Thursday, April 9, 2015

Next stop: Charlotte

We are looking forward to seeing many of you in Charlotte for the National Workshop on Christian Unity in a little more than a week. A highlight of the first plenary session is always our conversation with the ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations staff. This year Kathryn and Don are making their written report available to us in advance. Please take time to read through it before arriving in Charlotte and come prepared with questions and areas that you would like to discuss in mind. It will be a full session, and this should help us to use our time most efficiently. Click here to read the report . . .

Monday, April 6, 2015

S2S Emerging Religious Leaders Seminar

Program Description:

Shoulder to Shoulder is a national campaign of denominations, faith groups and religious organizations dedicated to ending anti-Muslim sentiment. An integral part of ending anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States is ensuring that American religious leaders of various traditions provide leadership within their own communities and in interfaith efforts on this issue.

In 2015 Shoulder to Shoulder is sponsoring its 2nd Annual Emerging Religious Leaders Seminar (ERLS) for twenty seminarians and other emerging religious leaders at the convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). The Seminar will begin the morning of Thursday, September 3 and finish the evening of Sunday, September 6. This is in conjunction with the 52nd Annual ISNA Convention will be held in Chicago, IL, over Labor Day Weekend (September 4-6, 2015). Each year, the ISNA Convention attracts over 20,000 American Muslims from diverse backgrounds to discuss issues of importance to the larger American Muslim community.

The goal of the ERLS is to prepare participants for leadership within their own communities and in inter-religious efforts to end anti-Muslim sentiment and promote inclusive models of pluralism in the United States. The participants will be Muslim, Jewish and Christian emerging leaders, with a particular focus on bringing several emerging leaders from common geographic locations, in order to aid in the community impact following the Seminar. Emerging leaders will be chosen on the basis of their interest in and commitment to interfaith efforts and their capacity to provide leadership in the future.

While at the ISNA Convention, participants will attend the plenary events as well as various parallel sessions (workshops). Participants can also attend the film festival, photography and art exhibits, Qira’at competition (recitations of the Qur’an), the Interfaith Banquet dinner, bazaar, entertainment sessions, meet the author events, and more.

In addition, the ERLS will include several workshop sessions and will also hold facilitated discussion groups for participants in SIS throughout the Convention. These elements of the Seminar will be led by Jewish, Christian and Muslim facilitators. The focus of the ERLS-specific workshops will include:

  • Learning about the nature of bigotry and discrimination against American Muslims
  • Learning about the breadth and depth of the American Muslim community
  • Learn formational skills for education, organizing, and advocacy on the issue of anti-Muslim bigotry
  • Discussions on the nature of US pluralism and inter-religious cooperation
Participant expectations:

  • Pre-Seminar activities (mid-August):
    • Introductory webinar
    • Assigned readings
  • Throughout the Seminar (Sept. 3-6), participants will attend SIS-specific workshops and discussion groups, as well as attending the general ISNA convention sessions.
  • After the Seminar (by October 31, 2015), participants will complete a Community Impact Action. The purpose of this requirement is to reach a wider audience with the lessons and outcomes of the ERLS. The preferred Action is to write an op-ed for a local or national news publication. While we strongly suggest participants select this option (and will provide support for writing and publication), alternatives include writing a blog post for a denominational or seminary publication, or hosting a workshop on anti-Muslim bigotry for one’s seminary, congregation, or community.

There will be no costs for participants. Applications are due May 15, 2015, and participants will be notified of their acceptance on June 15, 2015.

To submit an application:

Please send the following three documents by email to Catherine.Orsborn@s2scampaign.org:

1. A 1-2 page letter indicating why you are interested in participating
2. A resume or CV
3. A list of two references with contact information (phone and email)

Those with questions should contact Catherine Orsborn, Campaign Director for Shoulder to Shoulder (catherine.orsborn@s2scampaign.org or 202-544-8989).

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Join the Luther Reading Challenge!

What did Martin Luther really say in the 95 Theses?
Is it true he had a special affection for the Virgin Mary?
Did he think the Old Testament was all law and no gospel?
What was his advice concerning prayer?
Did he advocate good works?
Why was the real presence of Christ the center of all his thinking?
How did his last will and testament break the law (in favor of his wife)?

What did Luther actually say and think?

As the Reformation anniversary in October 2017 draws near, Martin Luther will be a hot topic of conversation. Lutheran churches are already asking themselves how to commemorate the big event. It’s not too early to start preparing! And what better way to do so than actually to read and discuss Luther’s own words?

That’s where the Luther Reading Challenge comes in. Sign up for a free account and join countless other readers around the world in reading, discussing, and reflecting on Luther’s important writings!

Each text begins with an introduction, giving its context and key themes. You can add marginal comments, respond to others’ remarks, and raise your own questions. You can also tailor your own profile to share and connect with others.

In time there will also be a blog, other languages, and even gamification elements!

Join today!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Coming Soon: National Workshop on Christian Unity


We hope you already know about and have made plans to attend this years National Workshop on Christian Unity and annual meeting of the Lutheran Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Representatives Network in Charlotte, North Carolina from April 20 through 23. If you have not yet taken a moment to register, please do so soon at www.nwcu.org. Note that the registration deadline is April 1.


Registration for both the Workshop and LEIRN meeting can be accomplished through the website and with a single payment. You will also find there a link for making a room reservation at the Omni Hotel. If you are interested in sharing a room, please email me at revcdo@gmail.com. I am keeping a list of those who have requested roommates and will do my best to get you connected with someone.


If you are a past Workshop participant, you should have received a print brochure a couple of weeks ago. The full Workshop schedule is also available at nwcu.org of course, and the schedule of LEIRN events is below. As you can see, we look forward to updates from ELCA staff, conversation on initiatives to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, an in-depth focus on the inter-religious aspect of our work, and dialogue and learning on many other important topics.


Check back here regularly for updates as we near our time together in Charlotte, and let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to seeing you in April!

Chris Olkiewicz -- LEIRN President


Monday, April 20

Registration
Executive Board Meeting
Newcomers Luncheon

If you are new to LEIRN, meet in the hotel lobby at noon and enjoy a welcome lunch with the board. Our treat!


Plenary 1 -- Briefing by ELCA Staff

Kathryn Lohre and Don McCoid review the work of ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations and engage in conversation with the network.

Marcus Kunz, the ELCA’s Executive for Theological Discernment, will discuss Churchwide initiatives around the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
10:00 - 11:45 a.m.
12:00 - 1:15 p.m.





2:00 - 4:45 p.m.

Tuesday, April 21

Joint Plenary -- Reform, Reformers, Reformations

Using a study guide to From Conflict to Communion, LEIRN and CADEIO will explore a model for engaging in local conversations about “reformation."
3:30 - 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 22

Plenary 2 -- Shoulder-to-Shoulder Campaign

Campaign Director Catherine Orsborn will share information about the Shoulder-to-Shoulder Campaign and help us consider ways of standing alongside American Muslims in upholding our mutual values of religious freedom and human dignity. You may wish to attend Dr. Orsborn’s Workshop seminar for additional information.

Plenary 3 -- “The Church: Toward a Common Vision”

Cheryl M. Peterson from Trinity Lutheran Seminary will lead us in a discussion of the ELCA response to this World Council of Churches paper. This is a continuation of the panel discussion at Wednesday’s plenary luncheon. (The document is available here . . .)


Network business/elections
2:00 - 3:15 p.m.









4:15 - 5:00 p.m.








5:00 - 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 23

Executive Board Meeting
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ecumenical News from the PC (USA)

Click here to read the most recent issue of Ecumenical News from our full-communion partner, the Presbyterian Church (USA) . . .

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Roommate connections

As you register for the NWCU, please contact me if you would be interested in sharing a room with another participant to help lower your costs. I will try to connect those with similar requests. You may email me at revcdo@gmail.com. 

Chris Olkiewicz

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

NWCU registration is OPEN!

It's now time to make your way to http://www.nwcu.org/ to register for the Workshop and annual meeting of LEIRN. The entire registration process is done through the NWCU website. Please register soon and  share this information with your networks. See you in Charlotte!

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