ELCA Newshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/ELCA Conference of Bishops, others focus on future directions goals http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7951http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7951<div class="ExternalClass3F567E823B0D406EA1EAA4F35A845762"><p>CHICAGO – The Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) continues to discern the denomination's future as outlined in the priorities and goals of Future Directions 2025. The conference is an advisory body of the ELCA that includes 65 synod bishops, the presiding bishop and the secretary. </p><p>Meeting here Sept. 27-Oct. 2 under the theme &quot;While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near,&quot; the conference engaged in discussions with senior leadership of the ELCA churchwide organization to explore in-depth the work that surrounds the five goals of Future Directions 2025 and the key priorities of congregational vitality and leadership.</p><p>&quot;Just as the disciples on the road to Emmaus discovered, we experienced the transforming power of the risen Christ's presence as we move forward together in new and deeper partnership within the conference and with other leaders and leadership teams of the ELCA,&quot; said the Rev. William O. Gafkjen, bishop of the ELCA Indiana-Kentucky Synod and chair of the conference.</p><p>Other business for the conference included a report on the multicultural mission strategy to help assess where each synod is in implementing their goals toward increasing diversity in ELCA congregations. The strategy was developed in response to the resolution on racial justice adopted by the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. The resolution encourages all rostered ministers to receive anti-racism training and every synod to develop or maintain resources for anti-racism training for rostered ministers and congregations at least every two years. </p><p>Addressing concerns about U.S. funding of Augusta Victoria Hospital and five other East Jerusalem hospitals, the conference issued a <a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/7950"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">statement</span></a> that strongly &quot;affirms ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton's Sept. 6 letter to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, calling for the 'release of $25 million of U.S. FY 2017 funding that will help to ensure that there is no interruption in the treatment of Palestinians at the East Jerusalem hospitals.' &quot; The statement urged the president to &quot;instruct the U.S. Department of State to release this vital funding so these patients will receive the treatment and care they need.&quot;</p><p>The Inter-Religious Task Force presented a draft of the inter-religious policy statement. Following discussions, the conference recommended two amendments to the text. The draft policy statement, along with recommended amendments, will be considered by the ELCA Church Council at its November 2018 meeting. If approved, the statement will be considered by the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.</p><p>The conference also reviewed and offered responses to the draft social statement on women and justice. The proposed social statement will be delivered to the ELCA Church Council at its April 2019 meeting for consideration by the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.</p><p>In other business, the ELCA Conference of Bishops received&#58;</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; A report on theological education from seminary presidents and leaders. </p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; An update on&#160;<em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em>. As of July 31, the campaign has received $198 million for campaign priorities; $160 million in cash and commitments and $38 million in planned gifts. The period of the campaign has been extended an additional five months to June 30, 2019. </p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; A report on the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering. </p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; An update on the entrance rite recommendation for the roster of Ministers of Word and Service.<br>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; A report from the director for Mission Support. Mission Support is the financial offering from congregations shared with synods and the churchwide organization.</p><p>·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Reports from the ELCA vice president, treasurer and secretary and updates from the Conference of Bishops' various committees.</p><p>- - -<br> <strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million members in more than 9,300 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> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</span><br> <br><br></p><p>​</p></div>10/11/2018ELCA Conference of Bishops statement on East Jerusalem hospitalshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7950http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7950<div class="ExternalClass1418FFB866E44152B38D7A7DDEF65637"><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 11px;"><font face="calibri"><font size="3"><font color="#000000"></font></font></font></p><p>In early September, members of the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) were saddened and dismayed to hear reports that the U.S. government was planning to discontinue financial assistance to Augusta Victoria Hospital and five other East Jerusalem hospitals.&#160; </p><p>We appreciate and strongly affirm ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton's Sept. 6 letter to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, calling for the &quot;release of $25 million of U.S. FY 2017 funding that will help to ensure that there is no interruption in the treatment of Palestinians at the East Jerusalem hospitals, especially the most vulnerable cancer and kidney patients referred to Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) from Gaza and the West Bank.&quot;</p><p>She noted that, as an institution owned and operated by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), &quot;Augusta Victoria Hospital is able to operate because of the support of LWF member churches, like the ELCA, and long-standing partnerships with countries like the United States. In the last decade the U.S. government, through USAID, has invested nearly $10 million in AVH to bolster its capacity as a cancer center. In addition, the U.S. government has provided over many years tens of millions of dollars in aid to help cover the costs of the cancer patients and others referred to AVH and the other East Jerusalem hospitals.&quot;</p><p>Eaton stressed the urgency of U.S. government action, saying&#58; &quot;The delay in the disbursement of the 2017 funding for the East Jerusalem hospitals is contributing to an acute and severe cash-flow crisis for AVH and the other hospitals,&quot; and that immediate release of the funds is necessary &quot;so that AVH can make payments to pharmaceutical suppliers of cancer medications, pay staff and avoid any interruption in the treatment of patients.&quot;</p><p>In the past several weeks, neither the LWF nor the ELCA have received any official announcement about the status of this funding and, therefore, we appeal to President Donald Trump to instruct the U.S. Department of State to release this vital funding so these patients will receive the treatment and care they need.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>---</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million members in more than 9,300 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<u><br></u><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</span></p> <font face="calibri"></font><font size="3"></font><font color="#000000"></font><font face="Times New Roman"></font><p>​</p></div>10/02/2018Lutheran World Federation's Augusta Victoria Hospital needs ELCA members' helphttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7946http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7946<div class="ExternalClass7A6A901CBC064FB696AAC283EDF4660B"><p>Media reports say the United States will not continue to fund the Lutheran World Federation-operated <a href="https&#58;//www.lutheranworld.org/news/us-cuts-funding-east-jerusalem-hospital-network">Augusta Victoria Hospital</a> in Jerusalem. Please call the White House hotline (202-456-1111) or write a comment in its <a href="https&#58;//www.whitehouse.gov/contact/">comments submissions area</a> to urge them to ensure there is no interruption of assistance for children and others in need of treatment for cancer and additional life-threatening diseases. This funding represents dollars already promised as part of the 2017 budget.</p><p>Another way to help is to give today. Your gifts will be used over-and-above our church’s ongoing, annual support in order to prevent interruptions to the life-saving, critical care provided to children and other patients. <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/augusta-victoria-hospital">Donate today</a>.<br></p><p><strong>Prayer of Intercession&#58;</strong></p><p>Look with mercy, gracious God, upon people everywhere who live with injustice, terror, disease, and death. We remember before you today the Palestinians who come for healing to East Jerusalem hospitals, including the Lutheran Hospital on the Mount of Olives. As these hospitals struggle now with keeping their doors open, send your Holy Spirit upon us and all government authorities to provide the support needed for your healing work to continue in Jerusalem; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.</p> <font face="calibri"></font><font size="3"></font><font color="#000000"></font><font face="Times New Roman"></font><p>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million members in more than 9,300 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;</p><p>Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br></p><p>​</p></div>09/08/2018A statement from ELCA presiding bishop addressing our call to care for creationhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7945http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7945<div class="ExternalClassFB5BE69EEB32499898BB3CDD2EAAD2E4"><p>Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) members pray and care for God's marvelous creation every day. We also join the global Christian community each Sept. 1 to Oct. 4 to mark the Season of Creation. This season starts with a World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation, an invitation to focus our worship, our stewardship and action on honoring God by honoring and caring for God's handiwork. </p><p>As members of the ELCA, we share a love and a responsibility for all that God has made. In our social statement &quot;Caring for Creation&#58; Vision, Hope and Justice,&quot; we affirm that &quot;made in the image of God, we are called to care for the earth as God cares for the earth. God's command to have dominion and subdue the earth is not a license to dominate and exploit. Human dominion, a special responsibility, should reflect God's way of ruling as a shepherd king who takes the form of a servant, wearing a crown of thorns.&quot;<sup> </sup>We confess the ways in which we have been negligent in our responsibility to God and to all of creation and commit ourselves to exercising our stewardship by upholding the integrity of creation and safeguarding those most vulnerable to environmental degradation.</p><p>On this year's World Day of Prayer, I am mindful that our warming climate is creating unprecedented crises for millions. These include increased food insecurity, forced migration, natural disasters, civil conflict and water scarcity. From across all communities most affected by climate change, women and girls are disproportionately affected. According to ACT Alliance, these communities suffer huge losses that extend beyond monetary losses to noneconomic impacts such as loss of lives, land, territory, language and culture. <sup>&#160;</sup>Our response to these losses has focused on the neglect and carelessness, both in private industry and in government regulation, that have contributed to these changes. An honest accounting also recognizes that we all participate, both as consumers and investors, in economies that make intensive and insistent demands for energy. We are part of the solution.</p><p>In September, the ELCA will mark the Season of Creation by taking a leadership role during the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. Together with The Lutheran World Federation and other partners, we will host a Talanoa Dialogue to accompany those most affected by climate change. The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change states&#58; <em>&quot;</em><em>Talanoa</em><em> is a traditional word used in Fiji and across the Pacific to reflect a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. The purpose of </em><em>Talanoa</em><em> is to share stories, build empathy and to make wise decisions for the collective good ... sharing of ideas, skills and experience through storytelling.&quot;</em></p><p>The focus of these dialogues will be &quot;Loss and Damage&quot; and &quot;Just Transition&quot; related to climate change. The former will explore the suffering that climate change is causing right now and seek new ways to learn from and accompany those most affected. The latter recognizes that we must also accompany those whose livelihoods are dependent on extractive industries, making sure they are not left behind during the transition to renewable energy sources. These dialogues will equip us in the planetary movement toward climate solutions with initiatives that reflect God's concern for the sufficiency and sustainability of all people.</p><p>Our ELCA ministries are making an impact as we as a church take hold of our common responsibility to creation and to God.&#160;We know that transitioning to lifestyles that eliminate the causes of global warming is critical&#160;and must be done now.&#160;In response to the 2016 Churchwide Assembly resolution &quot;Toward a Responsible Energy Future,&quot; ELCA members answer the call to care for all of God's creation in our churches and homes through stewardship, education and advocacy. These efforts include establishing environmental stewardship committees, building awareness around energy efficiency, evaluating investments in fossil fuels, and learning more about sustainable farming and development.</p><p>All who care for the earth and work for the restoration of its vitality can be confident in the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us as we serve in concert with God's creative and renewing power and the indwelling Spirit of Christ to give us hope, courage and direction.<em></em></p><p><em>Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us coworkers in your creation. Give us wisdom and reverence to use the resources of nature so that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (prayer for stewardship of natural resources, ELW p. 80).</em><br></p><p>In Christ, </p><p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<br>Presiding Bishop<br>Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</p><p>&#160;</p><p>​</p></div>08/31/2018Lutheran Disaster Response receives grant for Hurricane Harvey recovery effortshttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/7943http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7943<div class="ExternalClass5664C4877CE043F3AC31BA9D60FA7959"><p>CHICAGO – Lutheran Disaster Response has been allocated up to $7.3 million from the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) as part of a cooperative agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support the implementation of a disaster case-management delivery mechanism for survivors of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. </p><p>Lutheran Disaster Response is one of five National VOAD members participating in Project Comeback&#58; Texas, a program specific to the state. Working through Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response, a ministry of Upbring, funds will be used to hire case managers to help disaster survivors access their recovery needs and identify resources, financial and other, to rebuild their homes and their lives.</p><p>&quot;Lutheran Disaster Response is pleased to be a part of this program that will help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey by providing disaster case-management services through our long-time affiliate, Upbring, which has many years' experience in this work. This work will assist survivors by having a person to walk with them down the long road to recovery,&quot; said the Rev. Michael Stadie, program director of Lutheran Disaster Response U.S.</p><p>Much of the work will be focused in 10 counties, one of which includes the city of Rockport, a Texas coastal city that was one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Harvey.</p><p>&quot;Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response, a ministry of Upbring, is honored to partner with the ELCA and Lutheran Disaster Response to provide disaster case-management services for an anticipated 1,000 families along the Texas Gulf Coast that continue to feel the devastation of Hurricane Harvey,&quot; said Kurt Senske, Upbring CEO. &quot;By joining forces with local congregations and community organizations, we will truly be serving those in need as we provide help, hope and resources to create a brighter tomorrow.&quot; </p><p>According to a National VOAD press release, Project Comeback&#58; Texas will be implemented by National VOAD members through their local affiliates and partners, and the direct providers will be organizations already connected to their communities, allowing for better understanding of local relationships, resources and culture. It is also expected that these organizations will hire, collectively, over 400 people – the vast majority of whom will be local hires, further contributing to the community's economic recovery.</p><p>Many of the National VOAD consortium partners are already working in these areas and the availability of FEMA funding will allow them to expand their capacity to other areas of need and extend the length of time that they are able to provide disaster case-management services to over 12,000 households in need of further support.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>---<br><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br>The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> 773-380-2877<br> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</span><br> <br></p><p><strong>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </strong></p><p>​</p></div>07/25/2018Idalia Negrón Caamaño elected bishop of the ELCA Caribbean Synod http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7942http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7942<div class="ExternalClass077AA138498744F6B32C659936BCC1E2"><p>The Rev. Idalia C. Negrón Caamaño, San Juan, Puerto Rico, was elected June 16 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Caribbean Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election was held during the Synod Assembly June 15-16 at Santísima Trinidad ELC, Bayamon, Puerto Rico.</p><p>Negrón Caamaño was elected on the fourth ballot with 61 votes to 21 votes for the Rev. Luis I. Ehandia, pastor of Del Buen Pastor in Santurce, Puerto Rico.</p><p>From 2003 to 2015 the bishop-elect served as part-time pastor of San Pablo Lutheran Church in San Juan and part-time director for evangelical mission in the Caribbean Synod. She has served full-time in the synod since 2017.</p><p>Negrón Caamaño received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of San Juan in 1969. She received a Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in 2003. The seminary is one of the seven ELCA seminaries.</p><p>Negrón Caamaño will be installed Oct. 6 at Christian Church-Disciples of Christ El Señorial in Cupey, Puerto Rico.</p><p>The Rev. Felipe Lozada-Montañez has served as bishop of the Caribbean Synod since 2007 and will retire Aug. 31.</p><p>- - -</p><p><strong>About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</strong>&#58;<br> The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million members in 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of &quot;God's work. Our hands,&quot; the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.</p><p></p><p>For information contact&#58;<br>Candice Hill Buchbinder<br>773-380-2877<br>Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org<br></p><p> &#160;</p><p>​</p></div>07/11/2018