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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


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