In her April column for Living Lutheran, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reminds us that “we—all created things—are family.” As Earth Day nears on April 22, we should be “especially mindful of the gift of creation and our place in it.” Read her column in English at https://bit.ly/2Un8jdj and in Spanish at https://bit.ly/2FNJYW5.Read More
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton has released a pastoral message addressing the mass shootings that occurred Friday at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
“Together with our ecumenical and inter-religious partners, we stand shoulder to shoulder in condemning hatred, bigotry, racism and violence whenever and wherever it occurs. We do so because all people are made in the image of God,” the statement read in part. Read the full message here.Read More
In her March column for Living Lutheran, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reflects on prayer. She reminds us that prayer is not about the technique—the how or why we pray. Prayer is an invitation to divine love. Prayer is about relationship with God. Prayer is God seeking us. Read her column in English at https://bit.ly/2TdwTh7 and in Spanish at https://bit.ly/2TcUiPG.Read More
In this episode of the Three Sides podcast we hear from three women from within the ELCA who hold leadership positions in three different fields – religion, business and the nonprofit world.
In the three segments of Three Sides, we’ll introduce you to ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton; Dr. Sylvia Sloan Black, a retired professor and now an executive coach; and Wendy Davidson, president of US Specialty Channels at the Kellogg Co.Read More
What is to be done? Our congregations are growing older and smaller. At least 40 percent of our congregations have an average weekly worship attendance of 50 or less. ELCA membership decreases by 70,000 people a year, or roughly the loss of a synod per year. Clergy retirements outnumber new candidates for ministry. Financial pressures and building maintenance create stress. There is a dearth of people in their 20s and 30s in our pews. How do we change this? How do we reverse the trends?
These are anxious questions that come from anxious people across this church. We aren’t the only ones asking them—just about every mainline denomination, including the non-Latino population of the Roman Catholic Church, is in the same boat. Even some megachurches are showing signs of plateau or decline. And this is not exclusive to the Christian community. I once attended a national conference of Muslims where one workshop was titled “Un-Mosqued to Mosqued: How to Get the Young Muslim Back to the Masjid.”
Some now see the decline of the church in general, and the ELCA in particular, as inevitable. The response can be to turn our churches into bunkers with our congregations sheltering within the walls or to try every new program that breathlessly promises to attract people to our congregations. Neither is an effective or faithful long-term strategy.
I think we are asking the wrong questions.
The questions we are asking have to do about us: “What can we do?” They express loss and grief and fear—loss and grief for what we were and fear about what we will become. Not only do these questions not lead to productive answers, they also don’t point to hope. It’s as if the church’s one foundation rests on us and our efforts.
I think we need to ask: “What is God up to?”Read More