Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton wishes us a happy Easter and reminds us to rejoice, even in the midst of suffering.
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reminds us that there is still time before Christmas, and it is important to take note of that time.
At the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the ELCA challenged its members to raise $15 million to fight malaria. Today, the ELCA announced that the goal has been met and surpassed!!
As additional gifts come in designated for malaria, they will be spent to expand existing malaria programs or allow companions in other countries to get involved. Though our fundraising campaign efforts for malaria have ended, our commitment to walking together with our companions and supporting their health-care ministries will not end. Our global companion churches and Lutheran partners who would like to continue or begin new malaria programming in the coming years will seek funding through ELCA World Hunger.
On August 6, 2015, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and William Horne led a webcast discussion on how our church can confront racism. You can watch a recording of the webcast here. Please check the bottom of that page for resources and background information on the church's work on racial justice.
This is the article that appears in the mid-August Messenger.
Here are links to two articles/sites about the Gathering with more information and more pictures.
On LinkedIn: Ain't No Gathering Like A Detroit Gathering with 30,000 Lutherans
On Facebook, the ELCA Youth Gathering Photo page. Clear some time, there are a LOT of photos.
Speaking of photos, even more from our trip are in a slideshow at the end of this post. - Pbc
Over the five days of the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering, the 13 young people (and 3 adults) from Our Savior’s and Emmanuel were involved in a variety of learning opportunities, worship services and spent one day proclaiming justice by performing services to Detroit and its residents. We joined 30,000 others in Detroit to learn about and share God’s love.
We spent that Saturday afternoon helping to clean up alleys and vacant lots in northeast Detroit. While working in 90° heat, we cleared bushes and overgrowth from these areas, and helped to beautify these neighborhoods. We also had opportunities to work alongside neighborhood residents, and youth from around the country.
During the ELCA Youth Gathering, 3,200 vacant lots in Detroit were cleared of debris, 319 vacant homes boarded up; 1,847 mural boards painted; 36 urban gardens planted; 99 picnic tables built; 26 dumpsters filled; and 600 neighborhoods affected. Additionally, over 1 million diapers collected for social services to distribute; 1,425 backpacks were distributed with school supplies; 433 feet of hair was donated, as was 79 gallons of blood, and $402,000 was raised for Walk4Water, a project of the ELCA Global Hunger campaign to increase access to drinking water around the world.
Attending the Gathering: Myriah Briski and Andrew Petke of Emmanuel; Lexi Hinker, Madeline Johnson, Zach Johnson, Trenton Klabon, Cole Lucas, Derek Nielsen, Dylan Nielsen, Kelly Nielsen, Dylan Steffen, Ashley Walker and Tiara Wuethrich from Our Savior’s. Chaperones were Pastor Brian Campbell, Missy Nielsen and Sandi Petke.
The next triennial ELCA Youth Gathering will be June 27-July 1, 2018 in Houston, Texas.
Join ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and William B. Horne II, an ELCA member from Clearwater, Fla., for a live webcast conversation on the complexity and implications of racism Aug. 6 at 8 p.m. (CDT).
Through its social statement – “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture” – ELCA members have expressed this church’s calling to confront racism and advocate for justice and fairness for all people. The statement is grounded 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.
“Talking about race and racism is hard work for most of us,” says Horne. “Our Christian witness compels us to confront our sinfulness in all forms from within and outside of ourselves. It is more beneficial if we do it together.”
In several public statements, Eaton has called for deep conversations about racism and racial justice, particularly in response to several events in the United States.
“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. We need to talk and we need to listen, but we also need to act,” says Eaton.
A link to the live webcast will be embedded on this page. A live stream also will be available at www.Facebook.com/Lutherans. Twitter hashtag is #ELCAConfrontRacism.
Interested in submitting a question for the ELCA presiding bishop to consider during the live webcast? Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide your name and your congregation’s name, city and state.
For more information, go to elca.org/webcast
The conclusion to Pastor Brian's Walk4Water challenge that began on Ash Wednesday, ended at the ELCA Youth Gathering when our group presented a $1350 donation to Walk4Water. Each congregation will receive certificates for their efforts.
The goal of the Walk4Water program is to raise $500,000 to provide better access to water for people who need it. (See the video at the end of this article.) As of the last day of the Gathering, over $402,000 had been raised, and there is a matching grant to bring to total to $1 million, once the first $500,000 is raised.
It is Monday afternoon, on July 2oth, and I'm sitting in my office, trying to be productive. Our group got back to Our Savior's around midnight, having left Detroit around noon on Sunday.
I am being productive. I just typed the same sentence 3 times.
I am exhausted. So rather than trying to put the experiences of our group into words, I'm going to use the words and pictures of others.
I'll share my thoughts after a few naps and restorative bulldog kisses.
A couple of our kids posted on their Facebook pages about their service project experience, and, with their permission, we are sharing it here. - pbc
from Lexi Hinker
Today I got to meet this wonderful woman that allowed me and several of the members of my youth group to come into her community and let us help them see the beauty in it again. I would like to thank her and the other members of her community for this wonderful experience. It really showed me that Detroit isn't the city that everyone thinks it is. It maybe a little rough around its edges but all it needs is a little polishing to make it shine again. #riseupelca #detroit 😊💜💞
from Ashley Walker
Today we had the opportunity to make a difference in so many lives. It is easy for me to say that my life has been changed forever. Doing a day of service to help the lives of multiple families will be forever in my heart. The people of Detroit are some I will never forget💕
Below is a picture of Lexi with one of the leaders of the neighborhood project they worked on. - pbc
from Deadline Detroit on Thursday
“This place is going to look like Disney World for a few days,” Michael O’Callaghan of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau tells her.
He refers to hundreds of tour buses, but the comparison also is apt because of matching T-shirts, outdoor snacking, selfie snapping and ... of effusive enthusiasm.
from the Detroit News on Friday
The teens, part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Youth Gathering, partnered with Starfish Family Services in Inkster for Operation Diapers for Detroiters. The goal: To build a “mountain” of diaper boxes collected by 18 busloads of people.
Over half a million diapers were collected for low income and families in need of assistance.- pbc
from Deadline Detroit on Friday
"It looks like a Skittles factory exploded,"
For most of the days, groups wore matching t-shirts. (You'll see our group in our green, blue and orange shirts in the slideshow below.) It identifies your group, and makes it easy to try to keep track of your group among 30,000 others. - pbc
from the Detroit Free Press on Friday
"The ELCA has a phrase, God's work, Our hands, and this is the embodiment of that phrase," said Jimmy Sanborn, 17, of Fresno. "We are doing God's work right here with our hands."
from Deadline Detroit on Saturday
Someone should send them a thank you note.
from the ELCA
The week has made me stronger and made me open my eyes to the problems in the world.
There's more to be said, because so much more was felt.
But there is time for that later.
Thanks to everyone who helped to make this trip possible.
The next Gathering is in Houston in 3 years. God bless all y'all - pbc
Quick Friday update before I go to bed.
We're tired, but catching our 2nd wind.
Tonight's Mass Gathering was AWESOME!!
Motown legends, 3 inspirational pastors, a rap warrior for Christ, and a moving closing song that surrounded us on the floor.
I ask for your prayers for us tomorrow. It is our service day and it is going to be HOT. Like 90° degrees hot, and humid. We will watch the kids so they don't over exert themselves, but pray for our safety, and that we approach our work with open minds and open hearts. God bless all of you back home. -- Pastor Brian
Just a quick Tuesday update from Detroit.
We're here. Everyone is fine, but the schedule is keeping us moving, and wifi access is spotty. I'll post A LOT of pictures when we get back, but here are a few, including me at Ford Field in my beloved Packers jersey. Thanks to everyone who has helped make this trip possible. God bless all of you. -- Pastor Brian
From the Detroit Free Press:
DETROIT — Nearly 30,000 people are expected to visit Detroit for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Youth Gathering.
The event will run from Wednesday through Sunday at various locations in and around downtown.
Our group will leave from Our Savior's on Tuesday night around 9:30. Please keep us, and everyone at the Gathering in your prayers.
June 30, 2015
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Grace and peace to you in the name of the crucified and risen Christ.
Last week the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its decision announcing the right of same-gender couples to have equal access to marriage. For many members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, this decision is a welcome sign of hope and a time for celebration. Other members of this church do not agree with the court’s decision and remain deeply concerned because of their understanding of Scripture.
This decision affects each of us, some profoundly, and we are not of one mind. Let us continue to accompany one another with prayer, love and mutual respect as we reflect on this new reality and remember Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians about the enduring power of God’s love.
The ELCA social statement “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust” (2009) neither endorses nor forbids same- gender marriages and recognizes that we have differing understandings and convictions on this matter. In its decision, the court stated that “the First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths.”
According to this church’s social statement on human sexuality, all decisions about recognizing, supporting and holding publicly accountable same-gender relationships are entrusted to congregations. Recognizing that the church is not of one mind on this subject, our 2009 actions provide that congregations and clergy should discern together whether to recognize such relationships and to what degree.
Pastors are to engage in conversation, discernment and partnership with the congregations who have called them prior to solemnizing or presiding over a same-gender marriage. On the other hand, no pastor is obligated to solemnize the marriage of any couple, same-gender or different-gender, whom the pastor cannot in good conscience marry.
As Lutheran Christians, we continue to be a church that engages in conversation and discernment in all aspects of our faith and life. Creating space for respectful conversation and dialogue continues to be an important part of our life together. A helpful resource for engaging in difficult conversations is “Talking Together as Christians about Tough Social Issues.”
In addition, the ELCA Ministry to and with Same-Gender Couples and their Families Working Group remains in the process of completing its work. A report of the group’s findings and possible recommendations will be presented to the ELCA Church Council at its November meeting.
We seek to see our differences as a gift to be celebrated as we live out that which unites us: the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ who leads us into mission and ministry in the world. In the midst of this change, we are first and foremost church – a church that proclaims the good news of Jesus Christ. May God bless, guide and strengthen you each day as you go in peace and serve the Lord.
Your Sister in Christ,
Elizabeth A. Eaton Presiding Bishop
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