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Recent News Stories

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

ELCA News
  • ELCA presiding bishop delivers Easter message

    ​CHICAGO (April 16, 2019) – In her Easter message, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), reminds us that Easter makes it possible, even at the grave, to sing alleluia.

    Listen to Eaton's message.

    190416_Bishop_Easter_news.jpg

    View the message in English. View the message in Spanish.

    - - -

    About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
    The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 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 Church Council approves measures addressing sexism, embracing authentic diversity

    CHICAGO – The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) met at the Lutheran Center in Chicago April 4-7.  The council, which serves as the ELCA's board of directors, took action on a variety of matters designed to help move the church's mission and ministries forward.

    Council members voted to recommend to the 2019 Churchwide Assembly adoption of the proposed social statement "Faith, Sexism, and Justice: A Lutheran Call to Action" and the related implementing resolutions. They expressed appreciation to the task force and churchwide staff for their six years of service in development of the social statement. The ELCA 2019 Churchwide Assembly will meet in Milwaukee Aug. 5-10.

    The council also recommended to the 2019 Churchwide Assembly the report and recommendations of the task force for strategic authentic diversity. This is in response to actions taken by the 2016 Churchwide Assembly directing the Church Council to develop a strategy to equip congregations and synods to work toward becoming a more authentically diverse church.

    The council declined to consider "Trustworthy Servants of the People of God" and referred the document to the ELCA Domestic Mission unit for further review and redrafting. This document is intended to replace "Vision and Expectations," which outlines expectations the church has for rostered ministers. In their recommendation the council stated that further consideration of the document should involve a process that includes diverse voices from across the church. The council requested quarterly reports on the process and a draft for consideration by the fall 2020 meeting. Visitors to Church Council were invited to participate in conversations on "Trustworthy Servants of the People of God" during a committee meeting held prior to the council plenary session.

    The Church Council also requested that the churchwide organization lead broad fundraising efforts throughout the ELCA focused on the priorities of Future Directions 2025 and affirmed the continuation of the task force that was formed to consider income strategies and potential future campaigns to grow resources for the church. The council approved continuing fundraising for programs that have proven donor interest and where the churchwide organization has an ongoing obligation: ELCA World Hunger, ELCA Fund for Leaders, International Women Leaders, Young Adults in Global Mission, Missionary Sponsorship and Lutheran Disaster Response.

    In other business, the council:

    • Elected Mr. Philip Wirtanen, Ms. Lisa A. Burk and the Rev. Ricardo E. Rivera to the Church Council for a term ending in 2022. 

    • Commended the work of the Ad Hoc Governance Policy Committee and requested a final Governance Policy Manual by August 2019.

    • Increased the 2019 spending authorization from $67,164,676 to $68,164,676.

    • Approved a Church Council-designated fund of $1,554,686 representing excess revenue over expenses from fiscal year 2018.

    • Recommended the following triennium budget proposals for adoption by the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly: current fund spending authorization of $68,378,325 for 2020; current fund income proposal of $68,442,034 for 2021 and $68,507,018 for 2022; ELCA World Hunger income proposal of $21,500,000 for fiscal years 2020-2022.

    • Approved the revised ELCA Philosophy of Benefits.

    • Accepted a process to measure and communicate the results of the Mission Support experiment in the following synods: Lower Susquehanna Synod; Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod; Nebraska Synod; New England Synod; and Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod. Mission Support is the financial offering from congregations shared with synods and the churchwide organization.

    • Received an update on the draft of a declaration to the African-descent community to be presented to the 2019 Churchwide Assembly.

    • Recommended adoption of Rules of Organization and Procedure by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly.

    • Recommended amendments to the constitutions of this church for adoption by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly.

    • Received the ELCA Churchwide Organization Operational Plan Report for 2018.

    • Affirmed ethnic-specific ministry strategic plans.

    • Elected members to the boards of separately incorporated ministries and seminaries. 

    The council also received reports from the church's presiding bishop, treasurer, secretary, and vice president, and from the ELCA Conference of Bishops. It received updates on Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA and greetings from ecumenical partners. The council also held time for reflections by the Church Council class of 2019.

    - - -

    About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
    The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 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 pastoral message on Christchurch mosque shootings

    Dear Church,

     

    Today we awoke to the devastating news of the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. We join in mourning for the people who were killed and wounded, for their families, for the first responders and grief counselors, and for all whose lives have been shattered today. We know that God is present in the midst of their suffering.

     

    We know that our own Muslim neighbors here in the U.S. are also experiencing grief and fear. Many will wonder whether it is safe to attend Friday prayers today. These are not the kinds of questions that any of us should have to ask ourselves as we seek to live out our religious commitments. Yet, devastatingly, this is also a reality that binds us together as people of faith. As I wrote last November in the wake of the Tree of Life shooting: “Hate-filled violence knows no bounds – whether a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, a Christian church in Charleston, a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh” – and now these mosques in 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. Therefore, as an act of neighborly love, I urge you to reach out to your Muslim neighbors today and in the days to come to ask how you might offer solidarity and support – joining whenever possible with other ecumenical and inter-religious neighbors.

     

    I leave you with the words of Psalm 16:1: “Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.” This is my prayer – for our Muslim neighbors, for the people of Christchurch, and for all who mourn and are afraid. May we see in this devastation the possibility to be Christ’s presence with our neighbors in this world – to be present in their suffering and to be partners in God’s justice and peace.

     

    In peace,

     

    The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton

    Presiding Bishop, ELCA

     

    The ELCA provides resources that address safety in congregations:

    https://www.elca.org/Resources/Risk-Management


    Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has compiled this list of active shooter resources for congregations:

    https://disciples.org/resources/active-shooter-information-congregations/

     


     

     

     

  • Renewal and transformation undergirds meeting of ELCA Conference of Bishops

    CHICAGO — Gathering under the theme "Be transformed by the renewing of your minds," the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) met here Feb. 28 – March 4. The conference is an advisory body of the ELCA that includes 65 synod bishops, the presiding bishop and the secretary.

    "Across differences, in the midst of significant challenges, our time together really was an experience of renewal and transformation in the power of the Spirit," said the Rev. William O. Gafkjen, bishop of the ELCA Indiana-Kentucky Synod and chair of the conference.

    For the first time, the bishops' meeting included a two-day retreat to discuss congregational vitality and topics related to leadership.

    "We spent time with each other exploring themes related to congregational vitality and the sorts of transformations required in our leadership and in the life of the church for us to embrace the renewal and new life the Holy Spirit offers," said Gafkjen. "We were reminded that, as we seek to cultivate and support vital congregations across the church, each synod is a laboratory of the Spirit."

    The bishops shared methods developed to support vital congregations in their respective synods. Examples include: offering group spiritual direction for rostered ministers; engaging congregations in intentional training, coaching and accompaniment in renewal and transformation over a multiyear commitment; and inviting pastors and deacons to join their synod bishop in a 48-hour prayer retreat.

    During the retreat, the bishops also reviewed "Trustworthy Servants of the People of God." This replacement document for "Vision and Expectations: Ordained Ministers in the ELCA" will be considered for adoption by the ELCA Church Council at its April 4-7 meeting. Read the draft document.

    Gafkjen said the retreat also provided "spiritual breathing room out of which arose, among other things, a pastoral message confessing and repenting of uneven and inequitable application of the document 'Vision and Expectations' and appropriate advice and counsel to the ELCA Church Council as they prepare to consider a revised replacement of that document at their meeting in April."

    During their meeting, the conference received an update report on synod diversity goals, a multicultural mission strategy to help assess each synod's progress toward increasing ethnic and racial diversity in its congregations. The conference spent time in conversation sharing ideas about tools to help report diversity goals. The strategy was developed in response to the resolution on racial justice adopted by the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.

    The conference also engaged in conversation with ELCA seminary presidents about dismantling racism in theological education and formation for ministry.

    A draft social statement on women and justice, titled "Faith, Sexism and Justice: A Lutheran Call to Action," was shared with the conference. The proposed social statement will be presented to the ELCA Church Council at its April meeting for consideration by the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August.

    Addressing concerns about the situation in Venezuela, the conference issued a statement calling for "all parties to respect internationally recognized human rights," for "a halt to the deportation of Venezuelans currently in the U.S," and for "a new presidential election in Venezuela as soon as possible, one that will be administered by new electoral authorities, conducted under international supervision, and overseen by a neutral government."
    Read the statement in Spanish.

    The bishops also issued a letter to the bishops of the United Methodist Church, expressing "our abiding love and concern for The United Methodist Church and for you, its Council of Bishops."

    In other business, the ELCA Conference of Bishops received:
    ·       An update on Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA. As of Jan. 31, the campaign has received $226 million for campaign priorities; $181 million in cash and commitments and $45 million in planned gifts. The campaign will close June 30, 2019.

    ·       A report from the director for Mission Support. Mission Support is the financial offering from congregations that is shared with synods and the churchwide organization.

    ·       Reports from the ELCA presiding bishop, vice president, treasurer and secretary, and updates from the Conference of Bishops' various committees.

    - - -
    About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
    The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 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
    Public Relations Manager
    773-380-2877
    Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org


  • Pastoral message from ELCA Conference of Bishops

    Approved by the ELCA Church Council in 1990, Vision and Expectations has, through several revisions, outlined this church's standards for its rostered ministers since that time. As a Conference of Bishops, we recognize and acknowledge that its application has been uneven and inequitable. We express our profound grief and deep regret for the times when Vision and Expectations has been misused to single out, marginalize, and block people seeking to be leaders in this church when their peers were not always held to the same vision and expectations. This has caused considerable pain that has disproportionately been borne by those who have been historically marginalized or excluded from leadership in the church because of their gender, sexuality, race, or status. We apologize to those whose treatment under this document has made them feel targeted and less than the beloved children of God that they are.

    The Conference of Bishops affirms the appropriateness of expectations and standards as means of protecting the people of God and providing accountability for the power that church leaders hold. Serving as a rostered minister in the ELCA is a privilege. Those aspiring to and serving in such a public office are expected to conform to the standards set by the church for such leaders.

    We aspire and pledge in the future to apply the church's standards for ministry with equity and compassion, to listen and take seriously the concerns of all our leaders—particularly those who historically have been marginalized—and to treat with dignity all those seeking to lead in our church.

     
    - - -
    About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
    The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 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
    Public Relations Manager
    773-380-2877
    Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org

     
     

     

  • ELCA Conference of Bishops issues statement on Venezuela

    The Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) stands with and holds up in prayer the people of Venezuela during the current multifaceted crisis within their nation. We care about the consequences of this crisis as already felt in neighboring countries and about its wider impact on international peace and security.

    We fervently support our companion church the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Venezuela (IELV) and second the call from the Rev. Dr. Nestor Friedrich, vice president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) for Latin America and the Caribbean Region, for "a negotiated, peacefully constructed resolution" of the crisis. (Letter from the Rev. Friedrich to IELV Pastor President the Rev. Gerardo Hands, January 31, 2019.) In that regard, and in light of the history of U.S military interventions in Latin America, we are concerned about statements from the U.S. presidential administration that do not rule out military options. We also support the LWF statement, issued on January 29, 2019, that notes the hazards of "external interference, including threat of intervention and military action" and the benefits of utilizing "the existing multilateral UN and Organization of the American States mechanisms to peacefully address the current crisis in the country" and to "provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Venezuela."

    In view of the crisis, the ELCA Conference of Bishops joins the LWF in calling on all parties to respect internationally recognized human rights, in calling for a halt to the deportation of Venezuelans currently in the U.S and in calling for a new presidential election in Venezuela as soon as possible, one that will be administered by new electoral authorities, conducted under international supervision, and overseen by a neutral government.

    We affirm the ways that our church has already been assisting Venezuelans within and outside their country through our ELCA International Disaster Fund, including the following support offered:

    ·       to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Venezuela, to distribute food at its children's home, its preschool and the food pantries of its congregations;

    ·       to the United Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELU) in Argentina and Uruguay, to assist Venezuelan migrant families arriving in Posadas, Misiones, Argentina;
    ·       to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia (IELCO), to create a humanitarian assistance center for Venezuelan migrants in Colombia;
    ·       to Educación Popular en Salud (Popular Education in Health), to provide humanitarian health assistance to Venezuelan immigrants in Chile;
    ·       to the World Association for Christian Communication, to respond to the Venezuelan migration crisis in Colombia;
    ·       to the LWF-World Service office in Colombia, to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to Venezuelan migrants in Saravena-Arauca settlements; and
    ·       to Lutheran World Relief in Peru, to assist in providing humanitarian assistance to and advocating for migrant rights for Venezuelans in Peru, in partnership with Iglesia Luterana del Perú.

    We also affirm with gratitude the other significant work being done by our companion churches and their partners in Colombia, Peru, Chile and Argentina as they receive and support refugees from Venezuela.

    Cognizant of Venezuela's location in the Caribbean Basin, we remember our Churchwide Blueprint for Action in Central America and the Caribbean (adopted by the ELCA Church Council in 1990), which calls us to "work for justice and peace, including supporting a negotiated solution to the conflicts, ending all U.S. war-related aid to the region, and advocating for unrestricted humanitarian assistance."   
     

    - - -
    About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
    The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 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
    Public Relations Manager
    773-380-2877
    Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org

Sunday
Pancakes 8:45 AM
Sunday School 9:15 AM
Worship 10:30 AM
Wednesday
Confirmation 5:30 PM
Saturday
Men's Bible Study 8:00 AM

Confirmation Class

04/24/2019     5:30 PM-6:30 PM

Community Coffee Time

04/24/2019     9:30 AM-10:30 AM

Community Coffee Time

04/25/2019     9:30 AM-10:30 AM

Community Coffee Time

04/26/2019     9:30 AM-10:30 AM

Worship Service

04/28/2019     10:30 AM