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Showing posts from 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 ( 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 meetingconcentrated 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 MeetingEcumenical 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 Dec…

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 yea…

Interfaith Prayer to End World Hunger

Held in conjunction with the week of World Food Prize events in Des Moines, Iowa in October, the Interfaith Prayer to End World Hunger service brought together people from many faith traditions to join in prayer for the eradication of hunger. The homilist was Peter Cardinal Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for International Justice and Peace, and a call to respond was issued by the Rev. David Beckman, President of Bread for the World and 2012 World Food Prize Laureate. Many bishops, judicatory heads, and religious leaders from a wide variety of faith communities provided worship leadership.

A copy of the liturgy, which may serve as a model for an interfaith service for ending hunger, is available on the website of the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines . . .

To see photos of the event . . .

Day of Prayer to End Hunger

Join people of faith in an international stream of prayers that will happen on Dec. 10. Pope Francis is calling on people around the world to pray on this day for an end to hunger. Please plan to pray - individually, in small groups, in community gatherings, at your church - on Dec. 10 at noon. Some congregations will also be praying during their worship services on Dec. 8. More information and prayer resources . . .

Florence Interfaith Group Celebrates Blessings

Update - November 2013

From Don McCoid and Kathryn Lohre ELCA – Catholic Bishops Meeting in Minnesota – October 24-25 This was a good opportunity to engage the bishops in From Conflict to Communion, as well as the progress we have made in 50 years of dialogue. Differences are evident in some social concerns. This was true when the Minnesota Bishops’ retreat ended in 2012. This retreat helped bring some renewed focus and sharing. The bishops will likely jointly plan some observances of the 500th Anniversary.  Bishop Sklba was a presenter for one of the session. Don did two sessions and led the discussion.
Farewell and Welcome On Wednesday, October 30, the Churchwide Organization said farewell and thank you to Secretary David Swartling with a worship service and reception. The following day, Reformation Day, the same was held in honor or Bishop Hanson. Then on Friday, November 1, Bishop Eaton was welcomed with a service for All Saints Day and a reception. Secretary Chris Boerger was welcomed the following we…

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2014

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity information and materials available here:

Leave a comment below on how you intend to celebrate in your community.

Antje Jackelen elected Sweden's first woman archbishop

Update - October 2013

From Don McCoid and Kathryn Lohre NCC Governing Board The Governing Board met at the churchwide offices September 23-24. The Search Committee for the new GS/President narrowed the pool of candidates. The first day of the meeting was an ecclesiology consultation to explore the role of conciliar life in a rapidly changing ecclesial, ecumenical, and inter-religious context. The second day opened with a prayer service commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, after which the Board conducted its business, including a first reading of the new bylaws. The Board will meet again in November to adopt the new bylaws, to move into the new Governing Board of Heads of Communion, and to elect a new GS/President.
North American Academy of Ecumenists The Academy met at our churchwide offices at the end of September. There are several ELCA persons in leadership. The theme was THE EMERGING FACE OF BEING ONE: Exploring Various Models of Christian Unity. There were very diverse pres…

Great speakers for NWCU 2014!

NWCU 2014 - Save the date!

Mark your calendar for the
National Workshop on Christian Unity Albuquerque, New Mexico April 28 - May 1, 2014
St. Paul asks, “Has Christ been Divided?”
We’ll discuss this question in workshops, Bible study, and worship together with nationally recognized speakers.

Hanson Report Highlights Ecumenical Initiatives

October 4, 2013 
Hanson delivers final report as ELCA presiding bishop 13-73-MRC
Living Lutheran:

     ITASCA, Ill. (ELCA) -- In his final report to the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the 4-million-member church, said several initiatives underway in the denomination will have a "significant impact on the future of this church." One such initiative is the ELCA's conversation with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the possibility of the "Declaration in Via" -- declaration on a path to unity.      Meeting here Oct. 3-8, the ELCA Conference of Bishops is an advisory body of the church that includes 65 synod bishops, the presiding bishop and secretary. The Rev. Jessica R. Crist, bishop of the ELCA Montana Synod, chairs the conference.      Hanson told the conference Oct. 4 that a "quiet conversation&q…

Ecumenical Advocacy Days

Jesus Weeps - Resisting Violence, Building Peace March 21-24, 2014 | Washington, D.C.
Click here for more information and to register.

Update - September 2013

From Don McCoid & Kathryn Lohre LWF North American Regional Meeting Martin Junge, General Secretary of the LWF, met with representatives of the ELCIC and the ELCA, our North America Committee of the LWF, on September 12.  We looked at possibilities of an expanded region including Latin America.  This would take some time to develop. We also discussed relationships and next steps with the Ethiopian Church.  We covered a range of concerns including Syria and a project for North America that would be included as a LWF development project.  It was a very informative and good meeting.

Chapter 3 of the Constitution (Ecclesiology) Meeting On September 13, we had our first meeting on ecclesiology. This is in response to looking at the ELCA constitution that is very good in naming the three expressions of the ELCA (congregations, synods, and churchwide), but is limited in considering the wider expression of the church (LWF as our communion of churches and the one, holy, catholic, and apos…


Welcome to the Lutheran Ecumenical Representatives Network blog! This is the place to find:
Monthly updates from Don McCoid and Kathryn Lohre about the work of ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious RelationsNotes from the monthly meetings of the LERN Executive BoardNews, information, and feature stories related to the work of LERNIf you are a network member or already on the LERN mailing list, you will still receive an email from Tim when the monthly updates are available. The only difference is you will find them by following the link here rather than as an attachment to Tim’s email. You may also sign up at right to be notified via email whenever new content is posted.

The blog will replace the print newsletter LERNing. If you would like to suggest a topic for an article, or even better, write something to appear here, please contact any member of the board:

Chris Olkiewicz, President - Mary Finklea, Vice President  - Tim Philabaum, Secretary - t…

Update - August 2013

The Rev. Donald J. McCoid
Kathryn M. Lohre

UCC General Synod, Long Beach, California, June 28-29 – Kathryn attended the UCC General Synod in both her ELCA and NCC roles. Three UCC officers, including General Minister and President Geoffrey Black, were re-elected by the Synod. The five officers presented their “Bold Inspirational Goals” or BIGs to the Synod, as the UCC seeks to shape its vision for the future. The Synod passed a resolution re. divestment from fossil fuels, an historic first among churches in the US. Other issues addressed by the Synod included: immigration reform, bullying, racial justice, and gender justice. The Synod was held in the days immediately following the Supreme Court action to strike down DOMA, clearing the way for marriage equality to return to California. A same-gender marriage was celebrated by those gathered, receiving significant media attention. Lutheran-Moravian Coordinating Committee, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, July 14-16 – Kathryn attended the LMCC mee…