On Sunday, October 29 we celebrate 500 years of the Protestant Reformation. Our Worship will be filled with good music, famous hymns and more. It is a great way to mark and remember the events that have had so much impact in our lives. What impact has the Reformation had in our lives? Glad you asked! These daily experiences are directly a result of Martin Luther’s work and the events of the Reformation:
- That we have the scriptures in English and hundreds of other languages that people speak every day is a direct result of Luther’s work. Luther was the first to translate the Bible in to modern common language so that every person who could read would be able to read the Bible in his or her own daily language. We now take this for granted but we could not turn to read the scriptures without this reform.
- That we are encouraged to read and discover what the scriptures say for ourselves is a freedom that comes to us through the Reformation. Before then, the common folk were told what the scripture said and this authority was greatly abused.
- That our Pastors and Clergy marry and have families allows for great awareness of the circumstance and need for the Word of God to be a Living Word in our lives and heard in our family lives.
- The power and authority of the church is now clearly seen to be subject to the truth and witness of the Scripture. Before the Reformation, the church, its leaders and pastors had and took authority for their own selfish purposes. Even today, having safe and just practices in our congregations is an important practice for us all to observe.
- That music is a central feature of our worship was a direct practice that came through the Reformation.
- That the church of every age must strive to preach the Word of God and the Gospel of Christ, free from all religious, governmental and selfish concerns that would limit, pervert or silence the voice the Living Word of God among us.
These are just a few notable rights and responsibilities we freely enjoy every day because of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. It is vital to know our history and appreciate the gains that have been made so that we do not lose sight of nor have these freedoms taken from us.
Good Samaritan Lutheran Church
Our Presiding Bishop, Elizabeth Eaton, is inviting us into a conversation about the future identity, direction and priorities of the ELCA. This discernment process, “Called Forward Together in Christ,” involves listening to God and to one another, and it is spreading across members, congregations, synods, social ministries, educational institutions and the church-wide office.
The ELCA is a young church at only 28 years old. It is a good time to take a look at where we are as God’s people and try to understand what God has in store for us. And we think it is an exciting time to be looking forward together as we approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.
We want to create a vision for the future ELCA – as a church with solid foundations sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and making a difference in the world locally and globally. And as a church that we can be proud to pass on to our children.
We want to discover how we can continue to faithfully serve God’s mission in the years ahead and reach a shared understanding among church leaders about the ministries that are most important.
And we want to assess whether the structures that were set up for this church are right for the future, and as part of this consider how we use our resources in the best possible way. There are many challenges. Be a part of the discussion, contribute your ideas today! If you’d like to join the conversation, talk with Pastor Mitch about how you can make your interests known.
The new ELCA Federal Credit Union, with offices in the Lutheran Center Building in Chicago, will soon be open for business. The grand opening celebration will be Monday, June 6. ELCA members, congregations, synods and the church-wide organization—and their employees—are all eligible to join the credit union to take advantage of a portfolio of deposit accounts, loans and other services. This new ELCA-sponsored credit union supports the ELCA’s mission to promote responsible stewardship of members’ and congregations’ financial resources. Because this is a financial cooperative, credit union members will see more competitive rates on deposits and loans, fewer fees and enhanced services. Learn more by visiting the credit union website, elcafcu.org. As a financial institution rooted in your faith community, the ELCA Federal Credit Union looks forward to serving you.
|Living Lutheran, the new flagship publication of the ELCA, has officially launched. Beginning with its April issue, The Lutheran magazine will be called Living Lutheran and will have an accompanying website, LivingLutheran.org. Our new name signifies this church’s living, daring confidence in God’s grace.
Your new Living Lutheran has a bold, modern look and will continue to offer stories, reflections and news that illuminate Christ’s presence in the world.
Visit LivingLutheran today for:
Join the conversation! Visit the new Living Lutheran today.
As we begin the new year, let us look for peace and renewed ways to listen and learn from one another. On January 14th at 8 pm CST, the ELCA will have a live webcast “Confronting Racism: A Holy Yearning.” This conversation will offer a variety of perspectives on the U.S. criminal justice system. The webcast will work from two commitments: one is this church’s proclamation of Christ and the confidence that this good news brings to set us all free from the captivity of racism. The second is this church’s enduring commitment to address the complexity of racism and end discrimination.
If you cannot tune in for the live broadcast, a recording will be available at www.ELCA.org/webcast. If you decide to view the webcast in a small group or individually, consider these questions:
-How has the criminal justice system intersected with your life?
-What are some injustices that need to change in the criminal justice system?
-There are many voices crying out. What story would you like to share that involve people in the criminal justice system –police officer, judge, family or others?
-How is God’s justice wondrously richer and deeper than ours?
If you are interested in deeper conversation and learning, download “Called to Hear” – the new ELCA study guide for this church’s social statement “The Church and Criminal Justice: Hearing the Cries.” You can access these resources and many others at www.ELCA.org/webcast. A guide for leading a conversation on race, ethnicity and culture is available there.
To see what our sisters and brothers in the ELCA South Carolina Synod are doing as an example of ways we can build new relationships, listen and learn from one another, view this video.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The hard but undeniable fact of deeply embedded racism in American society has come to the fore in painful ways this past year through high-profile occurrences of racial discrimination, hatred and violence – including racially motivated killings. As Lutheran Christians, what should be our response and witness? As members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, how are we called to confront the sin of racism?
We need to talk and we need to listen, but we also need to act. As one important step in this process, I invite you to join me and William B. Horne II, an ELCA lay leader and member of the ELCA Church Council, for a live webcast conversation on the complexity and implications of racism on Thursday, Aug. 6, at 8 p.m. (CDT).
Through our church’s social statement – “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture” – the ELCA collectively has expressed its calling to confront racism and advocate for justice and fairness for all people. You can read this social statement here. In addition, I have made several public statements on behalf of the church recently on this subject. Those statements are available here.
God’s intention for all humanity is that we see the intrinsic worth, dignity and value of all people. Racism undermines the promise of community and fractures authentic relationships with one another. As Christians, though, we live in the conviction that the church has been gathered together in the joyful freedom of the reign of God announced by and embodied in Jesus. That reign has not come in its fullness, but the message of God’s “yes” to the world breaks down all dividing walls as we live into that promise.
I urge you to deepen your involvement in and commitment to this important work to which we all are called. I believe our live webcast on this topic on Aug. 6 is one useful way for us to pursue this together, and I hope you will view and take part in it.
You may read more about this webcast at www.ELCA.org/webcast, where a link to the live webcast will be embedded. A live stream also will be available at www.Facebook.com/Lutherans. Twitter hashtag is #ELCAConfrontRacism. If you would like to submit a question to be considered during the live webcast, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your name and your congregation’s name, city and state.
Join me for this important conversation.
Your Sister in Christ,
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
As a congregation, one foundational partnership we have is with the Metro DC Synod and the 98 congregations that comprise that body. This last weekend in Leesburg VA we met and adopted a 1.7 million dollar spending plan heard from other partnering organizations like Gettysburg Seminary and Lutheran World Federation. We also passed a number of resolutions/Memorials to express our collective thoughts, perspectives and calls to action. You are invited to check out the Video Summary of Metro DC Assembly.
One notable resolution that came out of the assembly was one on racism and the events in Charleston on June 17, 2015. Perhaps you know that nine persons from the Emanuel AME Congregation meeting in bible study were killed by a visitor to their group. This visitor was a young white man who is believed to be a member of an ELCA congregation. These events are shocking and difficult to take in. We had other connections to this gathering as the pastor of the congregation graduated from an ELCA Seminary. Please take a moment to read the resolution that came from our assembly and perhaps hear Pastor Mitch’s sermon from the Sunday that followed. We also invite our Council and members to reflect of the effects and signs of racism around and among us as well.
- Link to Resolution from Assembly called “Racism and the Events in Charleston”
- Link to Pastor’s Message from June 21 returning from Assembly.
- Link to all the Assembly Resolutions from the Metro DC Assembly
ELCA World Hunger’s Walk for Water is a year-long, youth-driven fundraising challenge to raise $500,000 in support of water-related projects of ELCA World Hunger. Thanks to a generous family, all gifts toward this goal will be matched, dollar for dollar, until we reach a total of $1 million! Together, we can make a difference, creating healthier families, stronger economies and a future filled with hope. For this year ONLY, we’ve launched a site for you to create your own fundraising events for ELCA World Hunger’s Walk for Water. Individual and team events are welcome. Visit the site here.