Skip to main content

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 week. It was a very emotional time for staff who expressed their great appreciation for the service of Bishop Hanson, and a joyous welcome for Bishop Eaton and Secretary Boerger.

World Council of Churches

The 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches took place in Busan, Korea October 31 – November 8 under the theme, “God of Life, Lead Us to Justice and Peace.” Our delegation included Vice President Carlos Pena, the Rev. Ann Tiemeyer (NCC Associate General Secretary for Joint Action and Advocacy for Justice and Peace), and young adult layperson Ulysses Burley. Pena and Burley were elected to the Central Committee for the next eight years, and Burley was also elected to serve on the Executive Committee for the next four years. Amongst the most significant actions of the Assembly were the adoption of a unity statement, the adoption of new governance documents, and the election of the first female African moderator, Agnes Aboum, an Anglican from Kenya. A significant focus of the Assembly was on peace, including peace between North and South Korea. Much of the Assembly was covered in real-time through social media and live streaming. Documents, photographs, videos, and news stories from the Assembly can be found online at:

Church Council

The ELCA Church Council met November 7-10 at The Lutheran Center. Vice President Carlos Pena flew directly from Busan into Chicago to chair the meeting! The Council welcomed 23 new members at this meeting, more than half of the current Council! In her report, Bishop Eaton lifted up the work of the Declaration on the Way, and the Lutheran-Jewish Summit that will be held in March 2014 – and underscored her request that Bishop Hanson continue to give leadership in these areas. She also asked Don to bring a brief report providing an update on a couple of items. The Council affirmed the charter for the ELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations.

NCC Governing Board

The NCC Governing Board will meet next week – November 18-19, at The Lutheran Center to complete the work of the transition. The Search Committee will present its nominee for election, Jim Winkler – a lay person who currently serves as the general secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society. If elected, Winkler will serve a four-year term beginning on January 1, 2014. The board is also expected to adopt the new bylaws, which will become effective immediately, launching the transition between the current board and the new board composed of heads of communion. The new board will meet the second day to complete its business and to meet with Chicago area religious leaders to discuss issues of violence in the city.

Lutheran-Sikh Bi-Lateral Dialogue

We have had a preliminary conversation with the leadership of the World Sikh Council – America Region concerning a possible Lutheran-Sikh bi-lateral dialogue. A initial proposal for this will be jointly drafted in late November, early December to present initially to Bishop Eaton and the WSC-AR leadership. Interestingly, WSC-AR has had an ongoing bi-lateral dialogue with the USCCB since 2006. See: 

From Conflict to Communion

The report may be accessed here:

Feel  free to access it, read it, and seek local conversation. One bishop bought three books to share with bishops on his territory and invite conversation.

Board Meeting Highlights

From Conflict to Communion

The board discussed the Introduction and Five Ecumenical Imperatives and plans to discuss one of each of the remaining chapters at future meetings until we have worked our way through the document. The board encourages all LERN members to read From Conflict to Communion, especially the five imperatives (found in the last chapter) and bring the document to the attention of his or her bishop. Discussion of the report among local Lutheran and Catholic bishops could be a helpful way to begin shaping local commemorations for 2017.

LERN Ecumenist Award

All members of the network are encouraged to submit applications 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: Ecumenism: The Vision of the ELCA). Written nominations should be made 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.

Next Meeting -- December 20, 2013


Popular posts from this blog

Staff Report to the LEIRN Board

January 2018
…and just like that, 2017 is now in the past. We can see clearly in hindsight how the joint commemoration service and stadium events in Sweden on October 31, 2016 set the stage for a remarkable year of public acts of ecumenical relations, reconciliation, and cooperation globally, and in our local settings. Thank you, LEIRN, for your significant role in all things 2017. You have been instrumental in planning, prodding, supporting, promoting, participating in, and leading various initiatives, events, and long-term efforts. You helped this anniversary to be markedly different, and in doing so you greatly enhanced our church’s ecumenical self-understanding and witness for the future as we seek to walk together with our sisters and brothers in Christ and neighbors on the way to unity, justice, and peace. In Conflict to Communion, we are reminded that, “In view of 2017, the point is not to tell a different history, but to tell that history differently.”…

Reformation 500 Commemoration Events

We are now posting sermons and bulletins from Reformation 500 commemoration services and events in the Reformation 500+ section above. If you have a sermon manuscript, a bulletin, or other material that you would like to share, email it to me at Let us see what you did and inspire us with your witness to Christian unity!

With thanks,

Chris Olkiewicz
Dear Members and Friends of LEIRN:

The National Workshop on Christian Unity fast approaches. During our LEIRN meeting on Monday afternoon we will be reflecting on the significance of the year past during which we commemorated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. You are invited to bring something for show and tell! It might be an image, the worship folder from a local liturgy, the brochure or poster from a lecture or symposium — any physical item from a local event to give us a sense of the breadth and richness of activities from this significant year. If you prefer, you may email me a photo or file prior to the Workshop, and I will incorporate it into a slideshow to be projected during our meeting. Send any items to me at We will also ask you to say a brief word about your event.

If you are planning to register for the NWCU, be aware that registration fees and room rates increase after March 23. Act soon to take advantage of these discounts. I hope to see you n…