ELCA Newshttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/Lee Miller II elected bishop of ELCA Upstate New York Synodhttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8104https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8104<div class="ExternalClass333D6D3CDD884F7BB76A22FFD2E02B4E"><p>​CHICAGO&#160;— The Rev. Lee M. Miller II, Buffalo, N.Y., was elected June 5 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Upstate New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election took place during an online synod assembly.</p><p>Miller was elected on the fifth ballot, with 157 votes. The Rev. Aileen Robbins, pastor of Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rochester, N.Y., received 134 votes. </p><p>The bishop-elect has served as senior pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Buffalo since 2012. Prior to that he served as pastor of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Philadelphia, Pa., from 2004 to 2012 and as pastor of Christus Lutheran Church in Camden, N.J., from 1998 to 2004. </p><p>Miller earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from State University of New York at Albany in 1991 and a Master of Divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (now United Lutheran Seminary) in 1998. Miller is currently working on a Doctor of Ministry degree at United, one of seven ELCA seminaries. </p><p>Miller will take office Sept. 1, and his installation is scheduled for Sept. 18.</p><p>The Rev. John S. Macholz has served as bishop of the Upstate New York Synod since 2014.</p><p>Information about the Upstate New York Synod is available at <a href="https&#58;//upstatenysynod.org/">upstatenysynod.org/</a>.</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 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 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.</p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br> &#160;</p><p><br></p></div>06/11/2021Brenda Bos elected bishop of ELCA Southwest California Synodhttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8103https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8103<div class="ExternalClassD737607370AA4C988697A599A7527FA0"><p>​CHICAGO — The Rev. Brenda Bos, Glendale, Calif., was elected June 5 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Bos will be the first openly lesbian bishop in the ELCA. The election took place during an online synod assembly.</p><p>Bos was elected on the fifth ballot, with 160 votes. The Rev. Albert Starr, senior adviser for ELCA ethnic diversity, received 109 votes. </p><p>The bishop-elect has served as assistant to the bishop for rostered leadership in the Southwest California Synod since 2019. Prior to that Bos served as pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in San Clemente, Calif., from 2014 to 2019. She also served as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Canoga Park, Calif. and as vicar of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Santa Monica, Calif. Before entering ministry, Bos worked in production for Warner Bros. Television.</p><p>Bos received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., in 1986; a Master of Divinity degree from Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, Calif., in 2012; and a Certificate of Theological Studies from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in&#160;Berkeley, Calif., in 2013. Pacific is one of seven ELCA seminaries. </p><p>Bos will take office Sept. 1, and her installation is scheduled for Sept. 12.</p><p>The Rev. Murray Finck has served as interim bishop of the Southwest California Synod since August 2020.</p><p>Information about the Southwest California Synod is available at <a href="https&#58;//www.socalsynod.org/">socalsynod.org/</a>.</p><p>&#160;- - -</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 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 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.</p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br> &#160;</p><p><br></p></div>06/11/2021Megan Rohrer elected bishop of ELCA Sierra Pacific Synodhttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8102https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8102<div class="ExternalClassCA84C2656D564388AB56229285CD0480"><p>​CHICAGO — The Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer (they/their), San Francisco, Calif., was elected May 8 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Rohrer is the first transgender bishop in the ELCA. The election took place during an online synod assembly.</p><p>Rohrer was elected on the fifth ballot, with 209 votes. The Rev. Jeff R. Johnson, pastor of University Lutheran Chapel of Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif., received 207 votes. </p><p>The bishop-elect has served as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco since 2014 and as community chaplain coordinator for the San Francisco Police Department since 2018. They served as executive director of the Welcome Ministry in San Francisco from 2002 to 2014, assistant night minister for the San Francisco Night Ministry from 2013 to 2018 and community garden coordinator at Project Homeless Connect from 2010 to 2012. Rohrer also served as pastor of a multiparish call serving the homeless and hungry at Welcome Ministry from 2006 to 2014. </p><p>Rohrer received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Augustana University in Sioux Fall, S.D., in 2001, a Master of Divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley in 2005, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in 2017. Rohrer is currently a doctoral candidate in transformative studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. Augustana is one of 26 ELCA colleges and universities. </p><p>Rohrer's installation is scheduled for Sept. 11 at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Walnut Creek, Calif.</p><p>The Rev. Mark W. Holmerud has served as bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod since 2008 and will retire June 30.</p><p>Information about the Sierra Pacific Synod is available at <a href="https&#58;//spselca.org/">spselca.org/</a>.</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 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 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.</p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br> &#160;</p><p><br></p></div>05/10/2021Presiding Bishop issues statement on Mental Health Awarenesshttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8101https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8101<div class="ExternalClass2FBD3F13584244699804A4C8304CAA09"><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em><br></em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ</em> <em>(</em><em>Galatians 6&#58;2 NRSV).</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">&#160;</p><p>Since the global pandemic was declared in March 2020, many of us have endured extended emotional and psychological anguish. That experience may be dramatically worsened by the ugly realities of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia or poverty. Our anguish has taken the form of sadness in isolation, anxiety in uncertainty, grief over loss, stress over economic challenges and worry over events beyond our control — including the tremendous impact of the crisis on our children. This pandemic threatens our mental health just as much as our physical health. For millions of us adults living in the United States, receiving the vaccine and the hope it brings has alleviated our unease, sorrow and grief.&#160; </p><p>This past year has provided some of us with a deeper understanding of and empathy for the ongoing mental health challenges endured by our neighbors, friends and family. During Mental Health Awareness Month, especially, our church intentionally recognizes the anguish our siblings in Christ experience daily — pandemic or no — and the fear many of them feel about sharing their stories.</p><p>As a church we also acknowledge the true depths of these invisible illnesses. Our children, neighbors and friends grappling with mental health issues need to know that God does not love them any less. They need to hear that they, too, are embraced by God's unfathomable love.</p><p>Our church cautions against judgmental words and actions that might suggest to someone that their faith is not strong enough or that their outlook on life would improve if they would change certain behaviors. Praying, socializing and exercising are great activities that can help someone get out of a slump or move past a painful episode. But this is not always the solution for moderate or severe depression, bipolar depression, anxiety or even grief. Telling someone they aren't doing enough to be happy creates a sense of stigma that they are not living &quot;correctly.&quot; We need to listen so that our words of care and compassion guide others to the help they need. We need to support people in their struggles, walking side by side in partnership with them through the good days and the bad.</p><p>Dear church, God loves us all. No matter how we are grappling, we are not alone; God is with us. Throughout May and beyond, we must seek ways to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness and continually love everyone compassionately as a child of God. We must embrace the benefits of therapy and encourage the use of medication when necessary in supporting and sustaining mental health and wellness. We must also work to ensure access to affordable mental health care for all people, especially those living in poverty or in historically marginalized communities.&#160; &#160;</p><p>Our faith teaches that caring for health is a shared endeavor. Being the body of Christ means carrying one another's burdens; it also means placing our burdens in God's hands and admitting to a caring person close to us that we need help. This is true no matter how great or small our anguish may be.<br></p><p><br></p><p>In Christ,</p><p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<br>Presiding Bishop<br>Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</p><p><br></p><p>Mental Health Resources&#58;<br>&quot;<a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Messages/Mental-Illness">The Body of Christ and Mental Illness</a>&quot;<br><a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Messages/Suicide-Prevention">Suicide Prevention</a><br><a href="https&#58;//suicidepreventionministry.org/">Lutheran Suicide Prevention Ministry</a></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 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 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 href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br> <br></p><p><br></p><p> <br></p><p><br></p></div>05/07/2021ELCA Church Council approves sanctuary church guidelineshttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8100https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8100<div class="ExternalClass857C3380E5A2489789C483B38D098674"><p>​CHICAGO&#160;— The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) met electronically April 14-17. The council, which serves as the ELCA's board of directors, took action on a variety of matters intended to advance this church's mission and ministry.</p><p>In response to action taken by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly that declared the ELCA a sanctuary church body, the council approved a motion to recognize that the ELCA's ministry as a sanctuary church body is a public witness that calls ELCA members to value the dignity of each human being made in God's image. The council also encouraged an understanding of the word &quot;sanctuary&quot; that is rooted in the principles of walking alongside, or accompanying, immigrants and refugees but acknowledged that &quot;sanctuary&quot; has no legal or universally accepted definition. This action also affirmed the guidance provided in the &quot;ELCA Sanctuary Church Guidelines&quot; for ways congregations, synods and the churchwide organization can accompany and support the ministry of sanctuary.</p><p>The council approved a revision of &quot;Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline,&quot; effective immediately and applicable only to conduct occurring — or alleged to have occurred — after the date this resolution was adopted. The document describes the grounds by which officers, rostered ministers, candidates for rostered ministry, congregations and members of congregations may be subject to discipline according to the practice of this church.</p><p>The council received the final report from the Mission Support experiment synods. In response, the council urged the churchwide organization and the synods to incorporate the learnings from the mission support experiments into future collaboration and encouraged the formation of a project team that would include bishops, churchwide organization staff and others to discuss future strategies for mission support sharing between synods and the churchwide organization. The synods that participated in the Mission Support experiment were&#58; the Lower Susquehanna Synod, the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod, the Nebraska Synod, the New England Synod and the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod. &quot;Mission support&quot; refers to the financial offerings that congregations share with synods and the churchwide organization.</p><p>In other action, the council&#58;</p><ul><li>Affirmed the presiding bishop's decision to name the Tuesday following the celebration of the birth of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as an annual ELCA Day of Repentance From Racism and encouraged members, congregations and synods to use the &quot;Lamenting Racism&quot; resource in <em>All Creation Sings </em>and other liturgical resources of lamentation and repentance offered by the churchwide organization's Worship team to accompany this annual day of repentance.</li><li>Revised the spending authorization for ELCA World Hunger from $21.5 million to $23.5 million in fiscal year 2021.</li><li>Approved a $1.3 million addition to the Church Council designated fund for fiscal year 2020 to cover budget shortfalls in future years.</li><li>Deferred questions of developing social messages on the U.S. National Drug Control Policy or on aging, gender identity or gun control policy until the fall 2021 Church Council meeting.</li><li>Adopted a revision to the <em>Manual of Policies for the Management of the Rosters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America </em>to include a set of protocols for ministers of Word and Sacrament from the Lutheran World Federation companion churches who wish to serve as missionaries in congregations and synods of the ELCA.</li><li>Received a gap analysis of rostered women, with particular focus on rostered women of color, from the Office of the Presiding Bishop in response to a Churchwide Assembly action on the 50th anniversary of the ordination of women.</li><li>Received a response and recommendations regarding seminary tuition from the Christian Community and Leadership home team and supported various actions to continue addressing these recommendations. </li><li>Received the report of the Temporary Select Committee on Committees and approved an extension for consideration of a revised committee structure to the fall 2021 Church Council meeting.</li><li>Ratified amendments to the constitutions of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod and the Southwestern Texas Synod.</li><li>Approved amendments to the bylaws of the ELCA Foundation, United Lutheran Seminary and Luther Seminary.</li><li>Elected members to the governing bodies of the Endowment Fund of the ELCA, Mosaic, Inc., and six seminaries. </li></ul><p>The council also engaged in&#58;</p><ul style="list-style-type&#58;disc;"><li>A reflection on migration and the work of AMMPARO (Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities).<br></li><li>A primer on &quot;Indigenous Perspective in Our Country&quot; from council member Loni Taylor, a member of the Chippewa Cree Nation. </li><li>A presentation on Future Church and the Open Doors Grants initiative to encourage congregations to innovate in reaching new people in the congregations' contexts as churches transition from the pandemic. The grant application process begins April 21. Learn more about the Open Doors initiative at <a href="https&#58;//elca.org/opendoors">Open Doors — Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. </a></li></ul><p>&#160;<br>The council also received reports from the church's presiding bishop, treasurer, secretary and vice president, and from the ELCA Conference of Bishops.</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 nearly 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 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 href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br> <br></p><p><br></p></div>04/21/2021A pastoral word on the verdict of Derek Chauvin’s trial https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8099https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8099<div class="ExternalClassC8574570B05A4390AC71BC940D997C90"><p>​The&#160;trial&#160;of&#160;Derek Chauvin, the former Minnesota police officer&#160;charged with the killing&#160;of George&#160;Floyd,&#160;has&#160;riveted&#160;our national attention these past weeks, and now a verdict has been reached.&#160;Together with people around the world, we have anticipated&#160;the jury's&#160;decision&#160;with troubled hearts.&#160;As&#160;members&#160;of the community of&#160;Jesus, we affirm that&#160;&quot;if&#160;one&#160;member suffers, all suffer together with it&quot;&#160;(1 Corinthians&#160;12&#58;26,&#160;NRSV).</p><p>No&#160;jury verdict&#160;can erase the pain of the Floyd family, and we share our condolences and pray for ongoing comfort in their suffering&#160;and for all whose lives have been touched by this&#160;tragedy.&#160;As people of the cross, we believe in the hope of the&#160;resurrection. Yet&#160;we cannot rush to Easter Sunday without reflecting on the oppression of&#160;Good&#160;Friday.</p><p>The murder of George Floyd<span style="text-decoration-line&#58;underline;"> </span>is one of the many examples of the ongoing abuse of police authority.&#160;The extrajudicial killings of Brown and Black bodies must stop.</p><p>We <a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/racialjusticepledge?_ga=2.147257591.1952944110.1618720134-299342222.1616514018">recommit</a> ourselves as a church to continue to fight against the sin of racism&#160;and to hold accountable unjust&#160;systems&#160;and structures that&#160;perpetuate&#160;injustices, including our own.&#160;&#160;In the words of Martin Luther King Jr&#58; &quot;Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.&quot;&#160;The work of confronting these injustices is long overdue.&#160;</p><p>Let us together in our congregations and&#160;communities&#160;discern&#160;how we are being called in this moment&#160;to&#160;live out our&#160;baptismal&#160;promise&#160;to serve all people and strive for justice and peace.&#160;<span style="text-align&#58;center;"><br></span></p><p><span style="text-align&#58;center;">For further discussion, you can read the following sections from ELCA social statements and policy&#58;</span></p><p>&#160;<strong><em>The Church and Criminal Justice&#58; Hearing the Cries</em></strong>, <a href="https&#58;//elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Criminal-Justice">elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Criminal-Justice</a> (pages 9 and 13).</p><p><strong><em>Freed in Christ&#58; Race, Ethnicity, and Culture</em></strong><em>, </em><a href="https&#58;//elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Race-Ethnicity-and-Culture">elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Race-Ethnicity-and-Culture</a> (pages 4 and 5).</p><p><strong><em>Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent</em></strong>, <a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Slavery_Apology_Explanation.pdf">Slavery_Apology_Explanation.pdf </a>&#160;(page 2).<br></p><p><br></p><p>In Christ,</p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<p>Presiding Bishop<br>Evangelical Lutheran Church in America<br></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 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 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 href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p></div>04/20/2021