Wednesday, April 9, 2014

March 2014 Update

From Kathryn Lohre and Don McCoid

Catholic Dialogue

The dialogue met at the end of February. The scholars are blending some important insights in looking at Sources of Authority. We should be able to have substantive insights to share when the round is complete. In addition the 50th Anniversary of the Dialogue will be celebrated next May (2015) in Washington, during the dialogue meeting.

Conference of Bishops

The meeting was held in early March. We met with the liaison committee of the COB. Of interest was some of the sharing that was done by the liaison bishops. There seems to be a decline throughout the U.S. of state councils of churches and regional ecumenical councils. Those who include inter-religious relations are doing better. An update from the Global Ecclesiology Task Force was given. Bishop Eaton was supportive of ecumenical ministry in her report.

Lutheran World Federation

Guests from the LWF staff from Geneva visited our offices on March 11-12. The executives from Ecumenical and Theological ministry and DMD – Department of Mission Development had visited the NALC (no report was shared) prior to meeting with us. They were supportive of the ELCA and the exchange is a good example of our ministry within our Communion of Churches.

United Methodist-ELCA Coordinating Committee

A meeting was held on March 17-18 at our offices. We continued the important sharing on revitalizing congregations. Staff from both churches presented updates. This will be continued in our next meeting later this year. In addition, we will look at advocacy meeting in our churches and will have staff present. A major emphasis will be the 5th Anniversary of the UMC-ELCA full communion agreement. A letter will be shared by the co-chairs of the Coordinating Committee with bishops, including our LEIRN network. There will be encouragement for local observances of the anniversary on the synodical/conference level. Find resources here . . .

U.S. Christian-Jewish Dialogue

The “Summit” of Jewish and Christian leaders was held March 27 at the JCPA in New York City. The focus of the meeting is on tending to relationships, particularly when significant disagreements are held. The meeting is being co-convened by the Rev. Mark Hanson and Rabbi Steve Gutow (JCPA), and co-facilitated by the Rev. Tom Duke (who is ELCA) and Rabbi Melissa Weintraub. Bishop Eaton represented the ELCA. The meeting is not public.

New Resource

“Why Follow Luther Past 2017? A Contemporary Lutheran Approach to Inter-Religious Relations” is underway. This resource was prepared by the ELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations as a contribution toward the 500th observance of the Reformation. Please share this widely and encourage folks in your synod to use it for individual and group study. It is available for download under the “Inter-Religious” tab on our resources page . . .

EIR Staff Changes

We have recently undergone a change in roles in our Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations team, with Kathryn being named the new Executive for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations and Don now serving as director. The complementarity of our roles has been maintained, with Don having primary responsibility for our full communion coordinating committees, bi-lateral dialogues and discourses, and with Kathryn having primary responsibility for conciliar life and inter-religious relations, though we both share responsibilities, including support of LEIRN. In Chicago, Kathryn is situated to pick up the responsibilities as Assistant to the Presiding Bishop. Eileen is continuing in her role as Administrative Services Coordinator. It is good to be continuing our work together!

From the Board

We look forward to seeing you at the National Workshop on Christian Unity in Albuquerque. For those not able to attend, look for live updates in the LERN Facebook Group from April 28 - May 1 and a complete recap here in coming weeks.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Coming Soon: The National Workshop on Christian Unity!


We hope that you are planning on joining us for the annual meeting of LERN in the context of the National Workshop on Christian Unity, held this year in lovely Albuquerque, NM from April 28 - May 1.

Here's everything you need to know to get ready for a great experience!

Early-Bird Registration

To take advantage of the early-bird discount, register by March 22 on the NWCU website . . .

Also register for the LERN meeting while on the NWCU site. The link will take you to a secure page on the ELCA website, where you may pay the $45 LERN registration fee.

LERN Schedule

As you make travel arrangements, please note that the first meeting of LERN begins at 2:00 on Monday afternoon.


Monday, April 28


Registration
Executive Board Meeting
Newcomers Luncheon


Briefing by ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations Staff
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 29

From Conflict to Communion
Network Business/Elections
3:30 - 5:00 p.m.
5:15 - 6:00 p.m.


Wednesday, April 30

Tri-Network Meeting with EDEIO and UMEIT


Looking Toward Charlotte 2015
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.


4:15 - 4:45 p.m.


Thursday, May 1

Executive Board Meeting

2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

From Conflict to Communion

In preparation for the discussion at Tuesday's plenary, please download and read From Conflict to Communion before the workshop. It is available on the Lutheran World Federation website . . .

It is not cost effective for the network to make paper copies of this document available, so please bring your own copy, either electronic or printed.

Show & Tell

One of the goals of the network is to share ideas and best practices. Give some thought to initiatives that are going well in your area, or frustrations that you have had, and be ready to share so that others may benefit from your good work and experience.

Annual Report

Your board is asking you to complete this year's LERN report online here . . .

Please respond by April 1, so that the results may be compiled and presented in Albuquerque. The information you provide is also helpful in giving the Conference of Bishops a picture of the ecumenical and inter-religious work taking place across the ELCA.

Board Elections

We need to elect one new member of the Executive Board at this year's NWCU. Under the new structure approved last year, the board is no longer regionally constituted. We still strive, however, to have all regions of the ELCA represented on the board when possible. Though Regions 1 and 3 are currently not represented, nominations from all regions are welcome. Read more about the responsibilities of board members . . .

You may make nominations to the LERN Secretary via email (tphilabaum@hotmail.com) prior to the workshop or from the floor at the annual meeting.

Need a Roommate?

If you are interested in sharing a room at the Albuquerque Hyatt, contact Eileen Heffner (Eileen.Heffner@elca.org) in ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations for a list of LERN members who have already registered. Hotel reservations may be made from the NWCU registration page . . .

New to LERN?

If this is your first time attending a LERN meeting and National Workshop, please gather at the registration table at noon on Monday, and the Executive Board will take you to lunch!

Questions?

If you have any questions not answered here, please contact LERN President Chris Olkiewicz (revcdo@gmail.com).

See you in Albuquerque!

February 2014 Update

From Kathryn Lohre and Don McCoid

Declaration on the Way

January 29-31 was the first meeting of scholars from the ELCA and appointees from the Catholic Conference of Bishops to work on a Declaration on the Way (to unity). Papers were shared in three areas that will make up the Declaration: Ecclesiology, Ministry, and the Eucharist. Significant progress was made and assignments were made to continue working on a declaration that will form the basis for a document that will seal agreements on these important areas. The Vatican is aware and supportive of this work. It is hoped that both the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation will receive this Declaration as a contribution to the anniversary of the Reformation.

ELCA-USCCB Dialogue

The group met in Washington, D.C. February 20-23. This formal dialogue between the ELCA and the USCCB is addressing authoritative sources in our churches that lead to decisions, especially moral and ethical concerns. This subject was chosen after the Catholic Church requested more conversation and theological consideration about authority and decision making in our churches.

Christian Churches Together

Bishop Eaton attended the meeting of the heads of communion of CCT. Bishop Burkat, Judith Roberts, and Don McCoid attended the annual meeting of CCT in Newark, New Jersey. The main emphasis was mass incarceration. Speakers made presentations about some of the major issues and the racial dimensions that lead to incarceration and unequal judicial sentencing. Interaction among the five families (Catholics, Orthodox, Mainline Protestants, Historic Black, and Evangelical/Pentecostal Churches) provided an opportunity for faith sharing.

Jewish-Christian Relations

Preparations for the leadership “Summit” of Jewish and Christian leaders being held in late March are well underway. This meeting was organized in response to the tensions that surfaced after 15 Christian leaders sent a letter to Congress in October 2012 calling for an end to unconditional US military aid to Israel. The meeting will focus on tending to relationships, particularly when we hold divergent views. At Bishop Eaton’s request, the Rev. Mark Hanson will continue to serve as co-convener with Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and Bishop Eaton will participate as well.

The ELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish has prepared and published a resource entitled, “Why Follow Luther Past 2017? A Contemporary Lutheran Approach to Inter-Religious Relations,” as a contribution toward the 500th observance of the Reformation. The resource acknowledges the challenges of Luther’s anti-Judaic legacy and goes on to offer four of Luther’s key principles that can helpfully be applied to contemporary inter-religious relations. Download the resource here . . .

Board meeting highlights

The entire meeting was spent finalizing the schedule for the LERN Annual Meeting, held in conjunction with the National Workshop on Christian Unity in Albuquerque, April 28 - May 1. A pre-Workshop blogpost will follow here soon with a schedule of LERN events and other NWCU information. If you are making travel arrangements now, note that the first LERN meeting begins at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, April 28. See you in Albuquerque!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Update -- January 2014

From Don McCoid and Kathryn Lohre

A brief update was offered by Don this month. Kathryn continues on parental leave.

Declaration on the Way

The first meeting will be held during the last week in January. Papers are being drafted now. Each of the three Lutheran members are paired with one of the three Roman Catholic members on the topics of baptism, ministry, and ecclesiology.

Christian Churches Together

The annual meeting of CCT will be held during the first weekend in February.

Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue

The U.S. dialogue team resumes meeting in February.

Board Meeting Highlights

LERN Annual Report

We discussed new questions to incorporate into the current version of the report that all LERN members are asked to complete annually. The form will be available for members to fill out on-line this year. Look for a link to arrive in your inbox soon.

NWCU Planning

Planning for LERN plenaries at the Albuquerque Workshop continues. In addition to an extensive update from Don and Kathryn and an opportunity for members to engage them in conversation about the ecumenical and inter-religious work of the ELCA, we also plan to focus on From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017. Strategies for using this resource locally as a first step toward planning commemoration events will be discussed. Details of other plenary activities, including a joint plenary with EDEIO and UMEIT, are still being crafted.

Lutheran Ecumenist Award

Deadline for nominations is February 1. Candidates will be discussed at the February meeting.

Next meeting: February 28, 2014

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Call for Nominations

LERN Ecumenist Award

Members of LERN are invited to submit nominations for this year's LERN Ecumenist Award. The award is given to someone who has made significant contributions toward advancing the ecumenical vision of the ELCA (which may be found here . . .). Written nominations describing the person's qualifications should be submitted to LERN President Chris Olkiewicz (revcdo@gmail.com) by February 1, 2014. The award will be presented at the National Workshop on Christian Unity in Albuquerque in April 2014.

Update -- December 2013

From Don McCoid and Kathryn Lohre

NCCC Presidency

Kathryn completed her term as President of the NCCC. At the meeting in November, there was strong affirmation and appreciation for her outstanding leadership during a time of great change and need. Kathryn is now on parental leave. The twins continue to make progress!

Lutheran-Episcopal Coordinating Committee

The early December meeting concentrated on goals for the future, receiving updates on the continuing ministry sharing, and responding to the Episcopal Convention’s request for a response on deacons and lay presidency. As we assessed what is happening, it is truly remarkable how many things we are doing together in staff, training, planting the church, and sharing best practices … and shared ministries.


Presiding Bishops and Ecumenical Staff Meeting

Ecumenical leaders of the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America met in Winnipeg on December 9-10. There were a lot of updates and some specific commitments for the year ahead, including sharing ecclesiology reports and a making a coordinated response to the WCC statement, advocacy  and international work, and planning agenda items for next year. This was Bishop Eaton’s opportunity to meet Archbishop Fred from the ACC. Both the bishops and the ecumenical staff enjoyed a productive meeting.

Board Meeting Highlights

From Conflict to Communion

Discussion of this document continued, this month focusing on Chapter 1. The board continues to encourage all LERN members to read From Conflict to Communion, especially the five imperatives (found in the last chapter) and to bring the document to the attention of his or her bishop as a possible vehicle for engagement with Roman Catholic colleagues. Our friends at CADEIO are making the report a priority and plan to explore it at the next NWCU. The board will discuss Chapter 2 at the January meeting.


LERN/NWCU Registration

Registration and payment of fees for the LERN annual meeting can be handled electronically this year. Just follow the link on the NWCU registration site. Remember to register by March 22 to get the early bird discount.

National Workshop on Christian Unity brochures are completed and will be sent out in January to synod offices, LERN members, and ELCA seminaries. Please plan now to get brochures into the hands of colleagues and seminarians and encourage them to join you in Albuquerque for this year's Workshop and meeting of LERN.

Next meeting: January 17, 2014

Monday, December 23, 2013

Floyd M. Schoenhals Distinguished Ecumenist Award

On November 7, 2013, the Oklahoma Conference of Churches (OCC) honored Monsignor Patrick Gaalaas with the third annual Floyd M. Schoenhals Distinguished Ecumenist Award. The award was instituted in November 2010 to recognize Bishop Schoenhals' significant ecumenical and interfaith accomplishments during his 17-year tenure as bishop of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod. 

Among his many accomplishments, Bishop Schoenhals chaired the council of communion leaders for the OCC, worked closely to foster shared ministry with Presbyterian, Episcopal, United Church of Christ and Methodist clergy and congregations, hosted a Roman Catholic dialogue, and participated in many inter-faith dialogues with the Dialog Institute of the Southwest (formerly the Institute of Interfaith Dialog), which recently honored him with their Fethullah G├╝len Peace Award.

The 2013 recipient, Rev. Msgr. Patrick Gaalaas, was honored for his ecumenical and interfaith work in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tulsa over his 41 years as a priest.  Msgr. Gaalaas has served as the CADEIO representative and Vicar General for the Diocese of Tulsa and on the boards of OCC, Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries and the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice (formerly the Oklahoma Conference of Christians and Jews).

Pictured (from left to right) are: Msgr. Patrick Gaalaas-2013 Schoenhals Distinguished

Ecumenist Award recipient, Bishop Emeritus Floyd Schoenhals, Dr. Dill Tabbernee-Executive

Director of OCC, Pr. Nathan Allen-President of OCC


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