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ELCA news releases are detailed accounts describing events and ministires of the ELCA 

ELCA News
  • ELCA presiding bishop issues statement on Dreamers

    Immigration is an ever-present topic at our dinner tables and in our congregations as Congress continues to discuss long-overdue protection for thousands of our community members who lack permanent legal status. Scripture calls us to welcome the sojourner. God commanded of the Israelites: "The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 19:34).

    Today, I renew my call to all of us as Christians to recognize our neighbors as made in the image of God, and to our nation's elected leaders: Enact policies that provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented young people who arrived in the U.S. as children, known as Dreamers, and do so without harming other vulnerable immigrants.  

    As Lutherans, we live out our biblical calling by serving in ministries with migrants and refugees in our communities and advocating for laws that reflect this commitment. I am troubled that policies under consideration will protect some of our community members while, at the same time, harming others. While recognizing the right of all countries to control their borders, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) social teaching affirms that "border policies should always respect the human dignity of all persons." I'm especially troubled by policy proposals that harm:  

    • Family unity: "Our advocacy will continue to insist that family reunification should be the primary objective of immigration laws" ("Message on Immigration," 1998).

    I encourage policymakers to reflect upon Martin Luther's challenge: "How do we know that the love of God dwells in us? If we take upon ourselves the need of our neighbor." I also call upon Lutherans throughout the country to lift our voices through our Advocacy network and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service to urgently call for legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers without harming others.

    "As we journey together through the time God has given us, may God give us the grace of a welcoming heart and an overflowing love for the new neighbors among us" ("Message on Immigration," 1998).

    Sincerely,
    The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton

    Presiding Bishop
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

  • ELCA presiding bishop to participate in rally to end racism

    In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), will join ecumenical and inter-religious partners for Act Now: Unite to End Racism April 3-5 in Washington, D.C. The focus of the three-day event will be a rally April 4 on the National Mall.

    The event, organized by the National Council of Churches in Christ in the USA, will bring together many ELCA members from across the country. The ELCA is a founding member of the council.

    The rally's call to action emphasizes three key points: awaken to the truth that racism is evil and hurts us all; confront racism through truth-telling and action to right the wrong; and transform the hearts, minds, and behaviors of people and institutions.

    Events begin April 3 with an ecumenical worship service at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral and will be capped off by a lobby day on Capitol Hill April 5.

    All are invited to join Bishop Eaton at the event. Learn more here.

    - - -

    About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
    The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million members in more than 9,400 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," 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.

    For information contact:

    Candice Hill Buchbinder
    773-380-2877
    Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org

  • ‘Set Free By Truth’ Lent devotions offered by four church leaders

    CHICAGO – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and leaders from The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada have prepared a series of Lent devotions titled "Set Free By Truth."

    The devotion theme addresses truth and racial justice, reflecting on the challenges facing churches in North America today.

    In her devotion for Ash Wednesday, Eaton writes, "We have been claimed in baptism, buried with Christ in a death like his, to be raised with Christ in a resurrection like his. We have already died the only death that really matters, and yet … . We do not recognize the full humanity of others. There is not justice for all. In our fear we doubt the resurrection. This Lent, let us enter into a time and space of honest and unflinching examination."

    In addition to Eaton, devotions were contributed by the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop and primate, The Episcopal Church; the Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, primate, Anglican Church of Canada; and the Rev. Susan C. Johnson, national bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

    The Lent devotions begin with Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, and continue through Easter Sunday, April 1. Each devotion includes Scripture citations, a reflection and a prayer.
     

    Download the Lent devotions.

    - - -

    About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
    The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million members in more than 9,400 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," 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.

    For information contact:
    Candice Hill Buchbinder
    773-380-2877
    Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org

  • ELCA Presiding Bishop responds to reported racist comments

    I am very disappointed and disturbed by the remarks that President Donald Trump is reported to have said yesterday – and confirmed by others who were present – in the context of a discussion about immigration. 

    Regardless of the context, references of that kind have no place in our civil discourse and, if true, reflect racist attitudes unbecoming any of us, but especially a president of the United States. 

    Instead, we should be fostering a world where each of us sees every person – regardless of race, origin, ethnicity, gender or economic status – in the image of God and, therefore, worthy of dignity and respect. Our church has relationships and partnerships with Christians and others on six continents. These are our sisters and brothers. We strive to accompany them and they us, across boundaries and cognizant of our diversity, yet all seeking the common good. In working for a healed, reconciled and just world, we all should faithfully strive to participate in God's reconciling work, which prioritizes disenfranchised, vulnerable and displaced people in our communities and the world, bearing witness – each of us – to the love of God in Jesus Christ.

     

    "We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization" —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  

     

    God's peace,

    Elizabeth A. Eaton
    ELCA Presiding Bishop

  • A Christmas message from the ELCA presiding bishop

    CHICAGO – In her Christmas message, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), reminds us that Advent is a time to be present and still, to be aware of the promise to come.

    BishopEaton Christmas 2017small.jpg

  • ELCA presiding bishop responds to decision to move U.S. Embassy in Israel

    CHICAGO  – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has issued the following statement in response to the decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

     
    December 6, 2017

    I am deeply disturbed to learn of the Trump administration's plans to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel away from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The ELCA has long held the view that a negotiated, final status agreement, including a "shared Jerusalem," must be reached without unilateral actions by any party that would prejudice the outcome of negotiations. 

    This unilateral action would not support the cause of peace and a two-state solution, but rather would unnecessarily create further tensions and possible violence that would make efforts to bring them back together for talks much more difficult. As my brother in Christ and colleague, Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, has often said, the security of Israelis depends on the freedom of Palestinians and the freedom of Palestinians depends on the security of Israelis. This proposed action would make both more insecure.

    To proceed with this plan will only further isolate our nation from the global movement for a just peace for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike in the region and our church's policy that seeks an end to the occupation, an end to terrorism and violence, and, ultimately, the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state. Since the announcement is one of intentions, I call upon the president to rescind this plan and instead continue to focus on our nation's ability to contribute constructively toward a peaceful settlement of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Along with other interreligious partners, I continue to stand ready to discuss with the president ways to reach a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Sincerely,

    The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
    Presiding Bishop
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

    - - -
    About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
    The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million members in more than 9,200 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," 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.

    For information contact:
    Candice Hill Buchbinder
    773-380-2877
    Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org

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