br><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;</span>​The Triennial Convention elected the following to the Women of the ELCA executive board&#58; </p><p>+Cindy Arnett, ELCA Sierra Pacific Synod</p><p>+Deborah Banks-Williams, ELCA Metropolitan Chicago Synod</p><p>+Lois Bylund,&#160;ELCA Northwestern Minnesota Synod</p><p>+Lydia Davila, ELCA Caribbean Synod</p><p>+Dinah Dutta, ELCA Central States Synod</p><p>+Gwendolyn Edwards, ELCA Nebraska Synod</p><p>+Joyce Gibson, ELCA&#160;Montana Synod</p><p>+Nancy Giddings, ELCA Minneapolis Area Synod</p><p>+Sandra Grier, ELCA Upper Susquehanna Synod</p><p>+Joan Iverson, ELCA Southwestern Minnesota Synod</p><p>+Gwendolyn King, ELCA Southeast Pennsylvania Synod</p><p>+Barbara Miller, ELCA Southeast Michigan Synod</p><p>+Lisa Plorin, ELCA Western North Dakota Synod</p><p>+Anna Sarver, ELCA Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod</p><p>+Dawn Smith, ELCA&#160;North/West Lower Michigan Synod</p><p>+Karen Voris, ELCA Alaska Synod</p><p>+Jackie Wilson, ELCA Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod.<br> - - -</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 about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 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, Public Relations News/Media Specialist <br> 773-380-2877 or <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/tools/secure_emailer?a=Q2FuZGljZS5IaWxsQnVjaGJpbmRlckBlbGNhLm9yZw==&amp;b=TmV3cw==&amp;subject=News&amp;body="> email </a><br> ELCA News&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/news">www.ELCA.org/news</a><br> Facebook&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/Lutherans">www.facebook.com/Lutherans</a><br> Living Lutheran&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.livinglutheran.com/">www.livinglutheran.com</a> </p></div>07/24/2014