Posts in ELCA
Bishop Hutterer reflects on LWF retreat for newly elected leaders

Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton invited me and two other U.S. bishops (Bishop Susan Briner and Bishop Patricia Davenport) to participate in an annual retreat held early September for newly elected leaders by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

In addition to the three ELCA bishops, there were bishops and pastor presidents from Zambia, Ghana, South Korea, Thailand, northern India, Bolivia, the River Table (Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay) and Peru.

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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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9/13 Prayer: ELCA World Hunger

Approximately 1 in 10 people around the world can’t access the food he or she needs to live an active, healthy life; more than 40 million people in the United States are unsure where their next meal will come from; and 10% of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 per day. Remember in prayer those who suffer with poverty and hunger, and give thanks for the work of ELCA World Hunger, our congregations and other partners as they respond to communities in need, striving for sustainable solutions that get at the root causes of hunger and poverty.

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A Just World Where All Are Fed – and Safe

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 brought into striking relief for Americans and neighbors the world over the vulnerability under which we live – and the threat posed by those who would exploit that vulnerability. In the days after, it became clear that the US and its allies would soon be at war, though few knew just how long the conflicts following 9/11 would last.

Against this background, the member nations of the UN laid out the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a framework for encouraging development toward peace and prosperity for people and the planet.

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Hurricane Dorian update from Lutheran Disaster Response

Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas with devastating force. The storm left more than 70,000 people homeless and nearly 50 people reported dead. The number is expected to grow. Pastor Cliff Lewis reported that Our Saviours Lutheran Church members were mostly unharmed, though the loss of family members was reported.

Lutheran Disaster Response, in partnership with the Florida-Bahamas Synod, North Carolina Synod, Lutheran Services Carolinas and other partners, is responding to this disaster. In the Bahamas, Lutheran Disaster Response has committed an initial $15,000 for water, food and non-food items. Staff will travel to do further assessment of needs on the Islands.

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We Are Church, We are Called: 50, 40, 10

In 2019 and 2020 we celebrate 50 years of Lutheran women being ordained in the United States, 40 years of women of color being ordained, and 10 years of LGBTQIA+ individuals being able to serve freely.

We lament that women have been barred from serving and have been bullied, dismissed and excluded. We also celebrate the gifts and service that women have brought to our church and our world as pastors.

Congregations are encouraged to hold commemorative events throughout the year! Resources are available to help congregations observe these anniversaries.

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Announcing new grants for Accessibility Reinvestment Grants

ELCA Disability Ministries introduces a new grant opportunity for ELCA congregations in diverse and divested communities for an Accessibility Reinvestment Grant. Applications will be accepted through Oct. 15, 2019, at https://elca.fluxx.io for up to $25,000 for small-scale property and large-impact programmatic plans. Questions can be directed to Disability.Ministry@elca.org.

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Hurricane Dorian Situation Report from the Florida-Bahamas Synod

From the Office of Bishop Pedro M. Suarez in the Florida-Bahamas Synod, we receive this update (also available as PDF) on local churches, and a request for prayer and donations.

Hurricane Dorian has caused widespread destruction and flooding throughout the Bahamas and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We have received an initial report from Pr. Cliff Lewis of Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Freeport that his family is okay, but that information is still being gathered about extensive flooding and building destruction. While we wait for further details, we continue to surround all affected in prayer.

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Faith, Sexism, and Justice Social Statement

The 2019 Churchwide Assembly adopted a social statement focused on sexism and gender justice which reads in part: "We believe all people are created equally in the image of God. Every individual is dependent upon God, and all share in the God-given vocation to contribute their gifts to help all of creation flourish."

Why is the ELCA studying the topic of sexism and gender justice?

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Lutheran Disaster Relief is committed to long-term hurricane recovery

As Hurricane Dorian moves on from the Bahamas, consider donating to Lutheran Disaster Relief (LDR). Learn how LDR has maintained a presence since the last hurricanes by reading 2017 Hurricanes: Two Years Later.

Except: “‘I was hoping to get help from FEMA. I wasn’t expecting the Lutherans,’ says Dennis, a 72-year-old retired Marine living in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. He told Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands about the damage to his home, and soon after they came for a visit.”

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Faith Lens: It Goeth Before a Fall

Faith Lens is a weekly Bible study that engage youth and young adults in connecting world events with the Bible, faith, and everyday life.

It was a warm night in Springfield, Illinois on August 16th when the rapper Twista took the stage, spitting bars in his traditionally rapid-fire style. On the side of the stage stood a sign language interpreter. Her hair was buzzed short on the sides, a fiery red on top. She was bobbing up and down with the beat and, to everyone’s amazement, keeping up with Twista’s rapid rhymes.

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The Importance of Service

Kyle Lefler, a year round program coordinator at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp in NW Montana, shares this story of service.

Jesus walked. Miles & miles across the hills and valleys of the Holy Land. He and his disciples traveled great distances with little comforts to be with, among and beside the people.

While we need not always travel great distances to be of service to others, we are called to be out among our neighbors.

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Situation Report: Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian has caused widespread power outages and flooding throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands. Dorian is expected to strengthen into a category 4 storm by the time it makes landfall in the mainland U.S., threatening to cause significant damage in areas that are still recovering from recent storms.

Lutheran Disaster Response is closely monitoring the situation and in touch with our synods, affiliates and other partners throughout impacted areas. We are ready to respond and stand by our neighbors as they recover from this hurricane.

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