Friday, May 20, 2016

“Hazy Hopes Taking Clear Incarnations”

The Lutheran Episcopal Coordinating Committee met in Marriottsville, Maryland, May 9-11, 2016. This Committee is charged with encouraging and assisting efforts in The Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) as they live into their relationship of full communion provided for in “Called to Common Mission.” This meeting included visits to three joint Lutheran Episcopal ministries in addition to discussions of ongoing implementation of CCM.

“The hazy hopes for CCM that we had at the beginning have taken clear incarnations. We saw this today.” This evaluation was expressed after the Committee visited three very different local ministries established during the last three years with the support of the Delaware-Maryland Synod of the ELCA and the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland:

  • The Churches of the Nativity and the Holy Comforter, “An Episcopal Lutheran Community in Baltimore,” The Rev. Stewart Lucas, Episcopal Rector, and the Rev. David Eisenhuth, Lutheran Pastor
  • The Church on the Square, Canton, Maryland, “a post-denominational community church,” The Rev. James Hamilton, Pastoral Missioner, and John Deason, Development Missioner;
  • First English Lutheran Church (sponsor), the “Slate Project,” Baltimore MD (and on the web,, Co-founders the Rev. Jason Chesnut, the Rev. Jennifer DiFrancesco, the Rev. Sara Shisler Goff.
The Committee discussed recent encouragements from a number of sources for the churches of the three (full) communion agreements to find ways to move into closer relation. This discussion was prompted in part by a letter from JALC, the Committee’s partner in Canada. The Committee encouraged the Chair to respond warmly to the invitation of JALC to work together on this project and to communicate to them this resolution:

The Lutheran Episcopal Coordinating Committee receives with gladness the October 5, 2015, letter from the Joint Anglican Lutheran Commission;

And requests that ecumenical staff of our churches continue work toward mutual acknowledgement of (full) communion relationships among the churches of the Porvoo Agreement, Called to Common Mission, and the Waterloo Declaration.

A report will be given at the next LECC meeting.

In addition, the Committee discussed a range of topics around its mandate. As Bishop Kreiss reminded the members, “we are given the care and nurture of an agreement that is of critical importance for the work of the gospel going forward in our churches. This is the path to which the Holy Spirit has called us. Our job is to help both of our traditions think creatively about what is possible and what is faithful, as we work to insure that the level of trust and intimacy between our church bodies continues to deepen. Fifteen years into CCM, we can see that this is no longer an experiment but the future of both of our churches.”

The Committee discussed ways to celebrate the 15th anniversary of CCM, challenges and opportunities for joint ministries and how to support them, creating standard guidelines and FAQs for the use of churches considering joint ministries and making the resources more accessible.

The Committee will meet next in Chicago, February 8-10 2017. Dates will be explored with JALC for a joint meeting, with times proposed during the week of November 27 - December 1, 2017.

Members of the Committee:

ELCA: Bishop Donald Kreiss (Lutheran co-chair), Rev. Lowell Almen, Dr. Mitze Budde, Bishop Claire Burkat, Rev. Natalie Hall
TEC: The Rev. Kay Beach, the Rev. Jon Perez
Staff: Dr. Kathryn Johnson (ELCA), Rev. Dr. Charles Robertson, the Rev. Margaret Rose (TEC)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Consignment copies of Engaging Others: Knowing Ourselves

If you are planning to introduce Engaging Others: Knowing Ourselves at your synod assembly or another event, here's good news from the publisher, Lutheran University Press! You may contact Karen Walhof at or 888-696-1828 and order books on consignment for your event. LUP will ship them, and you can sell them at the $10 rate, returning any unsold copies to LUP. There is no need to pay upfront.

We hope you're out there helping others engage this compelling new resource and join the conversation about our inter-religious calling and commitments.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

See you in Louisville!

It's now less than a month to go until the annual meeting of LEIRN at the National Workshop on Christian Unity. Check out our schedule below. The early-registration discount expires on March 28, so register soon at If you would like to share a room, email your name and contact info to

We anticipate the possibility of vacancies on the LEIRN board. If you are currently appointed by your bishop as the ecumenical and inter-religious representative in your synod, you are eligible for election to the board. Please consider the possibility of serving a three-year term. Nominations are scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Annual report for members of LEIRN

Dear Members of LEIRN,

Again this year we are asking all Bishop's Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Representatives to complete a short report about ministries and happenings in your synod. The report provides information that is not systematically collected by other means, offering valuable data about the ecumenical and inter-religious life of the ELCA. I encourage you to schedule a time to speak with your bishop soon to discuss the information requested in the report.

The link below will open the report form in your browser. Simply answer the questions and click "submit" when you are done. There is no need to print and email a copy to anyone. The form is even more streamlined than previous versions, so it should not take long to complete. I know it is a full time of year, especially for those in parish ministry, but if you can complete the report by April 1, it will be appreciated, as it will allow us to discuss pertinent insights at the National Workshop on Christian Unity.

Also remember that registration for the National Workshop is now open at If you would like to share a room to help reduce your expenses, send your name and email address to

Thank you for your leadership in ecumenical and inter-religious work!


Rev. Chris Olkiewicz
LEIRN President

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Register today for NWCU!

As promised, the full brochure and schedule for the 2016 National Workshop on Christian Unity is now available here . . .  Registration is also open at Register soon!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

"Engaging Others, Knowing Ourselves" resources now available

Dear Lutheran Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Representatives,

In 2016 and beyond, as we engage in the ongoing Reformation, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton is inviting the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to participate in an ongoing conversation about our church’s inter-religious calling and commitments. The publication, Engaging Others, Knowing Ourselves: A Lutheran Calling in a Multi-Religious World, is provided as a resource.

As you know, LEIRN is being called upon to provide leadership in partnership with your bishops and synod leaders in lifting up this resource, and helping our churches and ministries engage with it in their settings. A PDF of the manuscript, which is currently being published, has been sent to all LEIRN members via email. Please do not share this with others; it is intended for your preparation for this leadership. You will receive your complimentary hard copy of the book at the National Workshop on Christian Unity in Louisville in April if you are present, or shortly thereafter by post if you are not.

We invite you to become familiar with the book and with the attached PowerPoint templates, which will be discussed in depth at the annual meeting of LEIRN during the National Workshop. One provides an introduction to the book, including its background, content, and ideas for engaging with the text in a variety of settings. This will be a helpful tool for you or others to provide leadership at synod assembly workshops and other settings where groups are being introduced to the resource as they consider its possible use in their ministry settings. The second provides an in-depth review of the content and discussion questions for each chapter. This will be a helpful tool for groups that are reading the book together. Together with the specific recommendations on pp. 180-185, regarding “Ways to Use this Book,” this second template can be used to develop a thematic and/or multi-session approach. Both PowerPoint templates are also available under the resource tab above.

If you have not already done so, please then reach out to your bishop to make yourself available for leadership of workshops or other educational sessions in 2016 and beyond. Synod Bishops have been kept up to date, and they will be receiving an introduction as well as a hard copy of the book at the Conference of Bishops meeting in early March.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. Our emails are listed below. You can also find a link suitable for sharing with others at This webpage includes the PowerPoint and the link to online ordering through Lutheran University Press. Thank you for participating in this important ELCA-wide conversation. We invite your continued prayers and leadership along the way.

In Christ,

Kathryn M. Lohre
Assistant to the Presiding Bishop and Executive, Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations 

Rev. Chris Olkiewicz
President, Lutheran Ecumenical and  Inter-Religious Representatives Network

Send a message to the editor


Email *

Message *