ELCA News Bloghttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/Washington state wildfires burn near Holden VillageELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/91http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/91<div class="ExternalClass212C6E6218704C0D82D96EA2448E6C62"><p>The Wolverine fire in northeastern Washington state continues to burn near Holden Village, an outdoor ministry related to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The community, established more than 50 years ago, is located in a former mining town in the North Cascade Mountains above Lake Chelan.</p><p>Firefighters have managed to keep the fires from spreading into Holden Village by creating back-burns—controlled fires that are set to burn in the opposite direction in order to stop the advancing fire.</p><p>Chuck Hoffman and Peg Carlson-Hoffman are the co-executive directors of Holden Village. In an Aug. 17 blog post, Chuck Hoffman described the efforts of two hotshot crews brought in to fight the fires.</p><p>“Back-burns here are almost complete, and we maintain hope that they will hold the fire as it burns its way around the village, keeping Holden safe. The hotshot crews feel good about the work being done, but by its nature, fire is unpredictable. So we continue to wait and be vigilant in our tending to the village,” Hoffman wrote.</p><p>On Aug. 1 about 360 people were evacuated from Holden Village, including villagers and mine remediation workers. Since 2013, the village has housed up to 290 contractors involved in mine cleanup work during the summer months.</p><p>Hoffman remains in Holden Village with four staff members, while Carlson-Hoffman and about 20 others are staying at Celebration Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in East Wenatchee, Wash. Members of Lake Chelan Lutheran Church in Chelan, another ELCA congregation, also cared for Holden Village evacuees until they were evacuated when the fires spread into Chelan.</p><p>“Here in the village, the group has grown close, trusting and knowing that we are linked to one another,” wrote Hoffman in his blog post. “Peg and I feel the same link with our evacuees in Chelan and with villagers across the world. We feel honored to serve as your director team and are grateful for your love and support. Together we will find our way through this time of challenge and celebrate what is yet to unfold in the life and ministry of Holden Village.”</p><p>The Wolverine fire has consumed about 40,000 acres in northeast Washington and, as of Aug. 17, about 30 percent of the wildfire had been contained. A total of 23 fires are burning throughout the state, destroying at least 32 homes. Thousands have been evacuated and more than 40 homes and businesses have yet to be accounted for. Wildfires are also burning in California, Idaho and Oregon.</p><p>“We have been grateful for all the prayers from around the world and inspired by the way our faith community has supported us with prayer,” Hoffman said in an email exchange. “The good news is that the early flowers that come after a fire are already present. A visible sign of renewal ... it is a privilege to witness God’s creation in this way.”<br></p><p>​</p></div>08/19/2015Louise Johnson begins term as 14th president of Wartburg Theological SeminaryELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/90http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/90<div class="ExternalClass705FFDC3C64B4B3284F3BDC7259C0C7C"><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">The Rev. Louise N. Johnson began her term June 17 as the 14th president of Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. The Wartburg Theological Seminary Board of Directors elected Johnson at its spring meeting. Wartburg is one of the ELCA's eight seminaries.</span></p><p>&quot;President Johnson has long and wide-ranging experience in theological education administration,&quot; said Jonathan Strandjord, ELCA program director for seminaries who also serves as an advisory member for ELCA seminary presidential search committees. &quot;She has been a leader in imagining and building fresh ways of identifying and educating new leaders for the church – and then paying close attention to the results of those efforts. Her track record of fostering collaboration is strong. Most important of all, she is passionate about faithfully serving the free course of the gospel,&quot; he said.<br><br>&quot;Wartburg grew out of a mission tradition, out of the hearts of compassionate leaders who saw that those in their midst were 'scattered like sheep without shepherds,'&quot;&#160;said Johnson, referring to early leaders of Wartburg, including Wilhelm Loehe, a German missionary who helped found the seminary in 1854 and whose legacy remains rooted in the seminary's mission.<br> <br>&quot;Today the frontiers to which Loehe sent his pastors are largely established.&#160;The gospel took root in our towns, in our hearts, in our lives, blessing us with generations who have heard the gospel and responded with lives of faith,&quot; Johnson said. &quot;A good look around will tell you that we have new frontiers, that again there are many in our midst who are scattered like sheep without shepherds. But the frontiers are no longer out there somewhere, they are in our own back yards.&#160; It is our neighbors, friends, co-workers and grandchildren who stand in need of a new church, new ways of proclaiming the old, old story,&quot; she said.<br> <br>Prior to her election, Johnson had served as vice president for mission advancement at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia since 2012 and as associate director of admissions from 2006 to 2012. She served as associate director of admissions at Wartburg from 1999 to 2004 and as pastor of Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Spragueville, Iowa, from 2000 to 2004. </p><p>Johnson received a Bachelor of Arts in German from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, in 1991 and a Master of Divinity degree from Wartburg in 1999.<br> <br>Johnson, who is the third woman to lead an ELCA seminary, said she is &quot;confident that together we can and will build a new emergency plan to reach those on the new frontiers.&#160;Wartburg is nimble, faithful, cohesive, missional – and more than these – is ready to serve God and church.&quot;</p></div>07/02/2015Augsburg Fortress receives Top Workplaces recognitionELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/89http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/89<div class="ExternalClass90F118C9CF894BE58E484605459832AA"><p>​Augsburg Fortress, the publishing ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has been named one of the Top Workplaces in Minnesota by the Minneapolis <em>Star Tribune</em>. The recognition was published June 14 in a special section of the newspaper. <br>According to an Augsburg Fortress press release, the Top Workplaces report of the 100 best-performing public companies in Minnesota “recognizes the most progressive companies” in the state “based on employee opinions measuring engagement, organizational health and satisfaction. The analysis included responses from over 69,100 employees at Minnesota public, private and nonprofit organizations.”</p><p>“It is all of us working well together on work that matters that is being recognized with this Top Workplaces award,” said Beth Lewis, president and CEO of Augsburg Fortress, announcing the award. “I am so proud of each of you and of the major improvements we have made in recent years through our individual and collective callings to serve God’s people through Augsburg Fortress.”<br></p></div>06/22/2015Jon Anderson re-elected bishop of ELCA Southwestern Minnesota Synod ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/88http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/88<div class="ExternalClass7DE3BF1244514F15B38115B94700F499"><p>​The Rev. Jon V. Anderson was re-elected June 13 to serve a third six-year term as bishop of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). He was re-elected on the second ballot during the synod assembly June 12-14 at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn.</p><p>Anderson was elected with 349 votes to 110 votes for the Rev. Laurie Skow-Anderson, director for evangelical mission and assistant to the bishop in the ELCA Northwest Synod of Wisconsin.</p><p>Prior to becoming bishop in 2003, Anderson served as pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minn., from 1996 to 2003, and Atonement Lutheran Church in St. Cloud, Minn., from 1991 to 1996. He served as associate pastor of Kinsmen Lutheran Church in Houston from 1985 to 1991.</p><p>Anderson earned a bachelor's degree in religion from St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., in 1981, and a master of divinity degree from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., in 1985.</p><p>Gustavus Adolphus and St. Olaf are two of 26 ELCA colleges and universities; Luther is one of eight ELCA seminaries.</p><p>Information about the ELCA Southwestern Minnesota Synod is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.swmnelca.org/index.html">www.swmnelca.org/index.html</a>.</p></div>06/16/2015ELCA offers prayers and support for those impacted by storms and floodingELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/87http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/87<div class="ExternalClass29C4D6F75B21438D98A0DD4ABD248289"><p>​Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are offering prayers and support for all those impacted by the recent severe storms and flooding in Texas and Oklahoma. As of June 3, at least 28 people have died as a result of heavy storms that began May 23. There are no reports of serious damage to ELCA congregations. </p><p>“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are suffering due to the storm ravaging their communities,” said the Rev. Michael Stadie, program director for Lutheran Disaster Response in the United States. “Lutheran Disaster Response is in contact with our partners in the area ready to provide support to the long-term recovery efforts.”</p><p>Lutheran Disaster Response will provide assistance to those affected by the storms through local affiliates, social ministry organizations and ELCA synods.</p><p>“We continue to monitor and assess the situation with our government and community partners and also our Lutheran partners such as Lutheran Disaster Response,” said Mark Minick, senior vice president for external relations at Upbring (formerly Lutheran Social Services of the South). “We’re prepared to meet the immediate needs of those impacted by the storms and also the long-term recovery needs. The needs are widespread into Oklahoma and even Louisiana.”</p><p>Lutheran Disaster Response provides assistance to survivors of natural disasters and humanitarian crises throughout the world. This support is carried out, both domestically and internationally, in coordination with local affiliates – social ministry organizations, agencies, partners and international companion churches – located in the disaster-affected communities.</p><p>Information about Lutheran Disaster Response is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/Lutheran-Disaster-Response/Our-Impact/US-Spring-Storms">www.ELCA.org/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/Lutheran-Disaster-Response/Our-Impact/US-Spring-Storms</a>.</p></div>06/03/2015Dr. Tawfiq Nasser, CEO of Augusta Victoria Hospital, diesELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/86http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/NewsBlog/86<div class="ExternalClassF3C799A3601C483A8477F2022B09574F"><p>​Dr. Tawfiq A. Nasser, CEO of Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem, died May 16. The hospital, located on the Mount of Olives, is a program of The Lutheran World Federation, a global communion of 144 churches representing more than 72 million Christians in 79 countries. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is the communion's only member church from the United States.</p><p>“My heart aches at the passing of Dr. Nasser,” said the Rev. M. Wyvetta Bullock, ELCA executive for administration and a member of the Augusta Victoria Hospital board since 2012.</p><p>“Dr. Nasser was an innovative and passionate leader. As CEO of Augusta Victoria Hospital, his vision and determination served to move the hospital to a place of prominence as a specialized center of medical excellence for cancer, hematology, and bone marrow, kidney and diabetes.&#160; He will be deeply missed. My prayers are with his family that they might find comfort in the hope of the resurrection,” Bullock said.</p><p>According to a press release from The Lutheran World Federation, Nasser was appointed the hospital’s CEO in 2001 at the age of 36. He served as its administrative director from 1997 to 2001. Nasser shaped the hospital into the leading center for nephrology and oncology in the Palestinian territories.</p><p>“Tawfiq worked at (Augusta Victoria Hospital) on the Mount of Olives for 18 years,” said the Rt. Rev. Dr. Munib A Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. Younan is president of The Lutheran World Federation and also serves as chair of the hospital board. </p><p>“He cherished and loved Augusta Victoria Hospital. Tawfiq did not want it to be just a hospital. He wanted it to be a community of healing on the Mount of Olives,” Younan said.</p></div>05/21/2015