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: http://wcc2013.info/en
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: http://old.usccb.org/seia/sikhism.shtml
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) by February 1, 2014. The award will be presented at the National Workshop on Christian Unity in Albuquerque in April 2014.