Posts in Letter
Bishop Hutterer: Just Visiting

While working at Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, I once met a refugee woman named Anastasia. When I asked her what she appreciated most about her new life in the United States, she told me it was the food in her cupboard, the water coming from her sink, and the fact that her children could go to school. She felt safe. 

It really reminds you of the things in life that can be so easily missed. 

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It Was a Good Day: A letter from a volunteer

Dear Friends, 

A Homeland Security bus pulled up and out walked 30 people, most from Guatemala and a few from Honduras. Volunteers met them outside and welcomed them. As you can imagine, they were quiet but some offered big smiles. Once all were assembled, an orientation was given. Shortly after orientation, phone calls were made to sponsors so travel arrangements could be made for the last leg of their journey.

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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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Bishop Hutterer: A New Song

From the front of the room at the 32nd Grand Canyon Synod Assembly this past weekend, I had an overwhelming sense of Holy Spirit’s presence. Friends greeting one another by name. New faces sparking conversation. Volunteers and staff serving with pride. While we spoke of singing a new song, I was also listening for new songs.

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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 https://bit.ly/2EQEIAa  and in Spanish at https://bit.ly/2KlL6CW, or view in PDF format or as a Word document.

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Bishop Hutterer: Family Gathering

Once a year, in Minnesota, my family gathers together for an annual camping outing. While every family is unique and might have different traditions, family reunions are a way to make new memories together and remember what is most important in life.

Synod Assembly is the one time of year that our synod family gets together. Where we can dwell on what this work is really about.

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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 https://bit.ly/2LhJQTp and in Spanish at https://bit.ly/2LmmdcJ, or download the column in PDF or as a Word doc.

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Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

I am flooded with joy thinking of the special traditions and celebrations that have just taken place across the Synod this past Holy Week. Thank you for proclaiming the new life and hope of life in Jesus into the hearts and spirits of so many. 

I am also reminded that the very first Easter was something much different. As they went to the tomb, the followers of Jesus might have felt that they were abandoned by God and that death had the last word.

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Bishop Hutterer: Border Reflections, part 2

At La Roca, the shelter I visited last week, children, women and men went to the border and stood in line. Once they received a number they could stay at La Roca while they waited for their number to be called. Cruzando Fronteras (a Lutheran-Episcopal ministry) supports this shelter.

Refugees who have been processed in the U.S. and await their court date are released. In Phoenix last week about 200 were released each day. With ICE lacking the capacity for growing asylee numbers, families have been released to churches in Phoenix for temporary and transitional shelter until they are capable of traveling to their final destination. Currently, there are not enough churches to accommodate the increasing numbers of asylum-seekers, and these families are being released on the street and at bus stations, with no means to continue their journey. Many would label this a humanitarian crisis, and as God’s people we can step in make a difference.

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Bishop's Letter regarding Trustworthy Servants of the People of God document

Dear Church: This past weekend the ELCA Church Council met in Chicago. They decided not to consider for adoption a document entitled, “Trustworthy Servants of the People of God,” which had been recommended to them by the Conference of Bishops. Instead, they chose to refer this document back to the Domestic Mission Unit of the Churchwide office for further work and redrafting in alignment with the social teachings of the ELCA. In addition, the Church Council asked that a process be used by Domestic Mission which intentionally includes more diverse voices, especially those who perceive they were most harmed by the misuse of the current document, Vision and Expectations in the past.

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Bishop's Letter: Who is Like God?

Mitch was at the lowest point of his life. From the age of 15, he had struggled with addiction to drugs and alcohol. He was involved in crime, unable to hold a job, and had reached the point that even his loyal wife had given up hope. His cycle of recovery and relapse had continued year after year to the point that he was alone. 

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Bishop's Letter: Come With Me

One of my favorite Lenten memories is as a little girl growing up in St. Paul, Minnesota. My congregation, Arlington Hills, hosted a weekly 6:30 a.m. breakfast and bible study to nourish body and soul. On Friday mornings, I would walk to my friends homes to pick them up.   

Looking back on these memories has caused me to ponder the different ways that we invite others to come to Christ’s community.

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