Posts in Bishop Eaton
ELCA Conference of Bishops welcomes greater diversity

The Conference of Bishops of the ELCA met in Chicago Sept. 26–Sept. 30 under a theme from 2 Corinthians: "We have this treasure in clay jars." The conference, an advisory body of the ELCA, comprises 65 synod bishops, the presiding bishop and the secretary.

"Thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of God's people, the Conference of Bishops is now more diverse in more ways than it has ever been," said the Rev. William O. Gafkjen, bishop of the ELCA Indiana-Kentucky Synod and chair of the conference.

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Hurricane Dorian updates from Bishop Eaton and Lutheran Disaster Response

Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas with devastating force, lingering over the islands for over 24 hours. One month later, over 50 people have been reported dead with hundreds still missing and thousands left homeless in the Bahamas. Crippled infrastructure, closed businesses, and a tainted water supply are exacerbating. In North Carolina, many homes have been damaged and assessments are ongoing.

In this post, Bishop Elizabeth Eaton shares an overview of the last two years of hurricane relief, and Lutheran Disaster Response provides a situation update on Hurricane Dorian.

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Bishop Eaton: We are to Be Bold

In her September/October column for Living Lutheran, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reflects on the 2019 Churchwide Assembly, saying the actions taken were based on “our scriptural and confessional understanding of who God chooses us to be.” In Milwaukee, she says, “we stepped out in faith.” Read her column in English at and in Spanish at

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Bishop Eaton issues pastoral message on racism and white supremacy

Centered in Christ, the 2019 Churchwide Assembly was significant in many ways: worship, thoughtful deliberation and prayer led to the adoption of memorials and resolutions that will shape this church for years to come. Among these decisions, this church was called to address the deadly power of racism and white supremacy. Martin Luther's clear exposition of the gospel — that God justifies, that we are redeemed by the death and resurrection of Jesus, and that grace is a gift — not only makes it possible to engage in this work but gives us a framework in which to do it.

The doctrine of justification is a great leveler. It acknowledges that no one group of people can claim supremacy over others. We are all deeply in need of grace, and God gives this gift to all. Standing equally under the judgement and promise of the gospel, we, as a church, can recognize the overt and covert ways that a culture of white supremacy denies full humanity to all people, and we can work to dismantle it. 

  • We offered a public apology titled "Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent."

  • We adopted a resolution condemning white supremacy.

  • We adopted a resolution to establish June 17 as "Emanuel 9 Day of Repentance," commemorating the martyrdom of Clementa C. Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham-Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel L. Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson by a violent white supremacist, Dylann Roof, who grew up in the ELCA.

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ELCA presiding bishop, Christian leaders issue statement against Christian nationalism

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has joined Christian leaders in a statement against Christian nationalism.

An excerpt: "Whether we worship at a church, mosque, synagogue, or temple, America has no second-class faiths," their statement reads. "All are equal under the U.S. Constitution." Read and sign the statement at

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ELCA as a sanctuary church: What does this mean?

In this statement, Presiding Bishop Eaton provides clarifications and helpful talking points:

Dear siblings in Christ, as many of you know, last week the ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted a resolution that, among other things, declared the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) a sanctuary denomination. Many of you are asking, “What does this mean?”

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Together in Welcome: A letter encouraging accompanying refugees and migrants

A letter from Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the ELCA and Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President & CEO of LIRS. Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The gospels recount the story of Jesus as a migrant, in need of welcome and reception. And Jesus identifies with every wanderer, every displaced person, every refugee, asylum seeker and migrant, when he tells the crowd, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35). Since 1939, LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service) has led the Lutheran movement to welcome vulnerable migrants and refugees in America. Meanwhile, as part of the AMMPARO strategy, the ELCA has committed to offering accompaniment to migrants in their communities. 

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A Call to Discipleship

In this season of Pentecost, as we open ourselves anew to the work of the Holy Spirit, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), commends to this church the Arusha Call to Discipleship from the World Council of Churches.

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ELCA presiding bishop, faith leaders issue statement on children in detention

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has convened ELCA ecumenical and inter-religious partners in a statement addressing concerns over the well-being of children who cross the U.S. border seeking safety from danger and threats in their home countries.

“Children coming to our nation for safety and protection are dying at our southern border while in U.S. detention. As U.S. religious leaders representing diverse faith perspectives, we are united in our concern for the well-being of vulnerable migrants who cross our borders fleeing from danger and threats to their lives.” Read the full statement »

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ELCA presiding bishop issues letter on abortion

ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton has released a letter addressing states recently passing or considering legislation to restrict access to legal abortion. “Talking about abortion has never been easy in this country, and the same holds true in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The members of this church have divergent beliefs and opinions about whether or not abortion should be legal,” the letter read in part.

“I commend you to study and discuss the ELCA social statement ‘Abortion.’ Through this social teaching and policy statement, this church seeks to travel a moderating path by supporting abortion as a last resort.”

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Bishop Eaton's June column: Gathering, word, meal, sending. 

In her June column for Living Lutheran, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reflects on why we worship: “[Liturgy is] a discipline Lutherans willingly undertake because it helps individuals and the entire community express our connection with other Christians throughout the world and across the ages.” 

Read her column in English at  and in Spanish at, or view in PDF format or as a Word document.

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Bishop Eaton addresses well-being of children in detention centers

Children coming to our nation for safety and protection are still dying at our southern border while in U.S. detention.

I am deeply dismayed by the deaths of these children, made in the image of God, who came to our southern border as refugees and asylum seekers to ask us for protection. As a nation we denied them that safety, instead placing them in detention facilities, sometimes for months. 

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Bishop Eaton's May column: Questions in life

In her May column for Living Lutheran, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth takes time to reflect on one of “The Questions”—what is a life worth living? She reflects on the cruciform life, which delivers us from our constant striving to make our lives have meaning through our own efforts.

Read her column in English at and in Spanish at, or download the column in PDF or as a Word doc.

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