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!

February 2014 Update

From Kathryn Lohre and Don McCoid

Declaration on the Way

January 29-31 was the first meeting of scholars from the ELCA and appointees from the Catholic Conference of Bishops to work on a Declaration on the Way (to unity). Papers were shared in three areas that will make up the Declaration: Ecclesiology, Ministry, and the Eucharist. Significant progress was made and assignments were made to continue working on a declaration that will form the basis for a document that will seal agreements on these important areas. The Vatican is aware and supportive of this work. It is hoped that both the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation will receive this Declaration as a contribution to the anniversary of the Reformation.


The group met in Washington, D.C. February 20-23. This formal dialogue between the ELCA and the USCCB is addressing authoritative sources in our churches that lead to decisions, especially moral and ethical concerns. This subject was chosen after the Catholic Church requested more conversation and theological consideration about authority and decision making in our churches.

Christian Churches Together

Bishop Eaton attended the meeting of the heads of communion of CCT. Bishop Burkat, Judith Roberts, and Don McCoid attended the annual meeting of CCT in Newark, New Jersey. The main emphasis was mass incarceration. Speakers made presentations about some of the major issues and the racial dimensions that lead to incarceration and unequal judicial sentencing. Interaction among the five families (Catholics, Orthodox, Mainline Protestants, Historic Black, and Evangelical/Pentecostal Churches) provided an opportunity for faith sharing.

Jewish-Christian Relations

Preparations for the leadership “Summit” of Jewish and Christian leaders being held in late March are well underway. This meeting was organized in response to the tensions that surfaced after 15 Christian leaders sent a letter to Congress in October 2012 calling for an end to unconditional US military aid to Israel. The meeting will focus on tending to relationships, particularly when we hold divergent views. At Bishop Eaton’s request, the Rev. Mark Hanson will continue to serve as co-convener with Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and Bishop Eaton will participate as well.

The ELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish has prepared and published a resource entitled, “Why Follow Luther Past 2017? A Contemporary Lutheran Approach to Inter-Religious Relations,” as a contribution toward the 500th observance of the Reformation. The resource acknowledges the challenges of Luther’s anti-Judaic legacy and goes on to offer four of Luther’s key principles that can helpfully be applied to contemporary inter-religious relations. Download the resource here . . .

Board meeting highlights

The entire meeting was spent finalizing the schedule for the LERN Annual Meeting, held in conjunction with the National Workshop on Christian Unity in Albuquerque, April 28 - May 1. A pre-Workshop blogpost will follow here soon with a schedule of LERN events and other NWCU information. If you are making travel arrangements now, note that the first LERN meeting begins at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, April 28. See you in Albuquerque!

Send a message to the editor


Email *

Message *