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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 apostolic church).  Lowell Almen provided a wonderful history of developments within the United States, as well as information surrounding the constitutional developments when the ELCA was formed. I guided the group through the World Council of Church’s ecclesiology document that will be considered later this year.  We have a good step and good group for this study on ecclesiology.

ELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations

The Panel is meeting today at The Lutheran Center.  Agenda items include an update on the planning for the Leadership Summit (the invitation has gone out with a date search for early 2014); reflection on CWA actions that impact Jewish relations; face-to-face dialogue with Rabbi Mikva of CTS on the role and potential of encouraging young adult participation in Christian (Lutheran)-Jewish dialogue; and about educational materials needed for “ordinary folks.” Michael Chan, a new assistant professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary, will join the Panel for the first time. The Panel has drafted and submitted a charter re. its self-understanding and work for consideration by the ELCA Church Council in November. Please note that there is a new educational resource available through the Shalom Hartman Institute in cooperation with Muhlenberg College entitled, “New Paths: Christians Engaging Israel.” Dr. Peter Pettit has been a leader of this project.

NCC Governing Board

The Board will meet Monday-Tuesday September 23-24 at The Lutheran Center. The Search Committee for the new GS/President will meet Sunday night preceding the Board meeting, seeking to narrow the candidates in a process that is anticipated to culminate in an election at the November Board meeting. On Monday morning the Heads of Communion will meet to discuss their future role as Governing Board. Following that meeting, the current Governing Board will convene for a day-long ecclesiology consultation. The purpose will be to explore the role of the Council in a rapidly changing ecclesial, ecumenical, and multi-religious landscape. The Board will conduct its business all day on Tuesday, during which time action will be taken with regard to spin-offs, a first reading of the new by-laws will take place, and a progress report from the search committee will be received. The Board will also celebrate the joint occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington through a prayer service (at which the Rev. Neichelle Guidry-Jones of Trinity UCC Chicago will guest preach) and through adopting a statement entitled “Pursuing the Dream.”

Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign Call-In

Shoulder to Shoulder: Standing with American Muslims; Upholding American Values has worked with us to create an opportunity for synod bishops and leaders to learn more about the Campaign, and how to get involved at the “local” level. S2S will host a one-hour call-in on October 15. The call will focus on three main goals:

  1. Introducing Shoulder-to-Shoulder’s goals for a national network
  2. Asking you for feedback about what you would like to see from a national support body and what would be most beneficial in the work to end anti-Muslim sentiment
  3. Formally inviting interfaith, faith-based and religious organizations to join the Shoulder-to-Shoulder Campaign as Community Members
You can also Sign up for Shoulder-to-Shoulder’s biweekly eNewsletter for resources, information and up-to-date opportunities regarding anti-Muslim sentiment.

Board Meeting Highlights

News regarding Presiding Bishop-elect Eaton

The Board was thrilled that Presiding Bishop-elect Eaton asked Don McCoid to stay on, working with Kathryn in the Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations office.

There will be thirteen “ecumenical” and “inter-relgious” leaders present at Bishop Eaton’s Installation, and at least five of our global partners.  Eileen is instrumental in organizing what is needed for them.

Financial Update

We now have our own account, with $810 in that account.  The Board will use this money for scholarships, or for other needed items.

The EIR Office helped to pay for the Lutheran’s expenses at last year’s National Workshop Luncheon.

Participants attending next year’s National Workshop will be able to pay their LERN dues electronically.

National Planning Committee News  - Rocky Piro

The National Planning Committee and the Local Planning committee are consolidating.  After 2014 there will just be a National Committee, with local people present.

The schedule at the Workshop will be similar to what has been in the past few years, including three times that LERN will meet as a Network.  The question was raised, “What do we do with non-Network people?”  Answer: the schedule will have alternating business/informative sessions alternating between Roman Catholics and Protestants, so that when one group has a business meeting, the other group (s) will have seminars, and then visa-versa.  Thus attendees who are not connected to a Network may attend seminars throughout the Workshop.

There is a commitment to continue having a joint plenary.

What do we want to do with our LERN plenary time?  We will be exploring that question in the months ahead.  It could be something appropriate to the local (Albuquerque) needs, EIR Information, Shoulder to Shoulder, Network Mechanics, theological training, etc.

Letters of Thanks

On behalf of the LERN Community a letter of thanks was sent to Bishop Hanson, and a letter of congratulations was sent to Bishop Eaton, both on Monday, September 23.


The Blog, sponsored by President  Chris Olkiewicz, is up and running.  The report from EIR will be posted there, as well as these minutes.  An e-mail will be sent to members of the Network, notifying them that the minutes are located there on the blog.

Future articles for the blog may include:
Week of prayer for Christian Unity
Information about the National Workshop
Ecumenical Advocacy Days
Info about ecumenical events in Strasbourg, Rome, etc.

Next Board Phone-Meeting – Oct 18 (tentative)


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