Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August Update

From Don McCoid and Kathryn Lohre

Lutheran-Moravian Coordinating Committee

The Lutheran-Moravian Coordinating Committee met July 27-29 at the Laurel Ridge Moravian Camp and Retreat Center in Laurel Springs, North Carolina, under the gracious hospitality of the Southern Province. The Committee’s key accomplishments were: 

  • Launching a Facebook page and blog, lutheranmoravian.wordpress.com.
  • Identifying several stories of shared ministries to lift up (on the blog and elsewhere) as examples and encouragement to our churches. 
  • Engaging in a strategic planning process based on the intersection of the committee’s constituencies and responsibilities. 
  • Developing an initial model for formation and missional engagement between Lutheran and Moravian rostered and lay leaders in places where our churches are strongly present, starting with a convening in 2016 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania that will be held in conjunction with the Committee’s annual meeting. 
  • Lifting up the 15th anniversary of our full communion partnership and looking toward the future to discern where the next 15 years might lead us together as we follow the Shepherd. 

ELCA500.org 

Ecumenical and Inter-Religious partners and resources have been added to ELCA500.org.

Declaration on the Way

Because if the importance of the DOTW, we will try to keep you updated about reception progress. The International Commission reviewed the declaration and offered some points; however, they did not believe they were the body that could receive it. 

The LWF and Vatican (Pontifical Council) staffs will meet at the end of September. This will be on the agenda. The PCPCU has been most receptive to the DOTW. In October, the DOTW will be shared with the Conference of Bishops and in November with the Church Council. When the document receives some further edits, the LEIRN board and network will receive a copy. Don will continue to provide staffing to this project as a gift of continued service beyond his retirement on August 31, 2015; Kathryn Johnson will continue her work on this project as an author. 

Farewell and Godspeed

Don, we love you and will miss you! Thank you for your remarkable leadership and service in ELCA’s Ecumenical & Inter-Religious Relations. Your passion for Christian unity and your commitment to inter-religious understanding and cooperation are contagious. Blessings to you and your family as you transition into retirement.

Board Highlights

  • President Chris Olkiewicz will represent LEIRN at the National Planning Committee meeting in Louisville, KY, site of the 2016 NWCU, from October 5-7.
  • Past-President Rocky Piro, in his role as National Chair of the 2017 NWCU, updated us on pre-planning work already underway for that Workshop. The Hilton Hotel in downtown Minneapolis has been secured as the venue. Local leaders are very energized. Invitations to local and national dignitaries will be going out soon. Commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation will be a big emphasis of the 2017 Workshop.
  • The board will continue to discuss network vacancies at the next meeting to be held on September 18 at 9:30 a.m. Central.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Mid-Summer Update

Greetings, friends and members of LEIRN! Below you'll find an update from Kathryn and Don given at the most recent board meeting. Follow the links throughout to some very helpful resources. Remember to follow us by email (enter your email address in the box at right) if you would like to be notified whenever new content is posted.

From Kathryn Lohre and Don McCoid


ELCA Colleges


Kathryn had the honor and privilege of preaching at the Baccalaureate service at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois on May 24. This invitation grew out of our partnership with ELCA colleges on inter-religious formation and engagement. In June 2016 the Vocation of a Lutheran College conference will be focused on inter-religious engagement. Planning is underway this week through the conference planning team, which has been expanded to include Kathryn, Mark Wilhelm, Mark Hanson, and colleagues from the Interfaith Youth Core. A second task force of individuals who participated in the March Consultation at The Lutheran Center will carry forward several other initiatives that will help connect ELCA colleges as a network engaged in inter-religious formation and engagement.

50th Anniversary of Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue in the US


A celebration of 50 years of Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue in the US launched the sixth meeting of Round XII on “Faithful Teaching.” A service of thanksgiving and prayer was held in the chapel at the USCCB offices in DC. Bishop Eaton preached and Bishop Graham presided. A particularly moving part of the service was the reading of names of dialogue participants over the years. Monsignor John A. Radano then gave an address titled, “The Significance of the Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue in the United States after Fifty Years” (click here to read) and Kathryn offered a response (click here to read). We were joined by many long-time friends and colleagues for these events and the reception that followed, hosted at the USCCB offices in DC.

A few weeks later, Pope Francis’ highly anticipated encyclical, Laudato Si’ (on the care for creation), was released. The ELCA joined ecumenical partners in expressing their appreciation for this encyclical, and shared commitment to this critical social issue of our time. http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7752

ELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations


The 2015 meeting of the ELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations was held in conjunction with, “Seeking Peace in the Holy Land: A Community Conversation Involving Christians and Jews,” June 10-11 at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. The conference was organized and hosted by Skip Cornett, who is a member of the Panel. No financial support or planning was offered by ELCA. Speakers included Steve Gutow (JCPA), Warren Clark (CMEP), Lara Friedman (Americans for Peace Now), Hussein Ibish (Arab Gulf States Institute), US Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer, AJ Levine (Vanderbilt), and Darrel Jodock (St. Olaf). The Panel meeting focused on discussion of Frank Sherman’s two-volume, Bridges: Documents of the Jewish-Christian Dialogue; continued work on the inter-religious case studies book project; staff report – including discussion of future plans for structuring inter-religious work; and recommendations regarding inter-religious guests and workshops for the CWA 2016 and Grace Gathering. The Panel also had the opportunity to meet with Peace Not Walls staff, as their network was also meeting at Trinity, and Kathryn was invited to introduce herself and to share with the Network, as a bridge-building opportunity.

[Note: Bridges: Documents of the Jewish-Christian Dialogue by Frank Sherman, available from Paulist Press, is a highly recommended resource for LEIRN members. Click here to learn more and to order a copy.]


Lutheran World Federation Council Meeting


The 2015 Council meeting of the LWF took place in Geneva, June 17-23. A significant matter before the Council was engagement with a new study document, “The Self-Understanding of the Lutheran Communion.” It is hoped that this will be a resource for the churches’ preparations for the LWF 2017 Assembly. Other issues before the Council included: sustainability, Assembly planning, and operational planning. Several public statements were made by the Council on climate justice, humanitarian response to conflict, the situation in Tanah Papua (Indonesia), the sin of racism (in light of Charleston which occurred while the Council was meeting), the Middle East, migrants, and Sustainable Development Goals. During the Council meeting, leadership from ELCA and Mekane Jesus signed an MOU regarding continued cooperation in diakonia. https://www.lutheranworld.org/news/elca-global-mission-and-eecmy-dassc-sign-memorandum-understanding

Kathryn and Don participated in the Committee for Theology and Ecumenical Relations. The Study Guide for FCC developed by the SW Penn Synod of the ELCA and the Pittsburgh Diocese was lifted up as a resource. Of important note is the challenging financial situation facing the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Strasbourg. Please consider supporting the Institute, and referring individuals in your networks to its programs. www.strasbourginstitute.org

Mother Emanuel AME Church Shootings


The tragic shootings at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston took place during the LWF Council meeting. Bishop Eaton issued a statement from Geneva, and also called for a “day of repentance and mourning”: http://www.elca.org/News-and-Events/7753 http://www.elca.org/News-and-Events/7756

Standing with the ELCA, the LWF also issued a public statement on the sin of racism: https://www.lutheranworld.org/news/lwf-council-issues-statement-sin-racism

After returning the US, Bishop Eaton attended the funeral service for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, during which President Obama gave the eulogy. Also present on behalf of ELCA were Bishop Herman Yoos, Al Starr, and Judith Butler. Rev. Pinckney and Rev. Simmons, who were among the nine killed, were graduates of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. Dylan Roof and his family are members of an ELCA congregation. Bishop Eaton was invited to be part of the procession. This was a powerful gesture of continued partnership extended by the senior bishops of the AME Church.

The AME Council of Bishops met just before the fourth of July weekend, issuing the attached statements. As part of this, they called ecumenical and interfaith partners to dedicate September 6 as a “Day of Confession, Repentance, Prayer, and Commitment to End Racism.” Bishop Eaton wrote a letter of gratitude to AME Senior Bishop Bryant, and made the commitment of ELCA participation. Resources will be forthcoming. Please help to spread the word.

The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church


The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church was held June 25-July 3 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Kathryn was present for the ecumenical events over the first weekend, and the historic election of the next presiding bishop, Michael Curry, currently bishop of North Carolina Diocese. Ecumenical and inter-religious guests had the opportunity to observe and be introduced to the House of Deputies and House of Bishops, and joined Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori for a private dinner, during which time Kathryn was able to honor her with a brief speech and presentation of a cross. Significant actions of the TEC GC included: unanimous approval of full communion with the Church of Sweden; action in support for and solidarity with the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East; commendation of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’; canonical and liturgical changes to provide marriage equality; action to approve a revised budget with emphasis on evangelism and racial reconciliation; and action to divest from fossil fuels. Divestment from Israel was discussed, but opposed. For a detailed summary of actions see: http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2015/07/07/general-convention-wrap-up-historic-actions-structural-changes/

General Synod 30 of the United Church of Christ


The 30th General Synod of the United Church of Christ took place June 26-30 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rev. John Dorhauer, conference minister of the Southwest Conference, was elected to be the next General Minister and President, succeeding Geoffrey Black who will retire at the end of this month. Don was present for the election, and for the activities for ecumenical guests. The most significant action of the Synod was the action to divest from and boycott companies that profit from the occupation of Palestinian territories. For details see: http://www.ucc.org/news_general_synod_israel_palestine_resolution_06302015

Reformed Church in America General Synod


The Reformed Church in America General Synod met in Palos Heights, Illinois June 11-16. Bishop Wayne Miller represented the ELCA as an ecumenical guest. The General Synod approved a special council to be convened in early 2016 to develop a constitutional way forward for RCA with regard to human sexuality. A summary of other actions can be found here: https://www.rca.org/news/general-synod-2015-news-summary

Jewish Council on Public Affairs Council Meeting


Bishop Eaton addressed the Council of the JCPA, meeting in Chicago on June 28. The theme was, “Faith to Faith: Partners Repairing the World. She lifted up areas of collaboration through partnership and coalition work, including racial and ethnic discrimination and religious freedom, poverty, climate changes, human rights, and peace with justice in Israel-Palestine. This invitation was made by Steve Gutow, who will retire as JCPA President at the end of this year.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada Convention


The 15th Biennial National Convention of the ELCIC took place in Edmonton July 9-12. Bishop Eaton preached at the opening worship. National Bishop Susan Johnson was re-elected to serve a third term. She has been a very strong partner, and we received this news with joy. A significant part of the Convention was the telling of the story of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which sought to provide reconciliation to Indian residential school survivors of trauma. The ELCIC, together with ecumenical partners, had engaged with the TRC in its work. Actions of the Convention included endorsing the document, “Welcoming the Stranger: Affirmations for Faith Leaders,” a pledge to welcome strangers, refugees, and internally displaced persons; and endorsing a climate justice resolution, which affirms the position of the LWF on the subject.

International Joint Lutheran-Catholic Commission Meeting


Bishop Hanson and Kathryn Johnson joined Bishop Madden and Susan Wood in a presentation of the Declaration on the Way to the International Joint Lutheran-Catholic Commission meeting in Budapest, on July 16. (Susan is a member of the Joint Commission.) The full declaration, completed the week before, was presented to the commissioners, along with a proposed action to the LWF and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity together to “create a process to receive and implement the agreements of the Declaration on the Way…” As a first step, strong appreciation for the agreements and the documentation of sources was expressed.

Inter-Religious Case Studies Book Project


The inter-religious case studies book project, a joint project of the ELCA Consultative Panels on Lutheran-Jewish and Lutheran-Muslim relations, has made significant progress in recent months. Lutheran University Press has been secured to publish the collection in spring 2016. The manuscript has been sent out to select Lutheran leaders for review. Chris Olkiewicz has agreed to participate on behalf of LEIRN – thank you! Using this input, the authors will meet in Chicago in late August to finalize the manuscript. It will then be shared with select ecumenical and inter-religious partners, Church Council members, and the Conference of Bishops’ Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Liaison Committee. The final manuscript will be submitted to LUP in early October. Over the next months, we would like to work with you in partnership with your bishops to develop a plan for teaching workshops on what it means to be Lutheran in a multi-religious context, using the book as a resource. Would it be possible to mobilize the Network for this work at assemblies?

This book project is one part of a broader strategy to invite an ELCA-conversation around our inter-religious calling and commitments. In the coming months, Bishop Eaton will appoint a drafting team to begin work on an inter-religious vision statement, to serve as a compliment to Ecumenism: The Vision of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (1991). This process will likely take unfold from 2016-2019.

Other Board Notes

  • Planning is underway for the 2016 National Workshop on Christian Unity. Board President Chris Olkiewicz represents LEIRN on the National Planning Committee (NPC) and Kathryn Johnson as ELCA staff. The NPC meets next in Louisville in October. Stay tuned as details emerge, but save the dates for the 2016 NWCU: April 18-21, 2016 -- Louisville, KY.
  • LEIRN member Rocky Piro is national chair for the 2017 NWCU, which will be held in Minneapolis, May 1-4. This Workshop will be a significant opportunity to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

From Conflict to Communion Study Guide Makes LWF News

The Lutheran World Federation recently featured the study guide for From Conflict to Communion in a news story on their website. Read more . . .


On April 29, more than 100 Lutherans and Catholics gathered at St. Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh to use the new study guide as a framework for discussing how to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. Read more . . .

Thanks to Pittsburgh for leading the way!


Lutheran – Catholic
DAY OF CONVERSATION
FROM CONFLICT TO COMMUNION
SAINT PAUL SEMINARY
DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH
April 29, 2015
Bishop Donald McCoid – Moderator

AGENDA

9:30 a.m.   ……………………………………Registration/Gathering

10:00 a.m. …………………………Welcome –   Fr. Kris Stubna 
                                Bishop Kurt Kusserow

10:15 a.m. ………………Opening Prayer – Fr. Kris Stubna

10:30 a.m. ………………Presentations – Fr. John Crossin
                                Rev. Timothy Wengert
12:15 p.m. ………………Break

12:30 p.m. ………………Lunch

1:15 p.m. ……………Panel – Share how we will consider the Study Guide
            Session 1 -  Introduction – Chris C
                                   Session 2 -  Fr. Crossin  and Don McCoid (chapter 6)
                                   Session 3 -  chapter 1 – Chris C
                                   Session 4 -  Chapter 2 -  Judy
                                   Session 5 – Chapter 3 -   Kim
                                   Session 6 – Chapter 4 -  Tim Wengert
                                   Session 7 – Chapter 5 -   Don Green
             
Do two presentations and then 15 minutes for discussion
          6 minute to highlight the session      (48 minutes)
                       14 minute for  4 table discussions (56 minutes)         
      (Total time = 1 hr. 44 minutes))


3:00 p.m. …………………Prayer & Dismissal

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.

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