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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 elca.org.
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.
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.
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.
- 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