ELCA Newshttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/ELCA Church Council welcomes new vice president and 18 new membershttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8176https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8176<div class="ExternalClassA81C5552F33848559BA2BE9B98675BA3"><p>​CHICAGO&#160;— The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) met at the Lutheran Center in Chicago, Nov. 10–Nov. 13. The council welcomed ELCA Vice President Imran Siddiqui and 18 new members, elected by the 2022 Churchwide Assembly. The council serves as the ELCA churchwide organization's board of directors and interim legislative authority between meetings of the Churchwide Assembly.</p><p>In her report to the council, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton drew attention to the substantial work charged to the council by the 2022 Churchwide Assembly. Eaton said the work will &quot;have a significant effect on this church as we listen to God's call and try as best as we can and as faithfully as we can to remain true to the gospel, but somehow find a way to speak and act in the cultural vernacular.&quot; Eaton said one of Martin Luther's gifts was his translation of the Bible into German so that people could receive it in their own language. She emphasized to the council how the work set before them could impact those who are presently not in church but may come in five or ten years.</p><p>In key action, the council approved a nomination process for the Commission on a Renewed Lutheran Church. The commission will consist of up to 35 voting members, to include at least 25% people of color or whose primary language is other than English and a goal of at least 20% youth or young adults. Nominations will be received from synod councils or synod executive committees as well as through an open nomination process. The Church Council's executive committee will present a slate of nominees at the council's April 2023 meeting. This action is in response to the 2022 Churchwide Assembly call for the council to establish the Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church to consider statements of purpose for the church and its organizational structure and to present its findings and recommendations to the 2025 Churchwide Assembly in preparation for a possible reconstituting convention. The council also referred to the commission the question of changing the denomination's name. </p><p>In other action, the council&#58;</p><ul style="list-style-type&#58;disc;"><li>Authorized the engagement of a firm to conduct a comprehensive audit for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility of the Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the ELCA (CBCR), the Roster Manual, the Church Council Governance Policy Manual and &quot;Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline.&quot; A report will be presented at the fall 2023 Church Council meeting.</li><li>Scheduled for 2024 the initiation of a task force for reconsideration of the social statement <a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Human-Sexuality"><em>Human Sexuality&#58; Gift and Trust</em></a>.</li><li>Amended the Churchwide Organization Personnel Policies to include a provision concerning nondisclosure agreements as requested by the 2022 Churchwide Assembly memorial on separation agreements.</li><li>Revised the 2023 fiscal year current spending authorization from $68,814,000 to $68,429,562 and revised the 2023 World Hunger spending authorization from $22,869,000 to $25,250,000.</li><li>Deferred questions on the development of social messages on U.S. national gun policy and child abuse and protection and the revision of the social message &quot;<a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Messages/Homelessness">Homelessness</a>&quot; until the spring 2023 Church Council meeting.</li><li>Adopted a continuing resolution establishing council advisory members to include the presidents — or designee — of the ELCA ethnic associations and a representative of Reconciling Works. The council also approved revisions to the ELCA Church Council Governance Policy Manual to include reference to advisory members.</li><li>Repealed the 2003 Policy on Criteria for Synodically Authorized Worshiping Communities and directed consideration of a new policy.</li><li>Encouraged the task force addressing disciplinary concerns of leaders of color to continue conversation regarding the position of a racial justice ombudsperson.</li><li>Received a report on research work related to discriminatory treatment within the call process and inequitable compensation of rostered ministers of color, and called for interaction with and among the Christian Community and Leadership home area, the Leadership Committee of the Conference of Bishops, and the Candidacy and Leadership Development Working Group.</li><li>Closed the special appeal for the COVID-19 Response Fund, which raised $2,112,429.</li><li>Approved amendments to three corporate social responsibility issue papers and a new Privatized Immigration Detention Social Criteria Investment Screen.</li><li>Received a progress report regarding the Unaltered Augsburg Confession and urged actions to increase awareness of the confession in advance of the 500th anniversary in 2030.</li><li>Elected members of the advisory board of Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University and boards of directors of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Wartburg Theological Seminary, the Mission Investment Fund, and National Lutheran Campus Ministry, and elected a member of the Committee of Hearing Officers.</li><li>Approved amendments to the bylaws of Portico, Lenoir-Rhyne University and United Lutheran Seminary.<br></li></ul><p>The Church Council received/engaged in the following&#58;</p><ul style="list-style-type&#58;disc;"><li>Reports from the church's secretary, treasurer and vice president, from the ELCA Conference of Bishops, from the Church Council Youth and Young Adult working group and from the churchwide office home areas.</li><li>Progress reports on synod diversity goals and from the Candidacy and Leadership Development working group. &#160;</li><li>Debrief of the 2022 Churchwide Assembly.</li><li>Education on gender and racial justice.</li><li>Greetings from ecumenical partners. </li></ul><p>&#160;<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> <br></p><p><br></p></div>11/16/2022ELCA Conference of Bishops addresses leadership during fall meetinghttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8175https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8175<div class="ExternalClassD48DD168B9F349E385F78E7F8EC670DC"><p>​ITASCA&#160;— The Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) met Sept. 29–Oct. 1 at the Eaglewood Resort in Itasca, Ill. The conference, an advisory body of the ELCA, comprises 65 synod bishops, the presiding bishop and the secretary.</p><p>The gathering was grounded in worship and prayer as the bishops met to build on mutual relationships within the conference and address leadership in the ELCA. The conference also celebrated Holy Communion with the ELCA Fund for Leaders scholarship recipients, in attendance for the annual FFL banquet. </p><p>&quot;We come together as the Conference of Bishops to give and receive encouragement as we serve in our respective synods,&quot; said the Rev. Tracie Bartholomew, bishop of the ELCA New Jersey Synod and conference chair. &quot;We are at our best when we work collegially and celebrate all that God is doing throughout this church.&quot;</p><p>In key business, the conference&#58;</p><ul><li>Adopted the revised ELCA Conference of Bishops relational agreement, which outlines the collegial nature of the conference. The agreement will be reviewed annually. </li><li>Adopted a revision to the rostered minister profile disclosure questions.</li><li>Approved recommendations from the Roster Committee related to policy exceptions for rostered ministers on leave from call and to the congregational three-year rule (which requires initial calls to be at least three years in a congregational setting), and approved nonstipendiary calls and ministry in unusual circumstances.</li><li>Approved a recommendation to the Church Council to remove the dagger — designating a required provision — from Section 11.04 of the Constitution for Synods, which states, &quot;The Mutual Ministry Committee shall be appointed by the Executive Committee of the Synod Council to provide support and counsel to the bishop.&quot; Removal of the dagger will make this provision optional.<br></li></ul><p>In other business, the conference&#58;</p><ul><li>Engaged in a conversation addressing racial justice work, led by Jennifer DeLeon, director for ELCA Racial Justice Ministries. </li><li>Provided feedback to the Leadership Committee on a bishop transition resource that guides actions and conversations between an outgoing bishop and a bishop-elect. </li><li>Engaged in discussion and shared experiences, led by the Congregational Vitality Committee, about congregations on either end of the vitality spectrum&#58; those that are thriving and those that are fragile and face possible closure.</li><li>Engaged in small-group conversations to review the 2022 Churchwide Assembly, including the Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church called for in the memorial &quot;Restructure the Governance of the ELCA.&quot;</li><li>Received an update on the candidacy leadership working group and held small-group discussions about candidacy with seminary leaders. Established during the conference's spring 2022 meeting, the working group comprises 12 diverse leaders from across the ELCA who will explore ways to adapt the church's candidacy process to serve the church's current and future needs.</li><li>Received recommendations from the Roster Committee related to the memorials on specialized ministry and on-leave-from-call status<em>,</em> which were approved by the 2022 Churchwide Assembly. </li><li>Received an update on ELCA chaplains from the Rev. Christopher Otten, director for ELCA Federal Chaplaincies. </li><li>Received a report from the ELCA presiding bishop, written reports from the ELCA secretary and treasurer, and updates from the conference's various committees.</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 3 million members in more than 8,700 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>10/06/2022New Resources to Support our Ministries in a Multi-Religious Worldhttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8174https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8174<div class="ExternalClass1B1C627269AD4599BA5DFEEEBA644F61"><p>​Dear church,&#160;</p><p>In baptism we are called &quot;to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, to serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.&quot; Daily we live out our baptismal vocation among people of different religions and worldviews – our family and friends, our co-workers and neighbors.</p><p>As church, we have <a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Inter-Religious_Policy_Statement.pdf">declared</a> that &quot;it is our duty and joy to extend God's love, grace, mercy, and justice to all those who are made in the image of God and to the whole of creation.&quot; To this end, I commend two new guides to you&#58;</p><p>&quot;<a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Guidelines_for_Ministry_in_Multi_Religious_World.pdf">ELCA Guidelines for Ministry in a Multi-Religious World</a>&quot;&#160;provides general guidance for occasions when Christians and people of other religions come together. Included are recommendations for prayer services, crisis and tragedy response, social ministries, pastoral care, weddings and funerals.&#160;&#160;<br><a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Preaching_And_Teaching_With_Love_And_Respect_For_The_Jewish_People.pdf">&quot;Preaching and Teaching with Love and Respect for the Jewish People&quot;</a> explores challenging topics, lectionary selections, and Bible passages to inform Christian preaching and teaching so that they respect the integrity of the Jewish tradition and avoid anti-Jewish interpretations of New Testament texts.</p><p>These and other <a href="https&#58;//elca.org/Resources/Ecumenical-and-Inter-Religious-Relations#InterReligious">inter-religious resources</a> seek to guide the whole church in upholding the commitments we have made to love and serve all people and to strive together for justice and peace for the whole of creation.* As we abide in God's baptismal promises, I pray that we will experience profound joy in the sharing and receiving of God's good gifts.&#160;</p><p>In Christ,</p><p>The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton&#160;<br>Presiding Bishop<br> Evangelical Lutheran Church in America &#160;&#160;&#160;</p><p><em>* These new resources build upon our three ELCA inter-religious social policy documents&#58; &quot;</em><a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Inter-Religious_Policy_Statement.pdf"><em>A Declaration of Inter-Religious Commitment&#58; A Policy Statement of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America</em></a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><em>&quot;</em></span><em> (2019), &quot;</em><a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Declaration_Of_The_ELCA_To_The_Jewish_Community.pdf"><em>A Declaration of the ELCA to the Jewish Community</em></a><em>&quot; (1994)&#160; and &quot;</em><a href="https&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/A_Declaration_of_the_ELCA_to_the_Muslim_Community.pdf"><em>A Declaration of the ELCA to the Muslim Community</em></a><em>&quot; (2022).&#160;</em>&#160;</p><p>&#160;---<br></p><p><strong></strong></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&#160;3 million members&#160;in more than 8,700 worshipping communities&#160;across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. 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> Public Relations Manager<br> 773-380-2877<br> <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.Buchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.Buchbinder@ELCA.org</a>.<br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p></div>09/28/2022ELCA congregations observe “God’s work. Our hands.” Sundayhttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8173https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8173<div class="ExternalClassFD3D1BC6AAA04A6B83F483D8E6431FAF"><p>​CHICAGO&#160;— On Sunday Sept. 11, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will observe &quot;God's work. Our hands.&quot; Sunday. Across the country, thousands of ELCA members will engage in the church's dedicated day of service to help make a positive change in their communities, build and deepen relationships, and share God's love.</p><p>Since the ELCA was formed 35 years ago, the church has been deeply rooted in faith and in sharing its passion for making positive changes in the world. On &quot;God's work. Our hands.&quot; Sunday, ELCA congregations will participate in God's work in the world — restoring and reconciling communities and pursuing peace and justice. The day of service builds on the congregations' ongoing work in their communities.</p><p>Service activities include assembling items for homeless shelters, collecting for local food pantries, cleaning neighborhood parks and writing thank-you notes to first responders.</p><p>Service offers this church an opportunity to explore one of the most basic Lutheran convictions&#58; that all of life in Jesus Christ – every act of service, in every daily calling, in every corner of life – flows freely from a living, daring confidence in God's grace. </p><p>More information about &quot;God's work. Our hands. Sunday is available at<strong> </strong><a href="https&#58;//elca.org/dayofservice"><strong>elca.org/dayofservice</strong></a><strong>.</strong></p><p><br>- - -</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> <br></p><p><br></p></div>09/09/20222022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly summary of actionshttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8172https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8172<div class="ExternalClass30169DCB02F747D0AA5FD1A4931CFE37"><p>​Chicago&#160;—The 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly met Aug. 8-12 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. Gathering under the theme &quot;Embody the Word,&quot; the assembly worshiped together in services of eucharist and lament, experienced a liturgy rooted in Indigenous traditions, and heard a public apology in a nonlegislative session to Iglesia Luterana Santa María Peregrina for harm experienced from actions taken by the Sierra Pacific Synod and this church.</p><p>The following key actions were taken by the assembly&#58; </p><p>• Elected Imran Siddiqui of the Southeastern Synod as vice president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). <br>• Directed the ELCA Church Council to establish a Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church to reconsider the statements of purpose for each expression of this church, the principles of organizational structure and our shared commitment to dismantle racism, with findings to be reported to the 2025 Churchwide Assembly in preparation for a possible reconstituting convention. Directed an external audit of the governing documents of the ELCA to consider diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, with findings resulting in recommended changes to the governing documents. <br>• Authorized revisions to the social statement <em>Human Sexuality&#58; Gift and Trust;</em> approved exploration of reconsideration of the four stated positions of &quot;bound conscience.&quot; <br>• Encouraged members, congregations and synods of this church to educate themselves about Indigenous peoples, calling on the churchwide organization to work with synods and Indigenous partners to identify sources of funding for ministries for Indigenous peoples, and encouraging restorative justice that could include the return of land to the appropriate Native nations. <br>• Referred a proposed study of pay gaps for rostered ministers to the Church Council. <br>• Mandated a review process of the roster manual and policies related to specialized ministries, on leave from call status, and protocols for removal from the rosters; encouraged bishops and synod councils to use sparingly the process of removal from the roster for nondisciplinary reasons. <br>• Approved the budget proposal for the triennium, including a spending authorization of $68,814,000 for 2023 for the current fund, along with a spending authorization of $22,869,000 for ELCA World Hunger. <br>• Affirmed limits on the use of nondisclosure agreements by the churchwide organization; urged synods, congregations and other ministries to apply the same limits. <br>• Reaffirmed the commitment of this church to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, directing the churchwide organization to set a goal of a 50% reduction of net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030, with a long-range goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. <br>• Called for a review of the nomination and elections processes used by synods and the churchwide organization. <br>• Responded to memorials on diversity; nuclear weapons; voting rights and Washington, D.C., statehood; strategies for fortifying urban ministries; a Black migrant strategy; the right to boycott; gun violence; LGBTQIA+ welcome; substance abuse; Roe v. Wade; remembrance of Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocide; parental and medical family leave; a process for pre-identification of nominees for the Office of the Presiding Bishop; revisions to the mission development process; consideration of communion practices related to remote worship; affirmation of the task force created by the Church Council to review the discipline process; and a social message on child abuse and protection. <br>• Approved or ratified amendments to the Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the ELCA, most of which were related to general clarifications and updates; inclusive language; synod-authorized ministry; designation of advisory members by the Church Council; boards of the separately incorporated ministries; and election procedures for officers and the Churchwide Assembly. <br>• Elected members of the Church Council, Committee on Appeals, Committee on Discipline, Nominating Committee and boards of the separately incorporated ministries.</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 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 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>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> Public Relations Manager<br> 773-380-2877<br> <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.Buchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.Buchbinder@ELCA.org</a>.<br></p><p><br></p></div>08/19/2022ELCA Fund for Leaders awards TEEM scholarshipshttps://elca.org/News-and-Events/8171https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8171<div class="ExternalClass3CCF58F16515440282E10ED60EE4FB55"><p>​Chicago&#160;— Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Fund for Leaders will award 375 scholarships to students attending the seven seminaries of the ELCA for the 2022-2023 academic year.</p><p>This year the ELCA Fund for Leaders will distribute around $3.5 million through several types of scholarships, including direct full-time scholarships, federal chaplaincy ministries scholarships, mission developer scholarships, and synod or congregation scholarships. </p><p>A new category this year will award $400,000 through 80 scholarships for Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) candidates who are identified by their synods. TEEM is a certificate program, not a full-time degree, and the candidates go through the same candidacy process as other rostered ministers. TEEM candidates usually end up serving the congregations that nurtured their call.</p><p>&quot;TEEM is doing theology in a fine balance of action and reflection, study and ministry at the same time,&quot; said the Rev. Dr. Moses Paul Peter Penumaka, director of TEEM at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, Calif. &quot;TEEM is not only transforming the face of the ELCA but the heart and mind of&#160;the Lutheran church. When TEEM candidates go to seminary, the whole congregation goes to seminary. TEEM is a practical way of making congregations vital, vibrant and viable.&quot;</p><p>Marissa Krey, director of ELCA Fund for Leaders, emphasized the need for scholarships across all categories of rostered ministry. &quot;We think it's vitally important to provide support to all leaders answering God's call to serve in a variety of ways,&quot; she said. </p><p><a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Leadership/ELCA-Fund-for-Leaders/FAQs">Learn</a> more about ELCA Fund for Leaders scholarships.<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 more than 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 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>For information contact&#58;<br> Candice Hill Buchbinder<br> Public Relations Manager<br> 773-380-2877<br> <a href="mailto&#58;Candice.Buchbinder@ELCA.org">Candice.Buchbinder@ELCA.org</a>.<br></p><p><br></p></div>08/18/2022