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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.


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