ELCA Newshttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/ELCA Introduces “Now Is the Time” Study Guidehttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8128https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8128<div class="ExternalClass8C0DAC93C85F4C9892407BFBA715C5C0"><p>​</p><p>CHICAGO (Jan. 19, 2022) — The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America introduces &quot;Now Is the Time&#58; A Study Guide for ELCA Declaration to People of African Descent&quot; to help congregations wrestle with the meaning of the declaration, adopted at the 2019 Churchwide Assembly, and its accompanying explanation.</p><p>In the declaration, the ELCA &quot;apologizes to people of African descent for its historical complicity in slavery and its enduring legacy of racism in the United States and globally. We lament the white church's failure to work for the abolition of slavery and the perpetuation of racism in this church.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Now Is the Time&quot; stresses realism, self-examination and accountability as the church acknowledges and apologizes for the history and impact of slavery and systemic racism. The study guide focuses on deepening our understanding of this history as participants engage in often-difficult conversation and reflection to move the church toward racial healing and justice.</p><p>The&#160;five-part&#160;study resource,&#160;with a guide and participant&#160;materials, is available at&#160;<a href="https&#58;//elca.org/Resources/Racial-Justice">elca.org/Resources/Racial-Justice</a>.&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;<br>&#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 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> 773-380-2877<br> <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br> &#160;</p><p><br></p></div>01/19/2022Bishop Eaton issues message on 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Dayhttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8127https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8127<div class="ExternalClass6BFE9F705E0D428487B29438067BCD2A"><p>​<em>&quot;Every valley shall be lifted up,</em><em> </em><em>and every mountain and hill be made low;</em><em> </em><em>the uneven ground shall become level,</em><em> </em><em>and the rough places a plain&quot; (Isaiah 40&#58;4).</em></p><p>Eighty years ago, on a beautiful Sunday morning, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was tragically transformed from an island paradise into a bloody battlefield.&#160;After the Japanese bombed the U.S. Navy, war was declared and tragedy ensued.&#160;During times like these, the Lutheran church has always trusted our chaplains to bring a ministry of Word and Sacrament — to remind people that, no matter how difficult the circumstances, there is always a way toward peace. Amid tragedy, destruction and death, those who follow Jesus are still called to hope.</p><p>As we continue to live with the impact of COVID-19, did any of us think that this pandemic would be so protracted?&#160;We had no way to know about Delta or Omicron variants.&#160;We have seen rises in anxiety, incivility, anti-Asian violence and the harmful theology of Christian nationalists and other extremist groups, the same kind of sentiment that led us to intern Asian Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.&#160;We must do better than that.&#160;As we are reminded by the light from our Advent wreathes, we are called to illuminate and enlighten.</p><p>The advent of our Lord Jesus is the event that turns all human history on its head. We follow Jesus rather than the warmongering, death-dealing principalities and powers of this world.&#160;Like our ELCA federal chaplains, like the prophet Isaiah, we are called to promote a different way – a way of justice, of equity, of healing and recovery. We are ambassadors of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, who enters our world to bring peace, healing and hope.&#160;</p><p>A blessed Advent to you, dear church.</p><p>&#160;In Christ,</p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton<p>Presiding Bishop<br>Evangelical Lutheran Church in America<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 3.3 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> 773-380-2877<br> <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org</a><br> &#160;</p><p><br></p><p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p><br></p></div>12/07/2021Pastoral message on the verdicts concerning the murder of Ahmaud Arbery https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8126https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8126<div class="ExternalClass3FD1E344B9D24846831CDD10FBDEB590"><p>​In response to the verdicts in the trial of Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael&#160;and William Bryan in Brunswick, Ga., for the murder of Ahmaud&#160;Arbery, we offer a word of prayer and healing. We pray for Arbery's&#160;family because no verdict can ease the pain and suffering of the murder of their loved one.&#160;As a church concerned for all, we pray also for the&#160;defendants,&#160;that God's&#160;grace&#160;may&#160;transform&#160;their hearts.&#160;&#160;</p><p>God has created all of us&#160;with inherent dignity, value and worth. Racially motivated hate crimes deny this to Black and Brown people.&#160;The&#160;sin of racism distorts so many aspects of life together.&#160;The ELCA's social policy resolution &quot;<a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Condemnation_of_White_Supremacy_and_Racist_Rhetoric.pdf?_ga=2.203569043.221586474.1590507628-706161550.1552512868">Condemnation of White Supremacy and Racist Rhetoric</a>&quot; states&#58; &quot;As persons called to love one another as God has loved us, we therefore proclaim our commitment to speak with one voice against racism and white supremacy. We stand with those who are targets of racist ideologies and actions.&quot;&#160;&#160;<br>&#160;&#160;<br>May our prayers continue to lead us toward transformation and fulfilling our call to justice and care for all.&#160;<em>He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord&#160;require of&#160;you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?</em> (Micah 6&#58;8).&#160;</p><p>&#160;<br>In Christ,&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;<em>&#160;</em></p><p>Elizabeth A. Eaton&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;Kevin Strickland<br>Presiding Bishop&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;Bishop&#160;<br>Evangelical Lutheran Church in America&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;Southeastern Synod, ELCA&#160;</p><p>Learn more about ELCA <a href="https&#58;//elca.org/Our-Work/Publicly-Engaged-Church/Racial-Justice-Ministries?_ga=2.154300603.2059431452.1637767627-303085517.1632357388">Racial Justice Ministries</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 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> <br></p><p><br></p></div>11/24/2021A pastoral message on the Rittenhouse acquittalhttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8125https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8125<div class="ExternalClassB4B0A40BD31B4539A6B909BD822CA26F"><p>​Dear church,&#160;</p><p>In the book of Leviticus we read&#58; &quot;You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great&#58; with justice you shall judge your neighbor&quot; (19&#58;15).&#160;</p><p>Our social message on <a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Community_ViolenceSM.pdf?_ga=2.258960650.1802121804.1637071207-303085517.1632357388">Community Violence</a> urges us to become more involved in countering the reality and fear of violence in our communities and our neighbors' communities, pursuing justice and seeking peace no matter how long the journey or complex the challenge.&#160; &#160;</p><p>When a child is allowed to become a vigilante without recourse, we are forced to&#160;confront the idols of our society&#58; guns, violence and white supremacy.&#160;To be sure, this is not about one person, but indeed about all of us, together.&#160;</p><p>Today's acquittal is an injustice. It points to the disorder in which we all live. As we seek to&#160;restore justice;&#160;so&#160;also&#160;will we restore God to God's rightful place at the center of our life together.&#160;</p><p>&#160;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> <br></p><p><br></p><p>&#160;</p><p><br></p></div>11/19/2021ELCA Church Council expresses gratitude for leadership of Bill Hornehttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8124https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8124<div class="ExternalClass056F74E734BD4B40A76B64D8B6E3DB73"><p>​CHICAGO — Gathering here Nov. 11-13, the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) began its meeting with a shared time in remembrance of William B. &quot;Bill&quot; Horne II, ELCA vice president, who died Aug. 14 in Clearwater, Fla.</p><p>In action, the council gave thanks for Horne's life and faithful service and &quot;expressed appreciation for his wise, fair, and strong leadership as vice president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and his collaborative spirit, steadfast commitment, and genuine compassion for the congregations and communities throughout the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.&quot;</p><p>In her report to the council, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton recalled Horne's dedication. &quot;For him, serving as vice president, was a deeply felt call from God to serve the church.&quot; </p><p>The council welcomed Carlos Peña, who will serve as interim vice president until the election of a new vice president at the 2022 Churchwide Assembly. Peña previously served as vice president for two terms, having first been elected by the 2003 Churchwide Assembly. </p><p>Eaton also addressed the Future Church priorities and the shared ministry goal of engaging one million new, young and diverse people by the end of this decade. </p><p>&quot;This [work] takes each of us and all of us,&quot; said Eaton, emphasizing that the goal will be achieved only through the engagement and resources of the entire church body, including synods, congregations, colleges and universities, seminaries, social ministry organizations and all ELCA networks. &quot;We have received this gift. We are called to share it out loud with the world.&quot;</p><p>To further the conversation of reaching one million new, young and diverse people, the council received a working document from the youth and young adults serving on council titled &quot;A Fresh Perspective&#58; ELCA Church Council Young Adults.&quot; In response, the council created a working group of youth and young adult members of the Church Council plus other members to be appointed by the executive committee. The working group will prepare a report with ideas, concerns, recommendations and aspirations to be presented at the spring 2022 Church Council meeting. </p><p>In other key action, the council&#58;</p><ul><li>Approved revisions to &quot;<a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Declaration_Of_The_ELCA_To_The_Jewish_Community.pdf?_ga=2.87009560.1802121804.1637071207-303085517.1632357388">A Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to the Jewish Community</a>&quot; as an expression of this church's continual opposition to rising anti-Semitism and its ongoing work to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery.</li><li>Adopted editorial revisions to this church's social message &quot;<a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Suicide_PreventionSM.pdf?_ga=2.84175129.1802121804.1637071207-303085517.1632357388">Suicide Prevention</a>&quot; to provide accuracy and relevance to the contemporary social context. The council also encouraged conversation within ELCA congregations and invited discussions with ecumenical and interreligious partners to study this social message.</li><li>Received a report of activities called for by its implementing resolution for the social statement <a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Faith_Sexism_Justice_Social_Statement_Adopted.pdf?_ga=2.251439238.1802121804.1637071207-303085517.1632357388"><em>Faith, Sexism, and Justice&#58; A Call to Action</em></a>.</li><li>Authorized development of a social message on climate change.</li><li>Approved revised spending authorizations for FY2022 for the churchwide organization of $65,816,150 and a 2022 ELCA World Hunger spending authorization of $22,665,000.</li><li>Received an update on research work related to discriminatory treatment within the call process and the inequitable compensation of rostered ministers of color, and requested a final report at the fall 2022 Church Council meeting.</li><li>Approved a revision to &quot;Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline&quot; to incorporate a definition of the word &quot;promiscuity&quot; as proposed by the Committee on Appeals.</li><li>Suspended consideration of an aspirational document to replace &quot;Vision and Expectations&quot; until the need arises to develop such a document.</li><li>Adopted amendments to continuing resolutions in the Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions (CBCR) of the ELCA.</li><li>Recommended amendments to the CBCR to be considered by the 2022 Churchwide Assembly and recommended ratification of amendments adopted by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly.</li><li>Approved a COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirement for all participants at the 2022 Churchwide Assembly.</li><li>In response to a resolution from the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod, adopted continuing resolution 5.01.H21 to clarify that, for purposes of the representational principles, the percentage of laypeople not allocated to women or men may be allocated to persons who identify as gender-nonbinary, gender-fluid, women, men or other genders.</li><li>Received a final report of the Mission Support experiment and recommended that changes to congregational vitality grants and the funding/employment model for the position of director for evangelical mission include a review of possible implications for future models of Mission Support sharing between synods and the churchwide expression; encouraged the Mission Support experiment synods to continue their models of sharing with the churchwide expression until such decisions are made; and reminded all synods that changes to their models of Mission Support sharing are to be the subject of conversation with the churchwide expression. </li><li>Approved amendments to various Corporate Social Responsibility documents.</li><li>Elected board members for seminaries, separately incorporated ministries and social ministry organizations and approved bylaw changes to the Mission Investment Fund.</li></ul><p>The council also&#58; </p><ul><li>Heard reports from the church's presiding bishop, interim vice president, secretary, treasurer and council committees.</li><li>Learned from council member Loni Taylor, a member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe, of the history of abusive treatment and cultural genocide that Native American children experienced in Indian Boarding Schools and the role of Christian churches in those schools.</li><li>Acted as the corporation for St. Olaf College, approving amendments to the college's bylaws.</li><li>Spent time in worship, prayer and fellowship.</li></ul><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> <br></p><p><br></p></div>11/18/2021Churches Beyond Borders releases devotional inspired by United Nations anti-violence effortshttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8123https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8123<div class="ExternalClass91082C55B2FE429DA261942450D274C0"><p>CHICAGO (Nov. 9, 2021) – Working alongside the United Nations' &quot;<a href="https&#58;//www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/take-action/16-days-of-activism">16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence</a>&quot; campaign, the four member churches of Churches Beyond Borders have compiled a 16-day devotional focusing on the campaign's theme opposing intersectional violence against women.<br></p><p>The devotional — an annual tradition for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), <a href="https&#58;//www.episcopalchurch.org/">The Episcopal Church</a>, the <a href="https&#58;//www.anglican.ca/">Anglican Church of Canada</a> and the <a href="https&#58;//elcic.ca/">Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada</a> — dives into each of the 16 days in the U.N. campaign, which begins with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Nov. 25 and ends on Human Rights Day, Dec. 10. This year, Mary's Magnificat — found in Luke 1&#58;46-55 — was selected as the guiding text for the booklet in recognition of the campaign's alignment with Advent.&#160;</p><p>For the first time, the annual contributions include devotions written by laity and clergy in addition to ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and the other heads of communion. New writers were selected for their work related to anti-violence, missing or murdered Indigenous women, trafficking, women at the borders, and domestic violence.</p><p>Joining Eaton as authors from the ELCA are the Rev. Joann Conroy, president of the ELCA's American Indian and Alaska Native Lutheran Association; Denise Rector, womanist theological student at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago; and the Rev. John Lund, director of Emmaus Campus Ministry at the University of Montana in Missoula.</p><p>Readers of &quot;Churches Beyond Borders Joint Devotions 2021&quot; are encouraged to utilize the writings throughout the year. The devotional can be found <a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/church-beyond-borders-joint-devotions-2021.pdf?_ga=2.269178929.1313650226.1636476675-1053086710.1617651782">here</a>.</p><p>&#160;<br>- - -</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> Jocelyn Fuller<br> Sr. Director, Strategic Communications<br> 773-380-2547<br> <a href="mailto&#58;Jocelyn.fuller@elca.org">Jocelyn.fuller@elca.org</a>&#160;<br></p><p><br></p></div>11/09/2021