ELCA Newshttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/Statement on Illinois anti-Semitic messageshttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8038https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8038<div class="ExternalClassFE9C636309D543D18098BA4F8DA76566"><p align="center" style="text-align&#58;center;"><em><span style="background&#58;white;color&#58;black;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">“As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and&#160;</span></em></p><p align="center" style="text-align&#58;center;"><em><span style="background&#58;white;color&#58;black;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">your descendants after you”&#160; </span></em><span style="background&#58;white;color&#58;black;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">(Genesis 9&#58;9).</span><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;"></span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">Dear church, </span></p><p style="margin-top&#58;0in;vertical-align&#58;baseline;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">In today’s lectionary text, Genesis 9&#58;8-17, Noah receives God’s covenant. The rainbow becomes a sign of the irrevocable promise of God’s faithfulness and mercy — of God’s peace for all creation. So, too, are we called to be signs of, or witnesses to, God’s peace. </span></p><p style="margin-top&#58;0in;vertical-align&#58;baseline;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">With you, we are alarmed by a completely different kind of sign. As you know, protests against stay-at-home orders have erupted over the past few weeks. <a name="_Hlk40686350"></a><a name="_Hlk40686215"><span style="color&#58;#444444;">Protesting is a valid public expression, but here in Illinois, protesting has included people carrying placards with anti-Semitic messages directed at our governor, J.B. Pritzker. There is a twisted logic in comparing our Jewish governor with the Nazi regime, </span></a><span>but the impact of these messages is still to promote anti-Semitism and its evil companions&#58; white supremacy, racism and sexism. </span>We, the ELCA bishops in Illinois, publicly denounce this bigotry here and wherever it occurs. Anti-Semitism is contrary to the irrevocable promise of God and “a violation of our hope and calling” as witnesses to God’s peace (</span><a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Declaration_Of_The_ELCA_To_The_Jewish_Community.pdf?_ga=2.119755976.1397745872.1589738985-706161550.1552512868"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">Declaration of the ELCA to the Jewish Community</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">, 1994). </span></p><p style="margin-top&#58;0in;vertical-align&#58;baseline;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">In our ELCA social teaching we acknowledge that there are times when “through faithfulness in its life and activities as a community for peace, the Church in the power of the Holy Spirit becomes a presence for peace that disturbs” (</span><a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/PeaceSS.pdf"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">For Peace in God’s World</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">, 1995). This is one of those times. Even as we seek peace amid a pandemic, we must uphold our commitments to our Jewish neighbors. <span style="color&#58;black;">No matter our politics or opinions about our elected leaders and their policies, all of us must come together on the basis of our church’s commitments to “oppose the deadly working of such bigotry” (1994 Declaration). <span>&#160;</span></span></span></p><p style="margin-top&#58;0in;vertical-align&#58;baseline;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">In Christ’s love, all of us continue to pray for Governor Pritzker and all our elected leaders as they make difficult decisions intended to protect lives. As a church, we encourage one another to abide by government policies that seek to safeguard the health and well-being of our communities, and to participate in healthy forms of civic engagement. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">In peace and in partnership,</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<br></span><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">The Rev. John Roth<br></span><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">Bishop, Central/Southern Illinois Synod</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">The Rev. Yehiel Curry<br></span><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">Bishop, Metropolitan Chicago Synod</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">The Rev. Jeffrey Clements<br></span><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;">Bishop, Northern Illinois Synod</span></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 nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &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> <br></p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> Public Relations Manager<br> 773-380-2877<br><a><span>Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</span></a><span><br></span></p><p style="line-height&#58;normal;"><span> <br> </span><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;"></span></p> <p><br> <br></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;"><br></span></p> <p><br></p></div>05/18/2020ELCA presiding bishop issues pastoral message on COVID-19 racism and white supremacyhttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8037https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8037<div class="ExternalClass5D12C4A385784E99AC4FFA5C2575C509"><p>​</p><p align="center" style="margin&#58;0in 0in 0pt;text-align&#58;center;vertical-align&#58;baseline;"><span><em><span style="background&#58;white;color&#58;black;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;">For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body,</span></em></span><span><em><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;">&#160;</span></em></span><em><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;"></span></em></p><p align="center" style="margin&#58;0in 0in 0pt;text-align&#58;center;vertical-align&#58;baseline;"><span><em><span style="background&#58;white;color&#58;black;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;">though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. </span></em></span><span><span style="background&#58;white;color&#58;black;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;">—I Corinthians 12&#58;12</span></span><em><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;"></span></em></p><p style="margin&#58;0in 0in 0pt;vertical-align&#58;baseline;"><span><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;">&#160;</span></span><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;"></span></p><p style="margin&#58;0in 0in 0pt;vertical-align&#58;baseline;"><span><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,sans-serif;"></span></span></p><p><span><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;"></span></span></p><p></p><p><span></span></p><p><span><span>May 13, 2020</span></span></p><p><span><span>&#160;</span></span></p><p><span><span>Dear church,</span></span><span><span>&#160;</span></span></p><p><span><span>Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!&#160;</span></span><span><span>&#160;</span></span></p><p><span><span>During the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am encouraged by your resilience and creativity in our witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I am also inspired by your generosity. Through the </span></span><a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/advanced-donation-form/covid-19-response-fund"><span>ELCA COVID-19 Response Fund</span></a><span><span> and our </span></span><a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/publichealth"><span>Daily Bread grants</span></a><span><span>, we are providing critical support to struggling yet vital ministries across this church. Through </span></span><a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/Lutheran-Disaster-Response/Our-Impact/Coronavirus"><span>Lutheran Disaster Response International</span></a><span><span> we have intensified our accompaniment of global partners. <em>We are church together.</em>&#160;</span></span><span><span>&#160;</span></span></p><p><span><span>This is a trying time for us all. At the same time, we know that a disproportionate burden of illness, death, discrimination and harassment falls on communities of color. This pandemic has exacerbated racism and racial inequities deeply entrenched in society and across the church. We see this in the growing anti-Asian racism and the disproportionate number of deaths in black, American Indian and Latinx communities. I have been learning from the leaders of the ELCA’s </span></span><a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Congregations-and-Synods/Ethnic-Specific-and-Multicultural-Ministries"><span>ethnic associations</span></a><span><span> how the </span></span><a href="https&#58;//www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/racial-ethnic-minorities.html"><span>data</span></a><span><span> we see on the news is experienced in real life. I have listened to leaders of color share the impact of this pandemic on their communities — on their lives and on their ministries. These stories are difficult but important, so we are launching a special series on </span></span><a href="https&#58;//www.livinglutheran.org/tag/racial-justice-and-covid-19/"><span>LivingLutheran.org</span></a><span><span> to lift up these voices for us all to hear. We also seek to ensure that our COVID-19 response more effectively tends to the realities of racism and racial inequality. <em>We are church together.&#160;</em></span></span></p><p><span><span>Recently, in cities across this country, we have seen horrifying anti-Semitic and white supremacist messages displayed during public protests against government orders that are intended to protect lives. </span><span style="color&#58;black;">No matter our politics or opinions about our elected leaders and their policies, all of us must come together on the basis of our church’s commitments to condemn </span></span><a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/RaceSS.pdf">racism</a><span><span style="color&#58;black;"> against indigenous people and people of color,&#160;</span></span><a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Condemnation_of_White_Supremacy_and_Racist_Rhetoric.pdf">white supremacy</a><span><span style="color&#58;black;">, </span></span><a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Current-Social-Writing-Projects/Women-and-Justice">sexism</a><span><span style="color&#58;black;">, and </span></span><a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Declaration_Of_The_ELCA_To_The_Jewish_Community.pdf?_ga=2.71932119.591108520.1588614831-706161550.1552512868">anti-Semitism</a><span><span style="color&#58;black;"> whenever they occur. </span></span><span><span style="background&#58;white;color&#58;#333333;">Whether our churches and communities are racially diverse or predominantly white,</span></span><span><span> our work for racial and economic justice for all people <span style="background&#58;white;color&#58;#333333;">is work for all of us. <em>We are church together</em>.&#160;</span></span></span><span><span>&#160;</span></span></p><p><span><span style="background&#58;white;color&#58;#333333;">Just as God has joined us to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in baptism, we are joined to each other. Paul helps us to understand this by speaking of the one body of Christ, with many members. While this is always true, perhaps we feel it more acutely in this time of physical distancing. In our longing to be church together, let us be even more intentional in sharing with each other, easing each other’s burdens, consoling each other in our fear and grief, condemning what is contrary to the gospel and living out our baptismal covenant “to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.”&#160;</span></span><span><span>&#160;</span></span></p><p><span><span style="background&#58;white;color&#58;#333333;">&#160;</span></span></p><p><span><span style="background&#58;white;color&#58;#333333;">In partnership,</span></span><span><span>&#160;<br></span></span><span><span style="background&#58;white;color&#58;#333333;">The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton</span></span><span><span>&#160;<br></span></span><span><span style="background&#58;white;color&#58;#333333;">Presiding Bishop, ELCA&#160;</span></span><span><span>&#160;</span></span></p><p><span><span>&#160;</span></span></p><p><span>T<span>o learn more, visit&#58;</span></span><span></span></p><p><span><span style="background&#58;white;color&#58;black;">Centers for Disease Control and Prevention&#58; “</span></span><span><span style="color&#58;black;">COVID-19 in Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups”</span></span><span><span> </span></span><a href="https&#58;//www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/racial-ethnic-minorities.html"><span>https&#58;//www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/racial-ethnic-minorities.html</span></a><span><span>&#160;</span></span></p><p><span><span>ELCA social statement “Freed in Christ&#58; Race, Ethnicity, and Culture”</span></span><span><span> </span></span><a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/RaceSS.pdf"><span>http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/RaceSS.pdf</span></a><span><span style="color&#58;blue;"></span></span></p><p><span><span>“Explanation of the Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent”<br></span></span><a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Slavery_Apology_Explanation.pdf"><span>https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Slavery_Apology_Explanation.pdf</span></a><span></span></p><p><span><span>ELCA social policy resolution “Condemnation of White Supremacy and Racist Rhetoric”</span></span><span><span> </span></span><a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Condemnation_of_White_Supremacy_and_Racist_Rhetoric.pdf"><span>https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Condemnation_of_White_Supremacy_and_Racist_Rhetoric.pdf</span></a><span></span></p><p><span><span>ELCA social statement “Faith, Sexism, and Justice&#58; A Call to Action”&#160;<br></span></span><a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Current-Social-Writing-Projects/Women-and-Justice"><span>https&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Current-Social-Writing-Projects/Women-and-Justice</span></a><span><span> </span></span><span><span>&#160;</span></span></p><p><span><span>“Declaration of the ELCA to Jewish Community</span></span><span><span>”<br></span></span><a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Declaration_Of_The_ELCA_To_The_Jewish_Community.pdf"><span>https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Declaration_Of_The_ELCA_To_The_Jewish_Community.pdf</span></a><span></span></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 nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &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> <br></p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> Public Relations Manager<br> 773-380-2877<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</p><p><br> <br><br></p><p>&#160;</p> <p><br></p></div>05/13/2020ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Mission cancels volunteer placement for 2020-21https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8036https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8036<div class="ExternalClassF591D514E00349A3A4F95F29342E03DC"><p>​CHICAGO — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread within new regions of the United States and across the globe, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has decided to cancel sending Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) volunteers for the 2020-21 program year. The program was scheduled to begin in August.</p><p>Young Adults in Global Mission is an international mission opportunity for young people from the ages of 21 to 29 in which volunteers live and serve with ELCA companion churches and partner organizations around the world. </p><p>In his letter to the church, the Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director for the ELCA's Global Mission unit, writes&#58; &quot;We know that our church and our companion churches are being impacted by COVID-19, and that this is a time of great suffering, uncertainty and grief. We also know our global relationships will continue and grow stronger throughout this pandemic. This sabbath will allow us a time of healing and rest so that we might be renewed and strengthened for the 2021-22 program year.&quot;</p><p>The young adult volunteers serve in country placements throughout the world, helping with programs that include health and human rights, education, environmental justice, professional support and congregational ministry. Locations include&#58; Argentina and Uruguay, Australia, Central Europe, Jerusalem and the West Bank, Madagascar, Mexico, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal and the United Kingdom.<br></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 nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &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> <br></p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br> &#160;</p><p><br></p></div>04/17/2020Urgent resources needed for East Jerusalem hospitals facing spread of coronavirushttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8035https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8035<div class="ExternalClassD322BC91A128462D9D16FE3116AD003D"><p>​CHICAGO — Facing an increase of coronavirus cases in East Jerusalem, Augusta Victoria Hospital and other East Jerusalem health systems are in critical need of financial resources to help mitigate the spread of the virus.</p><p>Augusta Victoria Hospital is owned and operated by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and several other member churches of the LWF.&#160;Located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, the hospital provides lifesaving health care to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.</p><p>In an April 3 letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mark Green, the LWF, together with other NGOs, urged the U.S. government to &quot;restart critical humanitarian and development programs immediately in the West Bank and Gaza.&quot;</p><p>&quot;In order to slow the expansion of COVID-19 globally, we must do more to address populations who are most vulnerable to its spread,&quot; the letter states.</p><p>Augusta Victoria Hospital and other East Jerusalem hospitals are facing a chronic financial crisis due to cuts in U.S. humanitarian aid in 2017 and 2018 totaling $50 million. </p><p>The ELCA, through its Global Mission COVID-19 response, has contributed funding from Lutheran Disaster Response to the appeal from Augusta Victoria Hospital to help build up its capacity to perform triage for incoming patients from Gaza and the West Bank, as well as to be prepared to test and treat COVID-19 patients should the need arise. This support enables the hospital to procure hand sanitizer, N95 masks, gowns, gloves and other necessary medical supplies.<br></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 nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &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> <br></p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br> &#160;</p><p><br></p></div>04/17/2020Bishop Eaton issues Earth Day messagehttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8034https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8034<div class="ExternalClassA9D9D0A100A1405D95F9D04C25E434C5"><p>​<em>Sin and captivity, manifest in threats to the environment, are not the last word. God addresses our predicament with gifts of 'forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation' (Luther, </em>Small Catechism<em>). By the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God frees us from our sin and captivity, and empowers us to be loving servants to creation.</em> </p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">—ELCA social statement <em>Caring for Creation&#58; Vision, Hope, and Justice, </em>p. 5</p><p>&#160;As I work from home at our dining room table, I look out the front window and see the wildlife at my husband's feeders. God created such beautiful creatures. As Christians we are guided by the promise expressed in our social statement that we are empowered &quot;to be loving servants to creation.&quot; It is our duty to care for God's earth.</p><p>Established in 1970, Earth Day launched the modern environmental movement, spurring development of landmark policies for a creation in crisis and defining a path toward a more sustainable planet. In this 50th anniversary year, under the theme &quot;Climate Action,&quot; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is joining the <a href="https&#58;//www.earthday.org/earth-day-2020/">Earth Day Network</a> as a featured faith partner. This partnership expresses our deep love for God's creation and a Lutheran understanding of our profound responsibility for it. The social statement describes our commitment this way&#58;</p><p>Humans, in service to God, have special roles on behalf of the whole of creation. Made in the image of God, we are called to care for the earth as God cares for &#160;&#160; the earth. God's command to have dominion and subdue the earth is not a license to dominate and exploit. … [It] should reflect God's way of ruling as a shepherd king who takes the form of a servant (Philippians 2&#58;7), wearing a crown of thorns (<em>Caring for Creation</em>, pp. 2-3).</p><p>We accept that caring for and protecting creation is central to our holy calling, yet we acknowledge our shortcomings in this regard. Our action and inaction are exposed by the despoiling and degrading of the environment. Affected by human activity, our changing climate has brought more severe weather patterns and ensuing destruction. Our waters, land and air are being polluted, and we are alarmed by the devastation. Ecological systems are strained to the point where some species cannot adapt, and face extinction.</p><p>Globally, we are dealing with two interconnected crises, the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing climate change. Both demonstrate the profound consequences of our disrupted, broken relationship with the natural world. According to scientists, species disruption caused by global warming has combined with human encroachment on the natural world to drive wildlife into greater and deadlier contact with people. The COVID-19 outbreak is an urgent warning that our behavior opens the door to transmission of new diseases, with devastating consequences.</p><p>Our distorted relationship with the earth is borne most heavily by the most vulnerable and marginalized among us, who are ill-equipped to withstand the impact of climate change or implement remedies. COVID-19 and the climate crisis heighten existing racial inequity, economic disparity and social injustices. Our call to care for creation is also a call to right these wrongs.</p><p>As Earth Day partners and stewards of creation, we have many ways to lovingly serve the earth&#58; </p><ul><li>Explore and use ELCA <a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Publicly-Engaged-Church/Advocacy/Environment">Care for Creation</a> resources,&#160; including video, study and action guides with information about the Creation Care Ambassadors initiative.</li><li>Read the Lutherans Restoring Creation story &quot;<a href="https&#58;//lutheransrestoringcreation.org/5-ways-to-celebrate-earth-day-as-a-church/">5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day as Church Together but Apart</a>.&quot;</li><li>Learn about the <a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/creationcareambassadors.pdf?_ga=2.199566765.2080637526.1586486762-1586824370.1586486762">Creation Care Ambassadors</a> program that equips Lutherans to be leaders in settings across the church and in our communities.</li><li>Accept the ELCA Young Adults <a href="https&#58;//blogs.elca.org/youngadults/104/">No Plastics for Lent</a> challenge this Easter season.</li><li>Participate in a local clean-up (with appropriate distancing) if permitted by local authorities, or participate in the <a href="https&#58;//www.earthday.org/todays-action/#challenge">Earth Challenge</a> 2020 citizen scientist initiative, focused on plastic pollution and clean air. </li><li>On April 21, take part in the Parliament of World Religions' <a href="https&#58;//parliamentofreligions.org/blog/2020-03-26-1248/parliament-host-50th-earth-day-observance-global-religious-and-indigenous">50th Earth Day Observance With Global Religious and Indigenous Leaders</a>.</li><li>Join with the ELCA's ecumenical partner <a href="http&#58;//www.creationjustice.org/take-action-this-month-april.html">Creation Justice Ministries</a> in advocacy, education and prayer.&#160;</li></ul><div><br></div><div>Looking past this anniversary, we gladly accept the monumental assignment of refocusing, renewing and raising our efforts as we embrace our role as stewards of creation and look with hope and promise toward years to come.</div><div><br></div><div>A <a href="https&#58;//www.myfortune3cart.com/elca/ELCAMA1220__MTGGODinRUINS_Spreads_1.pdf">Prayer</a> From Lutheran Disaster Response&#58;</div><div><br></div><div>Prepare us, Lord, for what lies ahead. Give us the strength and dedication that we will need in order to serve others unselfishly. Give us the energy we will need to follow through with the task. Give us strength to face our assignment, and put before us people who will support us. Open our ears and eyes and heart, so that we can sustain others and [help creation to recover from this crisis]. Bless those who are suffering and give them hope, in Jesus' name. Amen.</div><div><br></div><div>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton</div><div>Presiding Bishop</div><div>Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</div><div><br></div><div>- - -</div><div><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;</div><div>The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &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.</div><div><br></div><div>For information contact&#58;</div><div>Candice Hill Buchbinder</div><div>773-380-2877</div><div>Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</div><div><br><br></div><p><br></p></div>04/14/2020ELCA Church Council approves special COVID-19 fundraising appealhttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8033https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8033<div class="ExternalClassE59485A8875B4FF58DC45B75600B53BC"><p>​CHICAGO — Responding to the wide-ranging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on ministries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the ELCA Church Council approved a special fundraising appeal during a teleconference meeting that convened April 8.</p><p>This fundraising effort of the ELCA will support congregations, synods, relief and development, global mission and affiliated ministries that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.</p><p>The council also requested that the relevant churchwide organization units and offices provide periodic reports on the appeal to the executive committee and anticipate a recommendation for a timeline on the completion of the appeal.</p><p>In other action, the council authorized the churchwide organization to submit an application for a Paycheck Protection Program loan under the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act. The council requested that the Office of the Treasurer provide monthly meetings of the Executive Committee with updates on the status, usage and forgiveness of the loan and on compliance with the liquidity provisions. </p><p>The council also authorized the Executive Committee to elect members to fill vacancies on the committee on appeals until the June 2020 Church Council meeting. </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 nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &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> <br></p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br> &#160;</p><p><br></p></div>04/14/2020