Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Multifaith Chaplaincy

Please note the following information about a course on chaplaincy in multifaith contexts. Click here for a PDF version of the brochure.

Monday, December 15, 2014

November/December Update

Dear Friends:

Here is the most recent update from Kathryn and Don and the highlights from our recent board conference call, which featured a conversation with Marcus Kunz, the ELCA's Executive for Theological Discernment, about Churchwide observance of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. We are planning to devote significant time to that topic at our annual meeting at the NWCU in April. Stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, put April 20-23 on your calendar, and look for National Workshop flyers to arrive soon.

In Christ,

The LEIRN Board

From Don McCoid and Kathryn Lohre

Full Communion Partners 

Lutheran-Episcopal Coordinating Committee

The Lutheran Episcopal Coordinating Committee (LECC) met in Detroit November 5-7, hosted by the ELCA SE Michigan Synod, and Bishop Don Kreiss as the new ELCA co-chair. The Committee’s work focused on conversation around CCM going forward, the challenges and opportunities. Integral to this was conversation was time spent with local clergy leaders learning about vibrant joint ministries, including the Spirit of Hope Church, a joint ministry of the TEC and ELCA, one of the four congregations making up the Detroit Cooperative Parish, and Advent Episcopal Church in West Bloomfield, which shared space with Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church. 

ELCA-UMC Coordinating Committee

The coordinating committee met November 13-14 in Chicago. Staff counterparts Stephen Bouman (ELCA) and Doug Ruffle (UMC) offered presentations about each church’s respective work in congregational vitality and evangelical outreach, and engaged in conversation with the committee about possible points of joint work.  A week later, Stephen and Doug had a follow up meeting to continue the conversation, and set a date in early 2015 for their next face-to-face meeting to further connect their staffs and to develop concrete next steps. Stacy Martin (ELCA) and Susan Henry-Crowe (UMC) also offered presentations about each church’s advocacy work separately and together in ecumenical and inter-religious coalitions. They participated in discussion with the committee about possible points of convergence for the future. A celebratory worship service was held during the meeting. Bishop Wayne Miller (ELCA Metro Chicago) preached, and Bishop Sally Dyck (UMC Northern Illinois Conference) presided. Please continue to use the anniversary to lift up the formation template.

Bi-Lateral Conversations

From Conflict to Communion Study Guide

The study guide was developed by the Pittsburgh dioceses and the SW PA Synod. Your review would be very much appreciated.  We have a meeting next week in Pittsburgh, so any input would be very helpful. It is found attached along with this report.


National Council of Churches Governing Board Meeting

The NCC Governing Board met in St. Louis November 17-18, hosted by the Washington Metropolitan AMEZ Church. This meeting of heads of communion, ecumenical officers, and local clergy and activists was focused on the churches’ response to and presence in Ferguson. During the Board meeting, the Governor of MO declared a state of emergency. The Board prepared a statement which was read in a press event at Wellspring Church (UMC) in Ferguson. 

500th Observance

The LWF will be publishing a website of resources in early 2015, which will include a liturgy for 2017. Some resources are already available, including the 2014 worship service on the theme, “Salvation – Not for Sale,” flyer, logos, and general information.

Inter-Religious Relations

Jewish-Christian Roundtable on Pastoral Issues

The NCC and the National Council of Synagogues co-sponsored the national Jewish-Christian Roundtable on Pastoral Issues November 12-13 in Washington DC. Kathryn Lohre, Darrell Jodock, and Don Green were present for ELCA. The theme was “How we welcome the ‘other’ in our congregations.” There were two text studies – one from the Hebrew Scriptures and the Talmud, and the other from the NT Scriptures and the Patristic Fathers. All presentations focused on the challenges and imperatives to welcome the other, with particular reference to LGBT persons, the incarcerated and their families, returning veterans (including those with PTSD), and interfaith spouses and families. There was strong enthusiasm, and agreement to plan a next meeting of the dialogue. The Middle East Issues Roundtable, originally scheduled to meet in conjunction with this Roundtable, was once again suspended. 

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Declaration to the Jewish Community adopted by the ELCA Church Council. There is a brief news article lifting this up in the current issue of The Lutheran.

National Muslim-Christian Dialogue Planning Team

On October 20 the planning team for the National Muslim-Christian Dialogue met at The Lutheran Center. This round of the dialogue will be co-sponsored by the NCC and the Islamic Circle of North America, and it will be held in conjunction with the ICNA convention in May 2015 (Memorial Day weekend). Draft themes include: mass incarceration; issues around violence against minorities by law enforcement and continued racial profiling; and changing the conversation around extremist ideology, and how to bring such conversations into our local communities. 

Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign Steering Committee

The Steering Committee met in DC November 19, and Kathryn participated by phone. A major business item had to do with developing a plan for creating a local media response with the efforts of national denominational agencies. The work the ELCA has been able to accomplish in this regard – with Bishop Gonia and Bishop Girlinghouse writing op-eds and developing events in response to local anti-Muslim incidents – formed the basis for a proposed policy. (Thanks, Nathan, for your help in this work!) 

David Grafton’s Course

On December 1, Kathryn skyped in to be a guest lecturer in David Grafton’s course at LTSP on "Luther, the Jews and the Turk.” She shared historic information and recent updates about Lutheran-Jewish and Lutheran-Muslim relations, and led the students in discussions of two case studies. 

Board Highlights

We were joined by Marcus Kunz, Executive for Theological Discernment, for a discussion of the ELCA’s initiative to commemorate the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Marcus emphasized that 2017 is an important milestone and wonderful opportunity to make an evangelical witness in the world at a time when many people will be paying attention to the church. The anniversary is not an occasion to celebrate our Lutheran-ness, but an opportunity to witness to who we are in Christ.

The commemoration can be seen in at least two relational spheres: within and among congregations, and in a wider public sphere because of the media attention that will come. There will also be a global dimension: inter-Lutheran, ecumenical, and inter-religious.

The ELCA’s initiative is being shaped by three principles:

Respect for interdependence. The initiative is not owned by any one expression of the church — Churchwide, synods, congregations. All are engaging it in different ways. Other groups and institutions will also be involved.
Affirmation of local creativity and initiative. The ELCA observance is not a top-down thing. Initiative will come from everywhere.
Good, effective communication. Good communication is important so that all have an opportunity to use and share resources. Communication needs to be two-way: both sharing and receiving. Anything that LEIRN develops or plans that can be shared with others should be communicated to Churchwide.

The Churchwide organization will be planning some events that no one else is in a position to plan (i.e., 2015 Worship Jubilee and 2016 Grace Gathering—to inspire and equip congregational and synodical leaders for local observances, to be held in conjunction with the 2016 CWA).

There will be some limited funding to help support initiatives.

Received report from Kathryn and Don (attached).

Discussed NPC/NWCU planning work. The Workshop brochure should be available soon. Please begin sharing information early. Additional plenary ideas may be communicated to Rocky. At this time, three trajectories are on the table: Shoulder-to-Shoulder, 500th Anniversary initiatives, update from Don and Kathryn. Cheryl Pedersen may be in attendance and could incorporated into one of our sessions. Bishop Eaton and two synodical bishops will be participating in opening worship and could possibly be pulled into the Monday afternoon plenary. Additional planning work, including on the LEIRN/CADEIO joint plenary, will happen at the Delray Beach meeting in early February.

Board members are encouraged to follow up on vacancies in their region and encourage the appointment of EIRs where possible.

Next meeting: January 16, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. Central

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fifty Years of Dialogue, as Told by a Lutheran

By Rev. Donald J. McCoid

When I entered seminary in 1965, it became very evident that the Second Vatican Council was influencing theology, liturgy, and ecumenism for Catholics and for other Christians . . . 
Read more . . .

Saturday, November 8, 2014

October Update

It's barely November, so that must mean that it's time for the October update. Please remember to subscribe to the blog via email, so that you are notified when the monthly (and other) updates are posted, and let others know about us.

From Kathryn Lohre and Don McCoid

Full Communion Partners

The coordinating committee will meet November 13-14. The work will be focused on revitalizing congregations and we will also begin to look at advocacy. A joint worship service will be held to celebrate the 5th anniversary. Bishop Miller will preach and Bishop Dyck (UMC Northern Illinois Conference) will preside. Bishop Lull will replace Bishop Pile on the Committee. Please continue to lift up the 5th anniversary of this full communion agreement, and share the formation template located under the tab above.

The Lutheran Episcopal Coordinating Committee (LECC) will be meeting in Detroit in November. Bishop Kreiss has agreed to serve as co-chair, succeeding Mitzi Budde, who will continue as a member of the committee. LECC has produced an important reply to TEC’s Convention request about diaconal ministry and lay presidency at the Eucharist.

Church Partnerships

North American Heads of Churches 
The presiding bishops of four North American (Anglican Church in Canada, the ELCIC, TEC, and the ELCA) met for fifth time in July.  Joint statements from the churches will address timely issues. In addition, there will be one strategic statement made annually. For 2014, ELCA took the lead in drafting “A Pastoral Message on Climate Change,” published on September 19.  The 2014 Advent devotions, prepared by Bishop Eaton, Bishop Susan Johnson, Bishop Jefferts-Schori, and Archbishop Fred Hiltz, are available under "Other resources" above. They will soon be on the ELCA website as well. Please use them and pass them along to others. 

The Presiding Bishop will travel to Israel, Palestine, and Jordan in mid-January to visit Bishop Younan and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. Kathryn will be part of the delegation.  

Bi-Lateral Conversations

African Methodist Episcopal Zion
Bishop Eaton, Bishop Bolick, and EIR staff met to discuss possible next steps for engagement with AMEZ. Bishop Bolick invited AMEZ Senior Bishop Battle to be the opening preacher at the 2015 National Workshop on Christian Unity in Charlotte, and he accepted. Bishop Bolick will meet with Bishop Battle to begin to explore possible next steps together. It is hoped that a meeting between Bishop Eaton, Bishop Bolick, Bishop Battle, and staff might take place on Monday, April 20 in Charlotte. 

Declaration on the Way (to Unity)
The task force met in August and decided that unresolved differences will be separated from the juridical reception proposal in the text, as well as pastoral implications of the extensive agreements. An example of the pastoral implications would be the sharing of the Eucharist.  While there will be theological agreements in the juridical reception of the agreements, the Eucharistic sharing will be presented separately. In early December, updates will be received by conference call from each of the three working groups (Eucharist, Ecclesiology, and Ministry). In late January 2015 the task force will meet in Washington to develop the final draft to be shared with the LWF and Vatican.  

Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue
The dialogue met in Chicago, October 9-12.  Some important reflections include how well the dialogue members are working together and addressing the important subject of teaching authority.  There was also the acknowledgement that things have changed since we began looking at this subject for the round, namely Pope Francis.  

Meeting of the USCCB Committee and with Bishop Farrell 
Kathryn and Don were invited to meet with Bishop Farrell (Vatican), Bishop Madden, and Father John Crossin for lunch on October 15.  It was a helpful opportunity to discuss the Declaration on the Way and deepen our relationship with the Vatican. At the meeting of the USCCB ecumenical and interreligious committee, our dialogue was highlighted with positive remarks.  Lowell Almen, co-chair of the dialogue, was also present for this meeting.  


Christian Churches Together
The Steering Committee of Christian Churches Together met in late September at The Lutheran Center. Bishop Dillahunt attended her first meeting. Bishop Michael Rinehart will attend the annual Convocation in February in Houston on the topic of immigration reform.   

On September 18, the LWF held its second annual virtual diakonia conference, “Called to be Transformed and Transforming.” Kathryn was one of the presenters for the session on inter-religious relations, along with Ms. Helen Haggai, TEKAN Peace Desk in Jos, Nigeria, and Mr. Lusungu Mbilinyi, Zanzibar Interfaith Center, Tanzania. Kathryn has recently been nominated and endorsed to participate in a small consultation on “Strengthening Participation and Dialogue: Lutheran Engagement in the Public Square.” This group, chaired by Archbishop Jackelen of Sweden, will “develop a statement that gives strong theological rationale for Lutheran engagement in plural societies and provides guiding principles for such engagement locally and globally.” It will meet for the first time in late January 2015. 

500th Observance

The LWF will be publishing a website of resources in early 2015, which will include a liturgy for 2017. Some resources are already available, including the 2014 worship service on the theme, “Salvation – Not for Sale,”  a flyer, logos, and general information.

Inter-Religious Relations

Jewish-Christian Dialogue
After the PCUSA action on divestment, the Jewish partners communicated that they would not participate in the national Middle East Issues Roundtable. The pastoral issues Roundtable is still scheduled for November 12-13. Kathryn and Darrell Jodock will participate. 

The Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations met in September, and the Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Muslim Relations met in October. A primary focus was work on a joint project to develop an inter-religious case studies book for ELCA congregational study and engagement, with the hopes that this might be a contribution to the 500th observance, and commended to congregations and campus ministries for study and reflection in 2016 as part of the CWA/”Grace Gathering.” 

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Declaration to the Jewish Community adopted by the ELCA Church Council. The Declaration is spotlighted on

Through the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign, we have been able to respond in new ways to local instances of Islamophobia through the leadership of the bishops. Bishop Gonia recently wrote an op-ed that was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette in response to a recent anti-Muslim event held in Lakewood, Colorado, and Bishop Girlinghouse wrote an op-ed that was published in The Oklahoman in response to the beheading tragedy in Oklahoma, and the condemnation of Islam by a state representative. Thanks, Nathan, for continuing the conversation about a possible event with S2S.

ELCA Colleges/Universities
In late September, Kathryn joined Mark Wilhelm for a series of conferences and events on interfaith engagement on campuses held at Georgetown, George Washington University, and the White House. These were jointly sponsored by the Interfaith Youth Core and the President’s Council of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. ELCA Colleges and Universities were strongly represented and made significant contributions. We continue to consider opportunities to partner with ELCA Colleges/Universities on interfaith understanding, engagement, and religious literacy. 

Youth Gathering 
EIR will be part of Interactive Learning at the 2015 Youth Gathering, focusing on interfaith understanding, engagement, and religious literacy. A small working group composed of members of both consultative panels developed the initial ideas that will be refined in the coming months by a small leadership team that Kathryn will create composed of leaders of ELCA college initiatives.

Parliament of the World’s Religions
The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions will be meeting in the US for the first time in over two decades next year, October 15-19 in Salt Lake City. It would be good to connect Lutheran participants. If you or anyone in your networks attends, please let us know. Also, they are currently in a search process.

ELCA Churchwide Engagement Strategy on Israel/Palestine
Staff colleagues in the Churchwide organization met with Bishop Eaton in late September to explore ways in which we might give stronger collective witness to our partners, and provide greater coordination and support through the ELCA engagement strategy on Israel/Palestine.

Board highlights

  • Discussed upcoming ELCA decisions regarding the move from three lay rosters (Associates in Ministry, Deaconesses, and Diaconal Ministers) to one roster. Should the people in this combined roster be (continued to be) commissioned or consecrated, or should they be ordained?
  • 500th Observance
    • From Conflict to Communion is being used in several places as a way for  planning committees to begin conversation.
    • Shall we have a plenary in Charlotte for LEIRN members to have a handle on such resources?
    • Discussed how life in local parishes does not always reflect the accomplishments of ecumenical dialogs and agreements. LEIRN members could serve the role of ambassadors of the larger ecumenical scene in the local setting.
    • Noted that there will be a joint LEIRN/CADEO plenary in Charlotte, “Reforms, Reformers, and Reformations." Should we invite other networks to join us?
    • We may want to consider using our three plenary sessions thus: 1) EIR update and dialogue, 2) Shoulder to Shoulder and inter-religious work, 3) 500th Observation.
    • We will have further conversation about how ELCA planning links up with the LWF planning, and how we might engage LEIRN in this critical work. Marcus Kunz will join us on the next call.
    • Noted that a media kit could be a valuable resource to have in the hands of LEIRN members prior to the 500th Observation in 2017.

Next meeting: December 5, 2014 -- 9:30 a.m. Central

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Fruit of Prayer: Spiritual Disciplines for Ecumenism

We are pleased to publish this essay by Sarah Hinlicky Wilson, an ordained pastor in the ELCA, assistant research professor at the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Strasbourg, France, and the editor of Lutheran Forum. Look for more pieces from Dr. Wilson in the future.

The Fruit of Prayer
Spiritual Disciplines for Ecumenism

In some ways ecumenism is a threatening undertaking. Our churches have become comfortable with their separated existences, which sometimes have been established for centuries. Our natural instinct is to protect our own interests, our own family, or our own heritage. It sometimes seems that, if ecumenism’s goal is to say we’re all one, then all the things our ancestors fought for, all the things we love most dearly, are suddenly worthless. On the flip side, we often see things in other churches that disturb us greatly. Sometimes we don’t understand them and so misinterpret them; but sometimes we do understand them and we disagree profoundly. In this light, ecumenism may seem like a big reduction into meaninglessness, claiming that nothing is really right or wrong, good or bad.

Continue reading . . .

Monday, September 22, 2014

September Update

The board did not meet in August. Here's the latest update from our recent meeting with Don and Kathryn and other highlights.

From Kathryn Lohre and Don McCoid

Presiding Bishop’s Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

The Presiding Bishop intended to travel to Israel, Palestine and Jordan in late July/early August with a small delegation to visit the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. Due to the war, the trip was postponed, and will likely be rescheduled in early 2015.

Word and Service Entrance Rite Meeting

Kathryn and Don attended this meeting on July 30-31. There is a one roster committee that is developing rationale for the unification of the three lay rosters (AIMs, Diaconal Ministers, and Deaconesses). The Word and Service Entrance Rite task force was established by the Church Council to recommend whether a person entering this one roster would be ordained, consecrated, and/or commissioned.

Don shared the practice of the Episcopal Church, United Methodist Church, and LWF Churches. The distinction between Word and Service and Word and Sacrament ministers continues to be an area that needs further clarification and understanding. Ordination to Word and Service would not give a person who is ordained sacramental privileges (e.g., presiding at Holy Communion).
This is an important time to look at lay ministry in the ELCA. The question of how a person would enter this office has divided opinions.

Conference call with ELCA College/University Presidents

On August 8, Presiding Bishop Eaton convened a conference call of those ELCA college/university presidents who attended the Interfaith Understanding conference held at Augustana, Rock Island in June. This was an opportunity to reflect on the conference, and to consider next steps. It is hoped that the annual meetings of the presidents, as well as the Association of Teaching Theologians, might include interfaith understanding one the agendas for their 2015 meetings. Several colleges will be participating in a Lily grant to the Interfaith Youth Core for deepening and expanding interfaith engagement on Lutheran campuses.

Formula of Agreement Ecumenical Officers’ Conference Call

On August 13, Kathryn participated in a conference call with Robina Winbush (PCUSA), Karen Georgia Thompson (UCC), and Wes Granberg-Michaelson (RCA) regarding next steps for FOA reception. Three major tasks emerged: bringing together staff colleagues who work on candidacy/ordained ministry placement and call; bringing together heads of communion to assess where we move forward together – in light of significant ecclesial and ecumenical changes, as well as the breadth of full communion relationships each church now has; and connecting staff colleagues who are working on the 500th observance of the Reformation, noting the intersections with the Reformed-Catholic Dialogue. It is hoped that meetings of staff colleagues and heads of communion will take place in 2015.

Note: We received a request from the PCUSA for an appointee to serve a term on their General Assembly Committee for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations. Chris Olkiewicz has confirmed his willingness, and been affirmed by his bishop, the presiding bishop and his beloved family, to serve in this capacity. Thanks, Chris!

NCC Executive Committee Meeting

The NCC Executive Committee met at the Coptic Village Retreat Center in Big Bear Lake, California, at the gracious invitation of Bishop Serapion. For the first time in over a decade, the NCC has a considerable budget surplus. This will allow for critical staff positions, including communications and development, to be built back into the structure, along with Ann Tiemeyer’s successor as Associate General Secretary for Action and Advocacy. These jobs have been posted at – please spread the word.

The Committee spent the majority of its time considering faithful responses to Ferguson, Syria, Israel/Palestine, and the unaccompanied minors crisis at the border. Chairman Roy Medley and Jim Winkler took part in an ABCUSA sponsored prayer vigil at the border later that same week.

Planning for the 2015 Christian Unity Gathering was also part of the Committee’s work. Evaluations for the first CUG were very positive. One significant concern was the need for additional working time for the Convening Tables. The format for the 2015 CUG will seek to address this by providing significant time in groups and minimal time in plenary. There will be major public events related to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide at the National Cathedral.
The Coptic Church provided remarkable hospitality for the Executive Committee, with lay leaders from the greater Los Angeles areas volunteering to provide rides and cook meals (including traditional Egyptian fare.) Please consider Coptic Village for your next retreat (aka Majestic Moose Lodge).

Declaration on the Way (to Unity)

This special task force of ELCA and Catholic scholars met in Chicago on August 26-28th. The goal of our work is juridical reception of the convergences/differentiated consensus by both the LWF and the Vatican.

Unresolved differences will be separated from the juridical reception proposal, as well as pastoral implications of the extensive agreements. An example of the pastoral implications would be the sharing of the Eucharist. While there will be theological agreements in the juridical reception of the agreements, the Eucharistic sharing will be presented separately.
The next meeting will be a conference call on December 1 to receive updates from each of the three working groups (Eucharist, Ecclesiology, and Ministry). The meeting in Washington on January 28-31 will be a significant one in order to develop a final draft that could be shared with the LWF and Vatican.

Interfaith Youth Core

On August 27 Kathryn went downtown Chicago for a meeting with Eboo Patel at the offices of the Interfaith Youth Core. The purpose of the meeting was to deepen relationships, discuss the details of the Lily grant referenced above, and to identify possible areas of partnership, including the Interactive Learning center at the 2015 Youth Gathering. A joint working group made up of members from the Lutheran-Jewish and Lutheran-Muslim Consultative Panels had earlier submitted its proposal for inter-religious engagement, which were accepted by Youth Gathering leadership. Ideas include: “speed faithing,” art installations, living room discussion space, etc. IFYC may partner with our office in order to bring in college-age leaders from ELCA colleges to serve as hosts and guides for this interactive learning.

Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Convention

On August 29, Kathryn accompanied Bishop Eaton to Detroit for the 51st annual ISNA Convention. This event is primarily a gathering that inspired and unites Sunni and Shiite Muslims in the US. The theme this year was, “Generations Rise: Elevating Muslim American Culture.” Bishop Don Kreiss of the Southeast Michigan Synod joined us there for the afternoon. We enjoyed time meeting the participants of the first-ever Interfaith Seminarian Seminar, an educational program for Jewish, Christian, and Muslim seminarians sponsored by the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign. The ELCA was pleased to have Kristen Klade, a seminarian at LSTC, participate in the program. We shared the Christian-Muslim Talking Points resource.

We observed the Friday Jummah prayers in a large hall as guests. Long rolls of corrugated cardboard had been rolled out to be used as prayer rugs. A large inflatable minaret belonging to the Muslim Boy Scouts of America stood near the stage where the outgoing ISNA president, Imam Magid, offered the sermon.

Afterward, during the opening plenary Bishop Eaton offered greetings to the Convention. She lifted up our longstanding partnership, and the need to stand together against extremism of all kinds. She shared Luther’s explanation of the 8th commandment, and our responsibility to defend the neighbor.

Before the event began, our offices began to receive some contacts from concerned individuals who had learned that she would be addressing the Convention. We were able to share an audio recording (attached to this report) of Bishop Eaton’s address, along with an explanation of our partnership, that seemed to address the concerns being raised.

Simone Sinn, Lutheran World Federation

On September 3, Kathryn hosted her counterpart from the LWF, Simone Sinn, who was in town for the hermeneutics conference being hosted at LSTC. Simone is the LWF Study Secretary for Public Theology and Interreligious Relations, with particular expertise in Christian-Muslim relations in Asia. We were able to share some of the issues and hopes we are facing, and it was a very good opportunity for relationship building.

National Workshop on Christian Unity

Rocky Piro and Kathryn attended the NWCU National Planning Committee meeting in Charlotte, September 8-10.

Reminders & Resources

LWF interfaith panel – to be streamed on September 18. On July 15, Kathryn participated in an online recording session for an international panel discussion on inter-religious relations as part of an LWF virtual conference on transformative diakonia, “Called to Be Transformed and Transforming.” The other participants were Ms. Helen Haggai, TEKAN Peace Desk in Jos, Nigeria , and Mr. Lusungu Mbilinyi, Zanzibar Interfaith Center, Tanzania. The session was moderated by the Rev. Dr. Simone Sinn, LWF Study Secretary for Public Theology and Interreligious Relations. The virtual conference will take place on September 18. For more information and to register see:

The ELCA-UMC one day formation template has been professionally designed and formatted, just in time for the 5th anniversary of the full communion agreement this year. The PDF is on the ELCA website or simply click the link at the top of this page.

“Why Follow Luther Past 2017? A Contemporary Lutheran Approach to Inter-Religious Relations” was prepared by the ELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations as a contribution toward the 500th observance of the Reformation. Please continue to lift this up through your work. It is available for download at and we also have a limited number of copies that we could share with you, upon request.

Board highlights

National Workshop News

The 2014 Workshop ended with a financial deficit, due mainly to hotel expenses regarding media usage.

There is a new Webmaster (Rick Caporelli) for the Workshop. Network registrations will be fully integrated into the NWCU website. He is also creating a database of past workshop participants. This will help with communication, PR, etc.

Charlotte 2015

Funding resources were discussed. Could Thrivent sponsor a breakfast (such as Graymoor)? Rocky will explore this with some of our local LEIRN members. Are there individuals or groups within the ELCA who might have resources to support the Workshop? We will include this topic in future LEIRN conversations. The NPC will also be looking at other sources, such as Lilly.

A fifth network, “Evangelicals,” is forming for this year's Workshop. There will be six seminars instead of nine. Amy-Jill Levine will be one of the keynote speakers.

There will be two combined Network Plenaries – EDEIO (Episcopalian) & UMEIT (United Methodist) will join, having Tex Sample as a resource; LEIRN (Lutherans) & CADEIO (Roman Catholics) will join around the topic of “Reforms and Reformation.” Mary Finklea & Tim Philabaum have agreed to join the Roman Catholic cohorts to work on this plenary. One of our LEIRN plenaries will be devoted to the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign.

An evening event (Wednesday) is being planned to explore how Christians from different Christian traditions work together on the inter-religious front.

Jim Langley and Pierson Shaw are serving as local ELCA people for this Charlotte Workshop.

Registration is set to increase by $25.

Thanks to Tim Philabaum for submitting the minutes. Next meeting: October 24, 2014.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Shoulder to Shoulder Webinar


Join us for an interactive webinar, put on collaboratively by Muslim Advocates and the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign, to learn tools, resources and strategies to push back against hate in our communities and online.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
9:00 am PT / 12:00 pm ET

There's still room!  
Click here to RSVP by Sunday, September 21.
If you haven't heard about the Greater Washington Immigration Film Festival, you'll want to know what's happening so you can carve out some time in late October!

The film festival aims to put a face on immigration and to motivate viewers to call for changes in immigration reform.  Click here for more information and to purchase tickets


Shoulder to Shoulder will be participating in 9/11 Unity walk on September 21!  9/11 Unity Walk brings together people of all ages, backgrounds and faiths to learn to respect each other through a framework of experiential education, compassionate leadership and intentional service.

Unity Walk seeks to create a world where we are united, rather than divided, by our many faiths.
Join us as we come together in ‘Service for Peace’ at the 9th Annual 9/11 Unity Walk on Sunday, September 21, 2014.  Click here to learn more.

Our first Seminarian Interfaith Seminar was a success!  Check out some of the reflections from the seminarians who participated this program at the ISNA convention last month:

Click here for Jonathan Owens' opinion piece in the Detroit Free Press on September 11, and click here for Kathryn Ray's reflection on State of Formation.  

Copyright © 2014 Shoulder-to-Shoulder Campaign, All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Glocal" gathering with interfaith focus

ELCA Glocal Interfatih Innovations
Excelsior, Minnesota
Gather a Team

The Excelsior ELCA Glocal Interfaith Innovations will gather community leaders for two days of learning, networking and capacity building towards interfaith dialogue.

As you gather your team, remember that this event is for everyone interested in engaging their neighbors of different faith backgrounds, including youth ages 16 and up. Consider inviting your pastors, church council, Sunday school teachers, worship, outreach, stewardship, hunger, global mission, youth and family ministry teams.

Invite members of your congregation, a group from your ministry organization, friends from your Bible study, your campus ministry group or neighbors in your community. This is a great opportunity to reach out and get to know your brothers and sisters of different faiths and religions!

Friday, November 14, 2014, 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Saturday, November 15, 2014, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Central Time

Mount Calvary Lutheran Church 
301 County Road 19
Excelsior Minnesota, 55332

Just $35 per person

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Reflections on the National Workshop on Christian Unity

Ecumenists from many traditions gathered in Albuquerque, NM from April 28 - May 1 for the National Workshop on Christian Unity, during which the annual meeting of our network was also held. Two participants kindly offered reflections on our time together.

John Huber, a long-time participant in these gatherings as a member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, offered the following highlights at a meeting of the Southern California Ecumenical Council . . .

Kenny Bowen , LEIRN board member from Region 2, provided this report to the bishops of his region . . .

To complement John and Kenny's insights, there are now many photos of the Workshop posted on the NWCU website . . .

Enjoy reading about the Albuquerque experience, and mark your calendar for the 2015 NWCU in Charlotte, NC -- April 20 - 23!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

July 2014 Update

From Kathryn Lohre and Don McCoid

Ecumenical Officers’ Retreat – Bergamo Center, Ohio, June 25-27

Kathryn Lohre attended the annual ecumenical officers’ retreat at a Catholic retreat center in Ohio. Participants shared in prayer and worship, offered updates from the churches, and discussed strengthening ecumenical witness in the US in a time of rapid change. The most valuable aspect of the retreat is relationship building with colleagues, support, and sharing of common concerns and joys.

LWF Global Young Reformers Network Nominations

Bishop Eaton recently made two nominations to serve as part of the LWF Global Young Reformers Network, a program to connect, train, and empower young leaders from the LWF member churches through virtual meetings, networking and a meeting in Wittenberg in 2015. The primary delegate is Nicole Newman, a member of Luther Place in DC, and co-chair of MYLE 2015. The secondary delegate, who will be the alternate for the Wittenberg meeting, is Kyle Thorson, an active leader in the UND Grand Forks campus ministry and former Young Adult in Global Mission (YAGM). 

Follow-up with College Presidents Following June 2014 Conference on Interfaith Understanding

Bishop Eaton will convene a phone conversation with the college presidents who participated in the Augustana College conference to discuss next steps for interfaith understanding on ELCA college campuses. She has also written a brief article that will be published in the next edition of Intersections, along with a longer article Kathryn will write about ELCA inter-religious relations. IFYC will host a conference, along with the President’s Advisory Council, at Georgetown in the fall. This will be attended by several ELCA college presidents and their delegations. Kathryn and Mark Wilhelm will also attend.

North American Heads of Churches Meeting, Toronto, July 1-3

The four churches’ (Anglican Church in Canada, the ELCIC, TEC, and the ELCA) presiding bishops met for the fifth time. Bishop Eaton and Don McCoid were present. Kathryn Lohre joined the meeting by Skype. Some of the highlights included:

The churches reported a better spirit after the “sex wars.” There is more focus on issues and ministry.

The Anglican Communion is living together with differences … and there is less anxiety.

Th Episcopal Church is working on relationships with the PCUSA and the UMC. A study commission is looking at the number of dioceses and a position on “Marriage.”

The ELCIC and the ACC had a joint Assembly in 2013. It was well received … and exceeded expectations.

Appreciation was expressed for the LECC document that responded to TEC Convention that asked that lay presidency and deacons be addressed.

The ACC asked for consideration of a statement on Uganda’s anti-gay legislation. In discussion, some points were made: 1. Quiet diplomacy is the best approach at this time; 2. Working within governments is essential in order to do advocacy; 3. There are unilateral consequences if public statements are made that will actually hurt people on the ground.

Joint statements from the four churches will be done to address timely issues. In addition, each year, there will be strategic statements made. In 2014, the concern over global climate issues will be addressed. The ELCA will take the initiative on this issue.

Middle East concern – each church will be making a trip to the Middle East.

Doctrine of Discovery (First Nation Concern) will continue to develop common understanding and advocacy.

LWF Interfaith Panel Recording to be Streamed on September 18

Kathryn participated in an online recording session for an international panel discussion on inter-religious relations as part of an LWF virtual conference on transformative diakonia, “Called to Be Transformed and Transforming.” The other participants were Ms. Helen Haggai, TEKAN Peace Desk in Jos, Nigeria , and Mr. Lusungu Mbilinyi, Zanzibar Interfaith Center, Tanzania. The session was moderated by the Rev. Dr. Simone Sinn, LWF Study Secretary for Public Theology and Interreligious Relations. The virtual conference will take place on September 18. For more information and to register see: 

Interfaith “Interactive Learning” at 2015 Youth Gathering

A small working group composed of members of the ELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish and Lutheran-Muslim Panels met in mid-July to brainstorm ideas for interactive learning at the ELCA Youth Gathering in 2015. The ideas have been shared with the Youth Gathering Team Leader, and will be refined in consultation. We are awaiting next steps. If you have ideas to share, please send them to


The ELCA-UMC one day formation template has been professionally designed and formatted, just in time for the 5th anniversary of the full communion agreement this year. Click the link at the top of this page to access it. You will also find there a newly issued letter from Bishop Jessica Crist of the Montana Synod lifting up the significance of this anniversary.

“Why Follow Luther Past 2017? A Contemporary Lutheran Approach to Inter-Religious Relations” was prepared by the ELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations as a contribution toward the 500th observance of the Reformation. Please continue to lift this up through your work. It is available under the "Other resources" tab above. We also have a limited number of copies that we could share with you upon request.

Also check out the ever-growing list of resources under the "Other resources" tab above and remember to visit for a wide variety of useful ecumenical and inter-religious materials.

Board Meeting Highlights

We regret that Judi Longdin of the Archdiocese of Chicago will no longer be serving as liaison to our network from CADEIO because of a change in her job responsibilities. We will miss Judi and are grateful for her years of dedicated work in facilitating the relationship between our two networks. We hope to still see her at the NWCU!

Some members of the NWCU National Planning Committee hosted a working luncheon for local ecumenists in Charlotte, site of the 2015 Workshop. Two ELCA members participated, representing Bishop Bolick. Exciting plans are emerging from this group on how to involve local ecumenists in the Workshop. 

The full National Planning Committee meets in Charlotte in September. Kathryn Lohre and Rocky Piro will participate. Keynoters and seminar presenters are being identified, and Shoulder-to-Shoulder has been invited to do one of the seminars. We hope also to involve Shoulder-to-Shoulder in a LEIRN plenary. Check out Shoulder-to-Shoulder's website and Facebook page, and find other good resources on Muslim relations on the ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations webpage.

LEIRN members are asked to begin broadcasting the dates and location of the 2015 National Workshop on Christian Unity -- April 20-23, 2015 - Charlotte, NC.

Next meeting –  September 11, 10:30 EDT/9:30 CDT/8:30 MDT/7:30 PDT

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Preparing for 2017?

If you are involved in planning for local observances of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, the ELCA planning committee would love to hear from you. Please take a moment to share the work you are doing with Don McCoid ( or Kathryn Lohre ( Thanks!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

June 2014 Update

Welcome back to the LEIRN blog! We have not had any updates since before the LEIRN annual meeting in Albuquerque at the National Workshop on Christian Unity, and the board did not meet in May. We needed a break after all the time we spent together in Albuquerque!

Look for minutes from our June meeting to be posted here soon, along with a few reflections on our time at the NWCU. If you were there and have some thoughts about the whole experience or a particular seminar that you attended, please email them to me for posting ( We would love to share your thoughts with the network. In the meantime, here is a summary of what Kathryn and Don have been up to in recent weeks. As you can see, they have been very busy!

Chris Olkiewicz
LEIRN President

From Kathryn Lohre and Don McCoid

NCC Christian Unity Gathering – May 18-20

After an 18 month transition period, the National Council of Churches USA held its first major gathering, launching the new structure. The “Christian Unity Gathering” was held in Washington DC, May 18-20, focusing on the Council’s priority of “mass incarceration.” There was a public plenary featuring Marian Wright Edelman, Jim Wallis, Ida Carruthers, and Harold Dean Trulear, who offered remarks and engaged in discussion with participants on the role of the churches in tackling mass incarceration from several angles, including education and other opportunities for children, prison ministry, re-entry, and policy reform. In addition to the plenary sessions, meetings of the Governing Board, Committees, and Convening Tables (Faith & Order, Inter-Religious, Education & Formation, and Justice & Advocacy) were held concurrently. A celebratory worship service included a procession of ecumenical and inter-religious guests; Jim Winkler gave his inaugural address as General Secretary/President.

We had excellent participation as an ELCA delegation, including by Presiding Bishop Eaton. The event was a strong start to the re-envisioned and restructured Council. The Board received the encouraging news that after years of deficits, there will be a budget surplus this year! Thanks be to God!

Meetings with Jewish Partners – May 21-22

On May 21, Bishop Eaton had a relationship building meeting with Rabbi Steve Gutow, head of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. On May 22, we received colleagues from the American Jewish Committee, including Noam Marans (Director, Interreligious and Intergroup Relations), Emily Soloff (Chicago-based regional staff), and David Inlander (chair, Inter-religious Committee). In addition to relationship building, the conversation with our AJC partners focused on possible areas of collaboration for the future.

Conference on Interfaith Understanding, Augustana, Rock Island, June 1-3

Augustana College, Rock Island hosted a conference for ELCA Colleges on the topic of interfaith understanding. Sixteen of the 27 colleges were present through delegations. Eight college presidents also participated, along with Bishop Eaton, Mark Wilhelm (ELCA Director, Schools) and Kathryn. Eboo Patel, founder and president of the Interfaith Youth Core gave the keynote address, lifting up several ELCA Colleges and Universities that are already deeply engaging interfaith understanding through student initiatives, policies, and partnerships.

Bishop Eaton encouraged ELCA College/University presidents to see this area of critical work as an opportunity for deepening partnership between the church and the schools, and for making a contribution on the 500th observance of the Reformation that would honor the schools’ Lutheran heritage, and prepare students for vocational life in a multi-religious world. She offered two concrete ideas for their consideration: the formation of a center for Lutheran vocation in a multi-religious world, and a liberal arts curriculum that would seek to educate students about the Lutheran tradition, and provide religious literacy as a skill set for vocational life in today’s context.

Lutheran World Federation Council

The LWF Council met in Medan, Indonesia from June 10-17. Some of the highlights include:

  • The LWF is holding together. There was a marked sense of peace among members and a focus on ministry
  • It was important to be Indonesia. It is among the largest churches in the LWF (5.8 million), but is in a predominately in a Muslim country.
  • The 500th Anniversary of the Reformation will have a dedicated website in 2015. The liturgy will be completed and posted
  • The theme of the next LWF Assembly will be “Liberated by God’s Grace."

Statement on Indonesia Meeting

The Council was exposed to the situation of the Lutheran minority churches in a largely Muslim country. The Council statement on Indonesia gives thanks for the vibrant and faithful witness of sisters and brothers in Indonesia. It states that “the LWF Council joins and supports the Indonesian churches in their efforts to uphold freedom of religion, their interreligious solidarity in working against injustice and in responding to human need, and in their continuing engagement in dialogue with different religious groups to promote understanding and just and peaceful communities.”

Statement on Indonesia Statement on Climate Justice

During the Council meeting participants took part in a “fast for the climate action” to support the global interfaith campaign #fastfortheclimate.  The statement on climate justice reiterates LWF’s commitment to climate justice as evidenced by previous Assembly and Council statements; and it calls on member churches to take action on organizational, congregational and personal level to become more eco-friendly. The statement also calls LWF member churches to engage in the #fastfortheclimate campaign.

Climate Statement on Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa

LWF member churches in sub-Saharan Africa have, in the past months, offered more statements in which they have spoken out against the recent violence in some countries in the region, including the abduction of school girls and women in Nigeria. Council members at the 2014 meeting expressed their shared pain with the LWF member churches in the region. In a statement on violence in sub-Saharan Africa, the Council strongly condemned all violence and called upon all parties and the international community to take immediate action to release those held captive; to desist from using violence and to prevent barbaric actions such as abduction from taking place in the future.

Statement on Ukraine

The LWF has a member church in Ukraine, which also has congregations on the Crimean peninsula that is affected by the recent instability in the region. The statement on the Ukraine called for prayers for the people in the Ukraine and in particular for the LWF member church in its ongoing witness and service.

Statement on the Universal Code of Conduct on Holy Sites

The LWF Council 2014 endorsed the Universal Code of Conduct on Holy Sites, which is a document developed in consultation with religious leaders and experts from many of the world’s major faiths. The Council also encouraged member churches to support initiatives in their context and called upon the United Nations to adopt a UN resolution in the spirit of the Code.

Statement on Welcoming the Stranger

Following the Council adoption of the “Welcoming the Stranger,” code of conduct for faith leaders in 2013, the document has been widely distributed globally and regionally. The statement on welcoming the stranger encourages “our congregations and all people of faith to build their relationships with the “strangers” among them, and to be more open, to have more faith, and to trust God´s own support.

Synod Assemblies

Don was the ELCA representative to the Northwest Ohio Synod Assembly, the Southern Ohio Assembly, and the Sierra Pacific Assembly. While each were unique, he says that he was impressed by the health and ministry that unfolds in each place. The local and synodical ministries are evidence of the mission life that are shared in each region.

PCUSA General Assembly, June 17-19

Kathryn attended the PCUSA’s 221st General Assembly in Detroit, Michigan, as an ecumenical guest. She joined other ecumenical and inter-religious partners in a dinner hosted by Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons, and a breakfast the following morning that had a program on the topic of “violence against women.” Panelists included two women: one from the Sikh Coalition, and another from the WD Mohammed movement.

An ecumenical worship service for the whole assembly followed the breakfast. The preacher was the Rev. Mark McDonald, WCC North American President, and Indigenous Bishop of the Anglican Church in Canada.

The two most controversial issues facing the GA were civil marriage, and divestment from Israel. The plenary on Thursday morning provided an opportunity for commissioners to engage in small group discussion and discernment on these two issues. The votes on the Committee’s recommendations (to allow clergy to perform same sex marriages where they are legal, and to define marriage as between two people, and to divest from Motorola, Caterpillar, and HP respectively) will occur on Friday. Importantly, the Belhar Confession, which has its roots in the struggle against apartheid, was approved for inclusion in the Book of Confessions. In order for this to be fully enacted, 2/3 of the presbyteries will need to approve this over the next year, and then the next GA will have to approve this, as well.

Further information can be found at

Interfaith Opportunities at 2015 Youth Gathering

In 2012 the ELCA Consultative Panels for Lutheran-Jewish and Lutheran-Muslim Relations met jointly. During that meeting, they requested an opportunity to speak with Heidi Hagstrom, director of the ELCA Youth Gathering about opportunities for inter-religious engagement in 2015 given the context of Detroit. In recent months we have been part of conversations about the possibility of a small pilot program for youth gathering participants to engage in an exchange with youth of other religious traditions in Detroit. The consultative panels have also been encouraged to participate in some way in providing an opportunity for engagement for all youth gathering participants through the Interactive Learning Center. A small joint working group of panelists is being formed in order to brainstorm ideas that will be refined in consultation with Youth Gathering staff by the end of summer. If any of you have ideas you would like to share, please let Kathryn know.


We have made significant changes to our ELCA website so that resources are easier to access via live links in the text. We hope that this is an improvement for your work. We will be working later this year to revise the way our downloadable resources are organized, so that it is more user-friendly for those who are not familiar with our resources. A link to our pages has been added to the footer of our homepage.

We are in the process of professionally designing and formatting the ELCA-UMC one day formation template, for the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the full communion agreement this year. We will send you the PDF as soon as it is available, and post it to our website.

“Why Follow Luther Past 2017? A Contemporary Lutheran Approach to Inter-Religious Relations” was prepared by the ELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations as a contribution toward the 500th observance of the Reformation. Please continue to lift this up through your work. It is available for download at and we also have a limited number of copies that we could share with you, upon request.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

March 2014 Update

From Kathryn Lohre and Don McCoid

Catholic Dialogue

The dialogue met at the end of February. The scholars are blending some important insights in looking at Sources of Authority. We should be able to have substantive insights to share when the round is complete. In addition the 50th Anniversary of the Dialogue will be celebrated next May (2015) in Washington, during the dialogue meeting.

Conference of Bishops

The meeting was held in early March. We met with the liaison committee of the COB. Of interest was some of the sharing that was done by the liaison bishops. There seems to be a decline throughout the U.S. of state councils of churches and regional ecumenical councils. Those who include inter-religious relations are doing better. An update from the Global Ecclesiology Task Force was given. Bishop Eaton was supportive of ecumenical ministry in her report.

Lutheran World Federation

Guests from the LWF staff from Geneva visited our offices on March 11-12. The executives from Ecumenical and Theological ministry and DMD – Department of Mission Development had visited the NALC (no report was shared) prior to meeting with us. They were supportive of the ELCA and the exchange is a good example of our ministry within our Communion of Churches.

United Methodist-ELCA Coordinating Committee

A meeting was held on March 17-18 at our offices. We continued the important sharing on revitalizing congregations. Staff from both churches presented updates. This will be continued in our next meeting later this year. In addition, we will look at advocacy meeting in our churches and will have staff present. A major emphasis will be the 5th Anniversary of the UMC-ELCA full communion agreement. A letter will be shared by the co-chairs of the Coordinating Committee with bishops, including our LEIRN network. There will be encouragement for local observances of the anniversary on the synodical/conference level. Find resources here . . .

U.S. Christian-Jewish Dialogue

The “Summit” of Jewish and Christian leaders was held March 27 at the JCPA in New York City. The focus of the meeting is on tending to relationships, particularly when significant disagreements are held. The meeting is being co-convened by the Rev. Mark Hanson and Rabbi Steve Gutow (JCPA), and co-facilitated by the Rev. Tom Duke (who is ELCA) and Rabbi Melissa Weintraub. Bishop Eaton represented the ELCA. The meeting is not public.

New Resource

“Why Follow Luther Past 2017? A Contemporary Lutheran Approach to Inter-Religious Relations” is underway. This resource was prepared by the ELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations as a contribution toward the 500th observance of the Reformation. Please share this widely and encourage folks in your synod to use it for individual and group study. It is available for download under the “Inter-Religious” tab on our resources page . . .

EIR Staff Changes

We have recently undergone a change in roles in our Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations team, with Kathryn being named the new Executive for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations and Don now serving as director. The complementarity of our roles has been maintained, with Don having primary responsibility for our full communion coordinating committees, bi-lateral dialogues and discourses, and with Kathryn having primary responsibility for conciliar life and inter-religious relations, though we both share responsibilities, including support of LEIRN. In Chicago, Kathryn is situated to pick up the responsibilities as Assistant to the Presiding Bishop. Eileen is continuing in her role as Administrative Services Coordinator. It is good to be continuing our work together!

From the Board

We look forward to seeing you at the National Workshop on Christian Unity in Albuquerque. For those not able to attend, look for live updates in the LERN Facebook Group from April 28 - May 1 and a complete recap here in coming weeks.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Coming Soon: The National Workshop on Christian Unity!

We hope that you are planning on joining us for the annual meeting of LERN in the context of the National Workshop on Christian Unity, held this year in lovely Albuquerque, NM from April 28 - May 1.

Here's everything you need to know to get ready for a great experience!

Early-Bird Registration

To take advantage of the early-bird discount, register by March 22 on the NWCU website . . .

Also register for the LERN meeting while on the NWCU site. The link will take you to a secure page on the ELCA website, where you may pay the $45 LERN registration fee.

LERN Schedule

As you make travel arrangements, please note that the first meeting of LERN begins at 2:00 on Monday afternoon.

Monday, April 28

Executive Board Meeting
Newcomers Luncheon

Briefing by ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations Staff
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
10:00 - 11:45 a.m.
12:00 - 1:15 p.m.

2:00 - 4:45 p.m.

Tuesday, April 29

From Conflict to Communion
Network Business/Elections
3:30 - 5:00 p.m.
5:15 - 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 30

Tri-Network Meeting with EDEIO and UMEIT

Looking Toward Charlotte 2015
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

4:15 - 4:45 p.m.

Thursday, May 1

Executive Board Meeting

2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

From Conflict to Communion

In preparation for the discussion at Tuesday's plenary, please download and read From Conflict to Communion before the workshop. It is available on the Lutheran World Federation website . . .

It is not cost effective for the network to make paper copies of this document available, so please bring your own copy, either electronic or printed.

Show & Tell

One of the goals of the network is to share ideas and best practices. Give some thought to initiatives that are going well in your area, or frustrations that you have had, and be ready to share so that others may benefit from your good work and experience.

Annual Report

Your board is asking you to complete this year's LERN report online here . . .

Please respond by April 1, so that the results may be compiled and presented in Albuquerque. The information you provide is also helpful in giving the Conference of Bishops a picture of the ecumenical and inter-religious work taking place across the ELCA.

Board Elections

We need to elect one new member of the Executive Board at this year's NWCU. Under the new structure approved last year, the board is no longer regionally constituted. We still strive, however, to have all regions of the ELCA represented on the board when possible. Though Regions 1 and 3 are currently not represented, nominations from all regions are welcome. Read more about the responsibilities of board members . . .

You may make nominations to the LERN Secretary via email ( prior to the workshop or from the floor at the annual meeting.

Need a Roommate?

If you are interested in sharing a room at the Albuquerque Hyatt, contact Eileen Heffner ( in ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations for a list of LERN members who have already registered. Hotel reservations may be made from the NWCU registration page . . .

New to LERN?

If this is your first time attending a LERN meeting and National Workshop, please gather at the registration table at noon on Monday, and the Executive Board will take you to lunch!


If you have any questions not answered here, please contact LERN President Chris Olkiewicz (

See you in Albuquerque!

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