Saturday, December 28, 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 (revcdo@gmail.com) 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 meeting concentrated 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 Meeting

Ecumenical 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 December 9-10. There were a lot of updates and some specific commitments for the year ahead, including sharing ecclesiology reports and a making a coordinated response to the WCC statement, advocacy  and international work, and planning agenda items for next year. This was Bishop Eaton’s opportunity to meet Archbishop Fred from the ACC. Both the bishops and the ecumenical staff enjoyed a productive meeting.

Board Meeting Highlights

From Conflict to Communion

Discussion of this document continued, this month focusing on Chapter 1. The board continues to encourage all LERN members to read From Conflict to Communion, especially the five imperatives (found in the last chapter) and to bring the document to the attention of his or her bishop as a possible vehicle for engagement with Roman Catholic colleagues. Our friends at CADEIO are making the report a priority and plan to explore it at the next NWCU. The board will discuss Chapter 2 at the January meeting.


LERN/NWCU Registration

Registration and payment of fees for the LERN annual meeting can be handled electronically this year. Just follow the link on the NWCU registration site. Remember to register by March 22 to get the early bird discount.

National Workshop on Christian Unity brochures are completed and will be sent out in January to synod offices, LERN members, and ELCA seminaries. Please plan now to get brochures into the hands of colleagues and seminarians and encourage them to join you in Albuquerque for this year's Workshop and meeting of LERN.

Next meeting: January 17, 2014

Monday, December 23, 2013

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 years as a priest.  Msgr. Gaalaas has served as the CADEIO representative and Vicar General for the Diocese of Tulsa and on the boards of OCC, Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries and the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice (formerly the Oklahoma Conference of Christians and Jews).

Pictured (from left to right) are: Msgr. Patrick Gaalaas-2013 Schoenhals Distinguished

Ecumenist Award recipient, Bishop Emeritus Floyd Schoenhals, Dr. Dill Tabbernee-Executive

Director of OCC, Pr. Nathan Allen-President of OCC


Friday, December 6, 2013

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 . . .

Monday, December 2, 2013

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 . . .

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